2019 Fantasy Football Team Previews: Can the Rams avoid the Super Bowl hangover?

Sean McVay's offense got tested in 2018, particularly after Cooper Kupp was lost for the season and Todd Gurley began to slow down thanks to a problematic knee. Did it matter? No, not really. The passing game hit a couple bumps in the road, but C.J. Anderson stepped into his third offense of the season and became an immediate high-level producer out of the backfield. Gurley's health is a major question mark going forward, but the ability for this offense to keep producing big Fantasy numbers does not appear to be. 

2018 Review

Record: 13 - 3 (1st in NFL)
PPG: 32.9 (2)
YPG: 421.1 (2)
Pass YPG: 281.7 (5)
Rush YPG: 139.4 (3)
PAPG: 35.5 (14)
RAPG: 28.7 (8)

2018 Fantasy finishes

QB: Jared Goff - QB7
RB: Todd Gurley - RB3; C.J. Anderson* - RB69**; Malcolm Brown - RB88
WR: Robert Woods - WR10; Brandin Cooks - WR13; Cooper Kupp - WR51; Josh Reynolds - WR74
TE: Gerald Everett - TE22; Tyler Higbee - TE33
*No longer with team
**Played nine games with Carolina

Number to know: 114

The Rams will start two offensive linemen with 114 combined snaps of regular-season experience. Left guard Joseph Noteboom and center Brian Allen are both second-year players with little experience. A third lineman, right guard Austin Blythe, got his year's worth of experience last year as the weak link on the Rams' line. Additionally, left tackle Andrew Whitworth is 38 years old and contemplated retirement this offseason. Los Angeles had the league's top-ranked run-blocking unit and a top-10 ranked pass blocking unit last year according to Pro Football Focus.  

2019 Offseason

"Todd is a guy that's been a focal point of this offense, he's going to continue to be. He was forced to miss some games at the end of the year and we wanted to be smart about managing that load. Todd has shown he can handle that. How we navigate through a season, it's hard to say, but we anticipate him being the focal point of our offense, unless I'm told otherwise. He's a pretty versatile back, and we're going to continue to utilize all of his skill sets." - Sean McVay, on Todd Gurley

Head Coach: Sean McVay (3rd year)
Offensive Coordinator: None
Assistant Offensive Coordinator: Jedd Fisch (1st year - previously Senior Offensive Assistant, LAR)  

Draft Picks 

2. (61) Taylor Rapp, S
3. (70) Darrell Henderson, RB
3. (79) David Long, CB
3. (97) Bobby Evans, T
4. (134) Greg Gaines, DT
5. (169) David Edwards, T
7. (243) Nick Scott, S
7. (251) Dakota Allen, LB

Additions

QB Blake Bortles, LB Clay Matthews, DB Eric Weddle

Key Departures

RB C.J. Anderson, OL John Sullivan, OL Jamon Brown, OL Roger Saffold, DL Ndamukong Suh, LB Mark Barron, DB Lamarcus Joyner

Rankings and Projections

Player
Jared GoffQB11 QB11 QB16
Todd Gurley RB13 RB17 RB13
Darrell HendersonRB33 RB31RB39
Robert WoodsWR17 WR22 WR15
Brandin Cooks WR20 WR17 WR18
Cooper KuppWR21 WR20WR24
Gerald Everett TE27 TE30TE31
Greg Zuerlein K1 K5 K2
Rams DST DST3 DST12 DST5
 
Heath Cummings' projected offensive stats
QBJared Goff4,262 YD, 29 TD, 12 INT
RBTodd Gurley220 ATT, 948 YD, 8 TD; 49 REC, 427 YD, 3 TD
RBDarrell Henderson132 ATT, 555 YD, 5 TD; 35 REC, 296 YD, 2 TD
WRRobert Woods116 TAR, 77 REC, 1,058 YD, 6 TD
WRBrandin Cooks111 TAR, 71 REC, 1,056 YD, 6 TD
WRCooper Kupp105 TAR, 72 REC, 1,008 YD, 6 TD
TEGerald Everett44 TAR, 28 REC, 321 YD, 3 TD

Biggest Question

Will this offense take a step back?  

Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp's knees will be worth monitoring, but the Rams offensive line is a huge deal. Both starting guards and center from last season are gone. Their replacements are mostly unproven — two have under 100 snaps of experience! One of the secrets to Jared Goff's success has been pass protection. If that's an issue, as it was in Super Bowl LII, the whole system takes a hit.  

One sleeper, one breakout, and one bust

Sleeper: Darrell Henderson

The Rams' designs on rookie running back Darrell Henderson's usage include a "Kamara element." It suggests putting him in space and forcing defenses into mismatches against him and his lucrative speed. It might also mean a larger-than-expected amount of touches per week. Henderson averaged 8.2 yards per run at Memphis with 44 total touchdowns in 38 games -- his addition to Sean McVay's offense could be mind-bending. 

Breakout: Cooper Kupp

Alright, you're probably well aware of Kupp, but 2019 sets up to be his best season ever. Before he got hurt in 2018, he was on pace for over 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also averaged more targets and yards per game than his rookie season, with a catch rate improved by over six percent. Expected to be ready to go following a torn ACL, Kupp offers weekly touchdown potential and consistency that a lot of receivers taken between Rounds 4 and 5 can't offer. 

Bust: Todd Gurley

His usage won't be what it was last year (22.5 touches per game) because of his arthritic knees, Henderson's arrival, and the Rams' insistence that they'll be mindful of his touches. If he's not the same guy with the same explosiveness and opportunity, and behind a worse offensive line, any pick in the first two rounds might be too expensive.

So which sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which RB2 can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Andrew Luck's huge season, and find out.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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