Fantasy Analysis: Rams’ WR Robert Woods

When the Rams traded for former Lions QB Matthew Stafford, they received not only an upgrade from former QB Jared Goff but also one of the most naturally talented quarterbacks in the league. Now that Stafford is finally on a team with an offensive-minded head coach and many weapons, this should boost his fantasy ability and the rest of the Rams’ weapons as well, most significantly Robert Woods.

Woods had a decent 2020 season finishing with 936 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns in the air and 155 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Woods finished the season as the WR 12 in PPR scoring, and since 2018, Woods has finished within the top 15 WRs in PPR. For the 2021-2022 season, you should expect a similar finish with slightly more upside due to the presence of Matthew Stafford, and his ability to throw deep balls. In each of the last 3 years, Woods has had 86+ receptions on 129+ targets for 936+ receiving yards. In this time he’s only missed one game due to a personal issue and proven himself to be a safe pick and reliable contributor each year. He’s not the flashiest receiver pick, with a draft price of around WR 19. This puts him ahead of guys like Kenny Golladay and Odell Beckham Jr. and behind Chris Godwin and Adam Thielen. Robert Woods also offers a decent rushing value, as the Rams consistently use him on jet sweeps. Since 2018, Woods has four rushing touchdowns and 417 rushing yards. Bobby Trees could be a great value pick in rounds 4-6 and can be a consistent WR2.

The way that the Rams offense was run in 2020 was not the most effective for producing good fantasy receivers. Both Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods had an average depth of target of around 6.5 yards, meaning that they ran short quick routes often. In comparison to the Lions receivers last year, Marvin Jones Jr and Kenny Golladay had an average depth of target of around 13 yards, which is better for fantasy purposes. However, both Rams receivers had most of their yards come from yards after the catch (YAC). Both had roughly 5.5 YAC vs the Lions receiver’s 2.5. The same goes for both quarterbacks with Jared Goff’s target being 6.4 and Stafford’s rate being 9.8. Expect the Rams to take more deep shots in 2021 and stretch the field more, due to Matthew Stafford and the signing of Desean Jackson.

The signing of Desean Jackson is not as detrimental to Woods’ value as you may think. Jackson is stepping into the deep threat/burner role in the Rams offense, similar to Brandin Cooks in 2018 and 2019. In 2018 Cooks had 15.2 PPG and Woods had 16.6 PPG. In 2019 Woods had 15.52 PPG and Cooks had 9.03 games while playing about 3 fewer games and playing through injuries. Having a speedy receiver like Jackson to relieve Woods and Kupp from coverage and take the top off defenses could benefit all 3 receivers.

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