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After another season of offensive inconsistency, the Rams decided to take a big swing, acquiring Matthew Stafford to replace Jared Goff. Whether that is a significant upgrade for the offense as a whole and their Fantasy prospects remains to be seen, but we can hope for at least one thing: Stafford will take the shots downfield that the conservative Goff has passed up in recent seasons, which makes this offense's ceiling higher.

2020 Review

Record: 10 - 6 (12)
PPG: 23.3 (22)
YPG: 377.0 (11)
Pass YPG: 250.9 (13)
Rush YPG: 126.1 (10)
PAPG: 36.9 (12)
RAPG: 29.6 (7)

2020 Fantasy finishes

QB: Jared Goff* QB16
RB: Darrell Henderson RB36, Malcolm Brown* RB43, Cam Akers RB45
WR: Robert Woods WR13, Cooper Kupp WR26
TE: Tyler Higbee TE 18, Gerald Everett* TE24
*No longer with team

Number to know: 6.2

Jared Goff's intended air yards per attempt has fallen for three straight years, hitting rock bottom in 2020 at 6.2. The Rams offense was still able to be effective thanks to the ability of Woods and Kupp to make plays with the ball in their hands. However, Kupp saw his yards per reception drop to a career-low 10.6 and he had just three touchdowns, while Woods averaged just 10.4 yards per catch, though he did manage six touchdowns, matching a career high. Part of that is about coaching, but part of it was that Goff just wasn't as comfortable taking shots down the field as he once was -- especially with the Rams line regressing from its peak. The line could still be an issue, but Stafford has a bigger arm than Goff and a demonstrated willingness to let it fly, so expect to see more opportunities for Woods and Kupp to make plays in the intermediate and deep ranges. That should lead to better production and especially more touchdowns from that duo, and it wouldn't surprise me if we saw the best of both this season. I'm kind of expecting it. 

2021 Offseason

Draft Picks 

2. (57) Tutu Atwell, WR
3. (103) Ernest Jones, LB
4. (117) Bobby Brown III, DT
4. (130) Robert Rochell, CB
4. (141) Jacob Harris, WR
5. (174) Earnest Brown IV, DE
7. (233) Jake Funk, RB
7. (249) Ben Skowronek, WR
7. (252) Chris Garrett, OLB

Additions

QB Matthew Stafford, WR DeSean Jackson

Key Departures

QB Jared Goff, RB Malcolm Brown, WR Josh Reynolds, S John Johnson, LB Samson Ebukam, CB Troy Hill, DE Morgan Fox, TE Gerald Everett

Available Opportunity 

101 carries, 33 RB targets, 81 WR targets, 62 TE targets

2021 Preview

Award
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Jamey Eisenberg
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Dave Richard
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Heath Cummings
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Chris Towers
Matthew Stafford15131722
Darrell Henderson21232318
Robert Woods1511159
Cooper Kupp21201613
Tyler Higbee13221522

Chris Towers' projections

QBMatthew StaffordPA: 612, YD: 4593, TD: 28, INT: 12; RUSH -- ATT: 23, YD: 81, TD: 1
RBDarrell HendersonCAR: 268, YD: 1123, TD: 7.5; TAR: 62, REC: 43, YD: 356, TD: 2
WRRobert WoodsTAR: 133, REC: 85, YD: 1086, TD: 8; CAR: 17, YD: 130, TD: 1.5
WRCooper KuppTAR: 127, REC: 87, YD: 1129, TD: 8
WRTutu AtwellTAR: 63, REC: 38, YD: 438, TD: 3; CAR: 20, YD: 120, TD: 1
TETyler HigbeeTAR: 67, REC: 50, YD: 533, TD: 4

Biggest Question

Can Darrell Henderson step up in Cam Akers' place?  

Originally, the question was, "Can Cam Akers be the next Todd Gurley?" Expectations shouldn't be (and aren't) that high for Henderson, so it'll be enough if he can just hold serve. Henderson has shown flashes of pretty impressive abilities -- he averaged 14.1 points per game in PPR over a six-game stretch last season -- but nobody is asking him to be a top-12 running back. The question is, can he be the lead back and prove himself as a three-down option? It's not guaranteed -- and it's fair to wonder if he can hold up given his struggles with injuries in both seasons of his career -- but there's a lot to like about the situation, at least.

One sleeper, one breakout and one bust

Sleeper
LAR L.A. Rams • #34
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
2020 Stats (5G, Maryland)
RUYDS
516
REC
10
REYDS
68
TD
4
FPTS/G
18.5

Take your pick of Funk, Xavier Jones, and Raymond Calais as the Rams sleeper RB du jour. None come with track records at the NFL level or much pedigree -- Funk, the 233rd pick in this year's draft, was the only one actually selected by the Rams. He's also a pretty impressive athlete, running a 4.49 40-yard dash with very impressive burst and agility scores at his Pro Day -- and he even threw up 22 reps on the bench. All three are long shots, but in deeper leagues, any could be worth a late-round flier. I'll throw my dart Funk's way. 

Breakout
LAR L.A. Rams • #27
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
2020 Stats
RUYDS
624
REC
16
REYDS
159
TD
6
FPTS/G
8.7

Henderson isn't expected to be as productive as Akers, but ... why not? Sure, Henderson found himself largely neutralized by Akers' emergence late last season, but it's not like Akers was all that more productive last season -- Henderson had one fewer yard and three more rushing touchdowns on seven fewer carries. Henderson may not get the heavy workload Akers was projected for, and there are questions about his work in the passing game, but I would argue the main reason to like Akers wasn't that he was some kind of incredible talent; it was because this could be an incredible situation. Well, now Henderson finds himself in that situation. He's got top-12 upside here. 

Bust
LAR L.A. Rams • #27
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
2020 Stats
RUYDS
624
REC
16
REYDS
159
TD
6
FPTS/G
8.7

Before Akers' injury, I had him as both the breakout and bust pick here, so I'll stick with the same thought process here. It was easier to make a bust case about Akers when he was being drafted as a top-12 RB, so we'll have to see where Henderson ends up being drafted. If he's a fourth-round pick, it's hard to make much of a case against him. However, if he ends up getting pushed into the third-round range, ahead of the likes of Woods and Kupp, Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, and other high-end wide receivers, then it's a lot easier to see how a running back who hasn't proven he can handle the workload or be good enough to hold onto the job could disappoint. 

So which sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen's huge season, and find out.