What a difference a year makes. Well… a year and new coaches. Well… a year, new coaches, and an offseason tutor and skills mentor. And a few new wide receivers. And a better version of Todd Gurley.
Okay, so the Los Angeles Rams invested a little to make their prized young player an NFL quarterback. The point is, it’s working. In six-point touchdown leagues, Goff is a top-ten passer after three games. He is number 11 in four-point NFL standard fantasy points. In seven games last season, he averaged 7.6 NFL fantasy points per game, compared to this season’s 18.9.
Surely, that makes him a bona fide must-start NFL fantasy quarterback, doesn’t it? Of course, the young man has not played a full season of NFL football yet. Let’s take a look and see how he is working his magic this season before we make the call on his must-start status.
How’s he doing it?
Jared Goff has led his team to a 2-1 record with a steady plan of attack. Todd Gurley on his game may help buy time for Goff who is throwing to his wide receivers roughly twice as much as he throws to his tight ends and running backs combined. That ratio drew closer (15/9) in the loss to the Washington Redskins. After last week’s Redskins/Raiders game, Goff’s performance in Week 2 looks much better than it did earlier.
Los Angeles ran up over 40 points in each of their victories. Goff threw for around 300 yards in each win. Over the three games, he has five touchdowns and only one interception. He has not fumbled, either, and is not bailing out of the pocket to run the ball. He looks like a quarterback. The game has slowed down for him in 2017.
Goff credits the new coaching staff and his offseason studying, but also the attitude of the whole team. The Rams believe they can win. The positive attitude is an important intangible and is a noticeable change from last season.
Can he keep doing it?
We will find out soon whether Jared Goff and the Rams are for real or not. This week, they face the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas. While they are still dealing with injuries, the Cowboys are riding high after their solid defensive effort in Arizona. If the Rams don’t find a way to slow down DeMarcus Lawrence, Goff could be rushed in his throws. How he adjusts will be interesting to see.
If Dallas has another good defensive game, Jared Goff’s response will guide the following weeks. The Rams face six consecutive weeks of top defenses after Dallas, including Seattle, Jacksonville, Arizona, NY Giants, Houston and finally Minnesota before getting a reprieve of sorts with New Orleans.
Goff has the weapons to get past tough defenses. The Rams provided him with a good offensive line, a running threat, and sure-handed receivers at every level of the field. The question will be whether Goff has learned enough to read complex schemes and also to stay calm if any part of his arsenal falters.
So… is he a must-start?
This week, I would start Jared Goff. The Rams know what Dallas can do after watching the Monday night game. But I am hesitant to make him a must-start for the season until I see if Dallas puts the pressure on him and how Goff reacts.
So, I will call him a curious must-start this week, but the situation might need to be re-evaluated before Week 5.
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