QB Jared Goff – Over seven games as a starter in his rookie season, Goff never passed for over 235 yards in any game with his highlight game coming with his three passing TDs in Week 12 at New Orleans. He finished the year with a poor completion rate (54.6) while tossing five TDs and seven Ints. Last year his game made a huge step forward leading to an 11-5 record over 15 games with 3,804 yards passing and 28 TDs. His yards per completion (12.9) led the NFL, and it showcased his ability to get the ball downfield in the deep passing game. His best stat of the year was his low total in interceptions (7). Jared offers minimal value on the ground (28/51/1). Last year he threw for over 300 yards in five games plus four games with three TDs or more. Even with his high level of success, Goff averaged only 31.8 pass attempts per game. His overall weapons in the passing game should be improved with Brandin Cooks added to the roster while replacing Sammy Watkins. With the development in Cooper Kupp and some growth in the value of his TEs, Jared has a chance to push his way to 4,500+ yards with 30+ TDs. His upside in TDs will be limited with success of Todd Gurley scoring rushing TDs in the red zone. I’d prefer Goff as an upside QB2 just in case he takes off while understanding he’s going to have matchup value again in 2018. Last season Jared finished as the 12th highest scoring QB the World Championship scoring.
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RB Todd Gurley – At age 22, Gurley made Fantasy owners a ton of money in 2017. His ADP was about mid-second round creating a great buying opportunity for sharp Fantasy owners. The Rams scored the most points (478) in the NFL last season, which came after ranking last in points scored (224) in 2016. LA scored 51 total TDs in 2017 with 19 touchdowns coming from Gurley. The previous season the Rams only scored 24 combined TDs. The change in coaching staff and the 2017 offseason moves were magical bringing the NFL spotlight back to Los Angeles. On the year, Todd finished with 2,093 combined yards and 64 catches while averaging 22.9 touches in his 15 games. His explosiveness was back in his game (4.7 yards per rush and 12.3 yards per catch). LA is on the rise with a young improving quarterback. Scoring TDs win Fantasy games, and Gurley should be one of the best in the game in this area again in 2018. Three-down back with the opportunity and scoring ability to win Fantasy championships. Next step: 375 combined touches for 2,200 yards with 15+ TDs and 75+ catches. Great foundation RB1 in PPR leagues, but he will have two tough games in the high stake’s championship rounds (PHI and ARI). In 2017, Todd beat the Eagles for 135 combined yards at home with two TDs and three catches while gaining 312 combined yards with one TD and ten catches in two games vs. the Cardinals. High floor player each week thanks to his pass-catching ability while having the talent to post a difference maker score multiple times over the long season.
RB John Kelly – Over three seasons at Tennessee. Kelly gained 1,923 combined yards with 15 TDs and 43 catches. His best success came in his junior year when John had 1,077 combined yards with nine TDs and 37 catches despite gaining only 4.1 yards per rush. This season he’ll compete for the backup role on the Rams, but he lacks the explosiveness to keep a high percentage of Gurley’s role if given an opportunity due to an injury. Kelly fits into the grinder mode with power being his best asset. I expect him to be the top handcuff for Gurley in 2018.
WR Brandin Cooks – Even with an excellent season in New England (65/1082/7 on 114 targets), Cooks still fell short of expectations. He crushed Fantasy owners during the most critical time of the year in 2017 (Week 13 – 2/17, Week 14 – 1/38, Week 15 – 4/60/1, and Week 16 – 2/19). Before his poor finish, Brandon was on pace to deliver a top ten Fantasy value at WR in PPR leagues. With the Patriots, Cooks only had two games with over 100 yards receiving (5/131/2 and 6/149/1). He has three straight seasons with over 1,000 yards while scoring a TD in half of his last 24 games. In 2017, the Rams completed 197 passes to their WRs for 2,580 yards and 19 TDs on 317 targets. I’m torn on his value and opportunity based on the play of Cooper Kupp in his rookie seasons and the surprising success of Robert Woods. Cooks will be the big play WR, but LA will be creative getting him the ball. More of the same (80/1100/7) in the developing Rams’ offense, but Brandin will be severely discounted in 2018 due to the change in teams.
WR Cooper Kupp – Based on his college resume (428/6464/73), Kupp looks like a star of stars. His game comes with exceptional route running with plus short area quickness, hands, and ball fakes. Cooper doesn’t have the flash and sleekness of the top WRs in the game, but he will get open while catching many balls thrown his way. In the open field, his speed isn’t enough to pull away from cornerbacks after the catch. Kupp plays with vision, which helps him after the catch. I’m seeing a Brandon Marshall type skill set with less size (6’2” and 204 lbs.), where controlling the first 15 yards off the line of scrimmage will be his calling card to success. Built to be a 100-catch receiver. His route running will be his ticket to an early starting job, but his release will dictate his upside. I have no doubt Cooper will know the playbook cold based on his career path and pedigree. In his rookie season, Kupp caught 62 of his 94 targets for 869 yards and five TDs over 15 games. Over his last eight games of the season including the playoffs, Cooper had 44 catches for 567 yards and three TDs on 60 targets. He finished with two games with over 100 yards receiving (8/116 and 5/118/1) and six games with five catches or more in the regular season. In 2017, there were multiple games when Kupp just missed securing a TD while being a top red-zone target. I expect him to a WR1A in this offense with a run at 90+ catches for 1,100+ yards and a chance at double-digit TDs. He will be the top scoring receiving on the Rams in 2018.
WR Robert Woods – Over four seasons in Buffalo, Woods caught 203 passes for 2,451 yards and 12 TDs on 345 targets. His best success came in his sophomore year in 2014 when Robert caught 65 of his 104 targets for 699 yards and five TDs. He missed seven games over the last two seasons leading to only 21 starts. Over 12 games in 2017, Wood was on pace for the best season of his career. He caught 56 of his 85 targets for 781 yards and five TDs, which projected over 16 games would have been 75 catches for 1,041 yards and seven TDs. It’s too bad Brandin Cooks will pass him on the depth chart leading to a step back in chances. The Rams don’t have a TE of Fantasy value, which points to the WR3 in the Rams’ offense having a chance at 50 catches for 600+ yards and minimal upside TDs.
WR Josh Reynolds – Reynolds is the player LA hopes will challenge the secondary in the deep passing game. Josh has more height (6’3”) than size (194 lbs.), but he does win many jump balls even just average WR speed. He’ll have risk working the short areas of the field while needing to improve his release. Over three seasons at Texas A&M, Josh caught 164 passes for 2,788 yards and 30 TDs while averaging 17 yards per catch. In his rookie season, Reynolds caught 11 of 24 targets for 104 yards and a TD. Possible insurance card while showing scoring ability on his college resume.
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TE Gerald Everett – The door is open for Everett to seize the starting TE job. Over his last two seasons at South Alabama, Gerald caught 90 passes for 1,292 yards and 12 TDs. His game has a WR feel with great hands and the balance RB when getting tackled. Everett will challenge the short areas of the field plus add value in the deep passing game. His next step is building his technique in his route running while being undersized (6’3” and 239 lbs.) to hold an edge in the blocking game. Last year LA completed 49 of 86 passes for 610 yards and three TDs. The new coaching staff will get the ball to the TE position leading to a fast rise by Gerald. In his rookie season, Everett caught 16 passes for 244 yards and two TDs on 32 targets with his best game coming in Week 2 (3/95). His playing time last year was minimal due to his lack of value in pass blocking. I expect improvement in 2018, but he has a lot to prove to become Fantasy relevant. Worth a late flier.
TE Tyler Higbee – The Rams gave Higbee the bulk of the TE snaps in 2017 due to more value as a run blocker. He finished with 25 catches for 295 yards and one TD on 45 targets. His best season in college at Western Kentucky came in 2015 when Tyler caught 38 passes for 563 yards and eight TDs. Low ceiling with a weak floor in the Fantasy market.
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