2019 Fantasy Football Team Previews: Can the Rams avoid the Super Bowl hangover?
Key additions and departures, numbers to know, and which players to target in Fantasy Football from the 2019 Los Angeles Rams.
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.
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.
"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)
Rankings and Projections
|Heath Cummings' projected offensive stats|
|4,262 YD, 29 TD, 12 INT|
|220 ATT, 948 YD, 8 TD; 49 REC, 427 YD, 3 TD|
|132 ATT, 555 YD, 5 TD; 35 REC, 296 YD, 2 TD|
|116 TAR, 77 REC, 1,058 YD, 6 TD|
|111 TAR, 71 REC, 1,056 YD, 6 TD|
|105 TAR, 72 REC, 1,008 YD, 6 TD|
|44 TAR, 28 REC, 321 YD, 3 TD|
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.
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