LOS ANGELES RAMS
Matthew Stafford: Stafford finished 2021 as QB5 and a SuperBowl champion. Yet, he is going as QB11 via FantasyPros ADP. I’d say his ADP puzzles me, but the truth is he flopped for fantasy managers in the playoffs last season (AVG 13.4 PPG weeks 14-18). However, he entered week 14 as QB4 averaging 21.9 PPG. Despite his disastrous fantasy playoff run, he’s the one who got you there.
Stafford threw for three or more TDs, and scored 19+ fantasy points in 9/17 games last season. He scored less than 15.4 points in just four games. Last time I checked, he still has Cooper Kupp. He lost Robert Woods this offseason, and in all likelihood won’t have OBJ back. BUT… The Rams added Allen Robinson (a three-time 1,000-yard/top-10 fantasy WR) to his arsenal. It stands to reason Stafford is good for another 350+ points this season. He is a steal at his current value.
Cam Akers: The long awaited breakout may finally be upon us. Or is it? Akers is a polarizing player, possessing an impressive college pedigree, and even showing flashes of his potential in the NFL. A torn achilles suffered before the 2021 season derailed his breakout campaign before it began. After making a remarkable recovery, returning to action faster than many thought possible, the Rams were quick to hand him the reins. He dominated the Rams backfield touches during the postseason, averaging 19 touches per game. However, his efficiency left much to be desired. He averaged just 2.6 YPC during this span and failed to find the endzone once.
Yet, the undeniable fact is the Rams were willing to feed him that much, even after a game where he lost two fumbles. Clearly they believe in him as their RB1. As we know, the Rams RB1 job had Akers’s current backup, Darrell Henderson, sitting at RB12 entering week 13 last season.
I’d be cautious about it, but if Akers sees the same usage, he could realistically find himself in RB1 territory. His current ADP via FantasyPros is RB17.
Darrell Henderson: As far as I’m concerned, Henderson will enter 2022 as nothing more than a handcuff for Akers. However, taking into account his history of production (avg 15.7 PPG weeks 1-12 in 2021) he should be considered one of the most valuable handcuffs in the game. He is certainly worth a late-round flier.
Cooper Kupp: Kupp finished 2021: a triple-crown winner (led the league in receptions, rec. yards and rec. TDs), a SuperBowl MVP as well as my personal best friend.
You could write a book with all the positive stats Kupp accrued in 2021. He had 14 games with at least 20 PPR points, and six games with at least 30. Finished with 10 or more targets in 14/17 games (no less than seven in any game). It would be difficult for anyone to duplicate that kind of historic production. Nevertheless Kupp rightfully projects at the top of his position.
Considering Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill found new homes this offseason, Kupp should be firmly locked in as this year's preseason WR1 overall.
Allen Robinson: Here is a list of QBs Robinson has played with since entering the league: Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Mitch Trubisky, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton and rookie Justin Fields. Yikes. Despite the adversity, he’s managed three 1,000-yard campaigns (PPR WR6 in 2015, WR8 in 2019 and WR9 in 2020).
If he can accomplish this with the list of passers mentioned above, imagine what he can do with the best QB he’s ever played with in his pro (or college) career. He now joins a Stafford-led Rams team where, for once, he won’t be considered his team’s primary receiving threat. Instead, he’ll line up opposite Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp, taking over Odell Beckham‘s role, which netted the former Giant seven TDs in 12 games as a Ram in 2021.
Last season likely left a bad taste in your mouth from Robinson since he finished as WR83 despite an average draft position of WR11 (via FantasyPros). You’re not alone. However, the good thing about hitting rock bottom is that there’s nowhere to go but up. Robinson is guaranteed to see higher-quality looks while drawing less aggressive attention from opposing defenses. Do with that information what you will.
Van Jefferson: In all likelihood, Jefferson will be the third/fourth option in the Rams pass game this season. Things should be pretty similar to last season in terms of production. That being said, he proved usable at times last season (14+ PPR points in 6/17 games, 16+ in 4/17). Barring an unforeseen injury to a depth chart superior, Jefferson shouldn’t be much more than a hit-or-miss WR3/bye week substitute.
Tyler Higbee: Currently sporting an ADP of TE16 via FantasyPros, optimism (for 2022) is hard to come by for Higbee. His run as a TE1 in 2019 (five consecutive games with at least 18 PPR points to end the season) feels like a distant memory now. Higbee struggled to manage double-digit PPR points last season, meeting the mark in just 6/17 games. He failed to top 70 yards in any game and finished as TE14 when it was all said and done. It’s unlikely much changes. Higbee should be considered a TE2 with upside until further notice.
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