Finally out of Detroit, Stafford lands in a favorable situation with great weapons and a great offensive head coach in Sean McVay. Since 2012 Stafford has finished as an average QB 13, including 2019 where he missed 8 games. However, in 2019, Matthew Stafford was on pace to be the QB 3 and with the 4th most points per page before the injury. Taking his potential finish gives him an average of QB 10. That matches up with his ADP of QB 12. In an improved offense with better weapons and a better defense, expect Stafford to be a low-end QB1/high-end QB2 with upside on his new team. Value him the same as guys like Kirk Cousins or Matt Ryan.
Cam Akers is a rising RB star and should be a solid low-end RB 1 with upside. Rams coach Sean McVay said that he views Akers as an “every-down back”. That is something I can see happening. Touches are going to be somewhat there for Akers, but I definitely think Henderson will share a role similar to Hunt/Chubb in Cleveland. Fellow Phinest writer William Spencer believes that Cam Akers is due for a breakout season. Be sure to check out that article.
Even though Henderson had a decent 2020, don’t expect much from him in 2021. Last season, Henderson finished as the RB 31 and was a decent flex play for the beginning of the season. It didn’t help that Sean McVay decided on a running back committee last year, but with Malcolm Brown departing in free agency it could open up some targets/touches for him. Darrell Henderson’s only great games last season came from getting most of the touches, or when Akers was injured, so it’s unlikely that will continue next year. The Rams offense in 2020 was also very balanced with a 44.5% to 55.5% rush to pass ratio, meaning the running back opportunity isn’t the same as a run-first team like the Ravens. View Darrell Henderson as an Akers handcuff, and as an RB 2 if Akers goes down during the season.
Robert Woods is a solid WR2 for the late rounds in your drafts. He may not be the flashiest pick on draft day but he’s definitely a guy that can get you a consistent 10+ points every week. He also has been really healthy, as he’s only missed a handful of games during his tenure with the Rams, none for major injuries. Look for Woods to be a consistent producer, and improve from last year due to potentially improved Quarterback play. His current ADP is 4.07 and has been rising over the past couple of months, but still could be a solid pick come draft day. For a more in-depth look at Robert Woods check out my other article here.
Kupp has been a solid WR2 for most of his career. Last year he produced a three-year low in points with 13.5 PPG. That’s a downgrade from his previous two seasons with 16.9 PPG. The Rams are getting a quarterback upgrade in Matthew Stafford, but his tendency to take more shots downfield may work against Kupp, who has been Jared Goff’s security blanket in the slot for four years. Both Rams receivers last year averaged a depth of target of around 6.5 yards meaning they caught short passes. Cooper Kupp has averaged more than eight targets per game over the last two seasons, and receptions accounted for 45.5 percent of his 2020 PPR production, the fourth-highest of any receiver who scored at least 80 PPR points.
What this means is that Kupp scored most of his points from simply catching the ball in PPR rather than scoring or getting yards. Kupp will continue his role as the slot receiver in the Rams scheme, so there is some concern about his production, especially with his injury history. Treat him as a little lower than Robert Woods, among similar players like Tyler Lockett or OBJ. Kupp may not be as consistent as Woods but he has the ability to put up more weekly value if he plays well.
Tutu Atwell/DeSean Jackson/Van Jefferson
The third Rams receiver, whether Jackson, Atwell, or Jefferson, may provide some value, but don’t count on any being a consistent producer in 2021. All three of these players’ roles in the Rams offense will likely be the same, stretch the defense and take some coverage off of their teammates. The last time the Rams had a true deep threat was in 2018 with Brandon Cooks, and all 3 receivers were fantasy relevant. Cooks and Woods finished inside the top 15 and Kupp was on pace to. I wouldn’t expect the same from the Rams in 2021, as they had a top 3 offense in 2018. Their offense in 2021 should only be able to support 2 fantasy-relevant receivers. Atwell, Jackson, and Jefferson should be viewed as a potential bye week replacement and with a boom or bust emphasis. For which receiver you want to own, closely monitor training camp battles and reports to see which one will likely be starting.
If Tyler Higbee can get enough targets, he should be a solid backup TE with top upside. Higbee should see somewhat of a boost from last season due to the acquisition of Stafford, and a better overall offense. An interesting statistic that should be noted is that in McVay’s offense neither Everett nor Higbee has gotten 100 targets since he began his tenure with the Rams in 2017. Targets = Opportunities, and opportunities equal more fantasy points. If a Rams tight end can get at least 80 targets like Higbee in 2019 they can be a decent backup tight end on your fantasy roster.
Jacob Harris/Brycen Hopkins
The backup Tight End, whether it be Jacob Harris or Brycen Hopkins are unlikely to contribute much in fantasy. McVay likes to use his tight ends for blocking first and compared to last season his tight end targets dropped from number 4 in the league to number 15. If there’s a Rams tight end to own it’s Higbee, but Harris has been a favorite in OTAs so he has some value in dynasty.
Here’s the part of the team analysis I know everyone was waiting for, the kicker. In his rookie season in 2019, Matt Gay finished as the Fantasy kicker #4 with 9.1 PPG. Last season with the Rams, Gay was on pace to be kicker #6 and should finish similarly in 2021. The kicker position in fantasy is a variable one, so don’t count on a top 5 finish, but Gay is still a good kicker on what should be a great offense next year. Value him the same as the former Ram Greg Zuerlein or Will Lutz.
Although the Rams defense was one of the highest-scoring squads of 2020, temper your expectations for them in 2021. The losses of Troy Hill, John Johnson, and some rotational players along with defensive coordinator Brandon Staley will make more of an impact than you may think. The Rams’ new DC Raheem Morris has served a variety of positions on both sides of the ball for the Atlanta Falcons and other different teams. His unit last year scored 89 fantasy points and ranked in the bottom half of the league. Though he didn’t have the talent of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey in Atlanta, don’t expect the Rams defense to repeat as #1 in 2021. Right now, I have them at 3 behind Pittsburgh and Baltimore, so they still should be one of the top units in the league.