Higbee played 64 of 72 offensive snaps and caught a three-yard touchdown pass during Sunday's 34-0 win over Arizona. The third-year tight end failed to secure his other target, so while it was great to see Higbee find the end zone Week 2, Sunday's touchdown stands as his only reception through the first two games of the season. He was still on the field for 64 offensive snaps compared to Gerald Everett's eight, so for the time being, Higbee's position atop the depth chart appears secure. Still, neither Los Angeles tight end profiles as a reliable fantasy option at this stage of the game.
Higbee played 60 of 63 offensive snaps but didn't receive a target during Monday's 33-13 win over the Raiders. With Higbee's fantasy value already minimal, it was discouraging to see him uninvolved in the passing attack in Week 1. Still, he played 95 percent of the offensive snaps, so he clearly created separation between himself and second-year tight end Gerald Everett over the offseason. Everett did miss the majority of training camp and the entire preseason with an unspecified shoulder injury and likely still projects to be the superior receiver long-term, though. Additionally, with workhorse back Todd Gurley and three excellent receivers (Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp) all heavily involved in the offense, there probably won't be many targets left over for Higbee or Everett.
Higbee has been one of the Rams' standout performers at training camp, Rich Hammond of The Orange County Register reports. A 16-game starter last year, Higbee was limited to 25 catches and 45 targets on 735 offensive snaps, as all the playing time didn't actually translate to running a high number of routes. He was sometimes used as an extra blocker on pass plays and at other times came off the field in favor of Gerald Everett (shoulder) on passing downs. Higbee reportedly is making a case for a bigger pass-catching role this season, but he still seems likely to share targets with Everett in an offense based around RB Todd Gurley and a trio of impressive wide receivers (Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp). Any potential for a breakout depends on Higbee converting an unusually high percentage of his targets into touchdowns.
Rams tight ends coach Shane Waldron said Higbee had a good offseason, Kristen Lago of the team's official website reports. "I think with Higbee going into his third year, he's got a really good grasp, has had a good offseason and worked hard like he always does," Waldron said. "He's really bought in and is doing everything the right way all the time -- provides a good option as a tight end in all three phases of the game, whether the run game, the pass game, and in the pass protection." Waldron also had good things to say about 2017 second-round pick Gerald Everett, who could challenge for a larger share of the workload in his second season. Rams tight ends accounted for only 49 catches and three touchdowns last season, with Higbee getting most of the snaps thanks to his solid work as a blocker. Everett offers more potential in the passing game, but he may have a tough time beating out Higbee for playing time in an offense based around Todd Gurley and an impressive trio of wideouts. The Rams often used Higbee as an extra blocker on pass plays last season, giving other players more time to get open.
Higbee caught one of his two targets for just 11 yards during Saturday's 26-13 loss to Atlanta in the wild-card round. He did have a five-yard touchdown reversed by replay with 2:16 remaining in the game. The tight end clearly didn't complete the catch in the end zone, which was an unfortunate break for the Rams, as one play later they turned the ball over on downs and realistically sunk any chance of a comeback. Higbee took a sizable step forward in his second season with 25 receptions, 295 yards and a touchdown, including five catches for over 20 yards. However, those numbers hardly tilt the fantasy scales in most settings, and rookie Gerald Everett projects to be more involved in the passing attack in 2018, which will further cap Higbee's already limited upside and appeal.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/23||Los Angeles Chargers||3||2.00|
|7||10/22||@San Francisco 49ers||22||8.00|
|8||10/28||Green Bay Packers||11||5.00|
|9||11/04||@New Orleans Saints||8||4.00|
|11||11/20||Kansas City Chiefs||31||14.00|
|17||12/30||San Francisco 49ers||22||8.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||36||18||190||1||8||10.56||25|