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Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints: Stock report bodes well for WR group

The defense will surely enjoy their stock up section this week

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New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Ram Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Stock Down

DT Tanzel Smart

Tanzel Smart was plugged into the starting lineup early in the season at NT, sliding Michael Brockers over to LE. That move worked well for a few weeks, but tailored off quickly, and with Smart struggling the past few weeks, the Rams actually demoted him and let Ethan Westbrooks start:

The move may have worked, because outside of one major play from the Saints running game, the Rams defense shut the running game down.

WR Tavon Austin

Outside of the occasional nice gain or as a decoy, Tavon Austin just doesn’t look like he belongs. Sean McVay and the offense continue to put the ball in his hands hoping for some of the magic we’ve seen from him in the past, but it’s just not happening. Tavon had five carries for 17-yards yesterday, and three receptions for -1 yards. Yesterday may have been a bit more understood with both Malcolm Brown and Lance Dunbar inactive, but the Tavon backup RB experiment (pounding it up the middle) really needs to cease to exist.

LT Andrew Whitworth

This is a tough one, because Andrew Whitworth has been a god-send the entire season, sans yesterday. He’s easily been the Rams best addition in free agency, and has maybe been the best FA add across the entire league. Yesterday he had his hands full with Cameron Jordan. Jordan registered two sacks, as well as a pass deflection, and a handful of pressures. I expect Big Whit to bounce back in a big way.

Stock Up

K Greg Zuerlein

Greg was 4/5 on FG’s yesterday, with his lone miss coming from 63-yards in a last-second hopeful chance before halftime. Zuerlein remains perfect on XP’s throughout the year as he went 2/2. Greg routinely makes any kick under 55-yards look easy, and he’s been an incredible weapon for the Rams this season. Get this man to the pro bowl.

WR Sammy Watkins

For what seemed like it’d never happen, Jared Goff and Sammy Watkins finally got their connection going. Sammy registered a 4-82-1 line, though he could have been much more productive statistically. Watkins drew two massive pass interference penalties. Watkins also beat a CB on a vertical route where Goff under-threw him, Sammy tried to reach back and corral it with one hand, though it turned into a bobbled INT. All in all, it was a solid day for the connection, and could be the stepping stone to something a lot greater.

CB Kayvon Webster

KWebb had himself quite a day. As PFF noted, Webster was targeted six times breaking up two of them, and allowing only 14-yards into his coverage. Not only that, but he once again proved to be a terrific open-field tackler with maybe the most underrated play of the game:

WR Josh Reynolds

The rookie WR had quite a good debut as a starting WR for maybe the best offense in the NFL. As we all know, Robert Woods missed the game (and likely will miss a few more), meaning somebody had to step up from the trio that wasn’t getting much playing time (Reynolds/Cooper/Thomas), and it was the rookie Josh Reynolds. Reynolds managed four receptions for 37-yards, and his first NFL TD was pretty:

Reynolds also smoked SS Kenny Vaccaro on a wheel route on 4th-and-short where Jared Goff just narrowly under-threw it, otherwise it would have resulted in a 30-yard touchdown. Regardless, there are going to be lots of expectations from this WR group to step up as a whole and fill the gap left by Robert Woods’ injury, and so far they’ve done a terrific job.

WR Cooper Kupp

A week after Kupp was shredded for struggling against a tough Vikings defense, he rebounded in the only way he knows how, with a 8-116-0 line. Kupp created major separation the entire day with sharp route running and smarts, and had only one contested catch that he couldn’t secure. Outside of that, he was marvelous. Kupp moved the chains on several occasions, and made two or three spectacular grabs in the game. That was the perfect way to rebound for a young player with so much talent.