Los Angeles Rams Team Outlook
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Rams Offense Outlook
LA ran the ball 44.6 percent of the time in 2018, which led to 28.7 rushing attempts per game. The Rams have a top tier passing attack as well. The questions with Todd Gurley’s knee injury and the changes on the offensive line invites regression in the success of the run game. I like the Rams’ coaching staff and the direction of this team offensively, which points to another top season offensively.
After starting his career with an 0-7 record, Goff developed into a top tier QB over the last two season leading to a 24-7 record with a Super Bowl appearance in 2018. He set career highs in completions (364), pass attempts (561), passing yards (4,688), completion rate (64.9), and TDs (34). Jared averaged 8.4 yards per pass attempt while passing for over 300 yards in six games and over 400 yards in another two other contests.
He finished with three TDs or more in six games. Goff struggled to throw TDs over a four-game stretch (207/1, 180/0, 339/0, and 216/1) late in the season while looking rather mediocre in the playoffs (186/0, 297/1, and 229/0). Los Angeles has pass-catching talent at RB, WR, and TE, which invites follow through in 2019. His next step is 5,000+ yards with a run at 540+ TDs. His upside is tied to the health of Todd Gurley and the recovery of Cooper Kupp.
Other Options: Brandon Allen, John Wolford
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Over the first 12 games of 2018, Gurley gained 1,649 combined yards (137.1 yards per game) with 19 TDs and 46 catches. He appeared to tweak his knee early in the game vs. the Bears, which led to him being used as a decoy (58 combined yards with three catches). The following week Gurley played upside his expected level (124 combined yards with two TDs and ten catches) before sitting out the final two games of the regular season.
He looked healthy in the first round of the playoffs (16/118/1 with three catches), but the Rams faded his opportunity over the final two games of the playoffs (4/13/1 with one catch and 10/34) while using him almost as a decoy. The offseason reports point to an issue in his left knee (arthritis). Without a doubt, Todd was on pace to be the top RB again in 2018 before his knee issue.
Los Angeles added insurance at RB in this year’s draft with a plan to manage his touches in 2019. Last year the Rams’ RBs gained 2,808 combined yards with 26 TDs and 70 catches on 479 touches. In 2018, Gurley averaged 22.5 touches per game (22.9 in 2017). With a 20 percent drop in chances, Todd should settle into about 275 touches, leading to 1,600 combined yards with a dozen or so TDs and 50 catches. Bet on his talent while understanding the risk/reward factor.
Henderson turned in an impressive season in 2018 for Memphis (2,204 combined yards with 25 TDs and 19 catches) despite only receiving 233 touches. He gained 8.9 yards per rush and 15.5 yards per catch, which was supported by his success in 2017 (1,380 combined yards with 11 TDs and 24 catches while gaining 8.9 yards per rush). In his college career, Darrell did catch 63 passes for 758 yards and eight TDs. He runs with power and home run ability while consistently breaking arm tackles. His vision graded well while offering subtle movements to create big yardage on what looks like small windows at the point of attack.
MUST HANDCUFF for Gurley owners while expecting him to carve out a nice opportunity off the bench in 2019. With 150+ touches, Henderson will gain over 900 yards with some value in TDs and catches. I see a combination of Todd Gurley, Chris Johnson, and Marion Barber in his game.
Other Options: Malcolm Brown, Justin Davis, Matthew Colburn
Cooks ended up being a nice fit for the Rams, but he failed to make an impact TDs (5). He’s gained over 1,000 yards in each of his last four seasons while averaging about 77 catches and seven TDs per year. His catch rate (68.4) rebounded after fading with the Patriots (57.0).
Cooks finished as the 13th highest scoring WR in PPR leagues with 80 catches for 1,204 yards and five TDs on 117 targets. He had five games with over 100 yards receiving (7/159/1, 7/116/1, 6/114/1, 10/100, and 8/107), which came over the first 11 games of the season. He played well over in his final two games in the playoffs (7/107 and 8/120).
On the downside, Brandin was shutout in Week 5 with weakness over his final five games (21/240/2 on 33 targets) of the regular season. In 2018, the Rams’ WRs caught 239 passes for 3,425 yards and 22 TDs on 359 targets. More of the same with the health of Cooper Kupp determining his opportunity. I expect a slight upside in TDs. Ideal WR3 while being drafted as WR2 in most Fantasy formats.
After missing four games in 2017 after a successful year (56/781/5), Woods proved not to be a fluke. He caught 86 of his 130 targets (66.2 percent) for 1,219 yards and six TDs. His best three games (10/104/2, 5/101/1, and 7/109) came over the first six weeks of the season. Robert had four games with double-digit targets and 12 games with five catches or more. He falls into the steady category in most weeks while offering some explosiveness. The Rams will use all three of their top wide receivers similarly. I expect a slight pullback, which points to an 80/1000/7 type season. In 2018, Woods was the 11th highest scoring WR in PPR leagues.
Last year I had Kupp rated higher than most in the preseason rankings. Over the first five games, he caught 30 of his 40 targets for 438 yards and five TDs putting him on pace for 96 catches for 1,402 yards and 16 TDs on 128 targets. He left Week 5 with a concussion, which came after a productive first half (6/90/1). The following week Cooper suffered an MCL injury in his left knee leading to two more missed games. After another productive game (5/89/1), Kupp suffered a torn ACL in Week 10 costing him the last seven games of the year.
Kupp Scouting Report
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.
Kupp’s 2019 Fantasy Outlook
The Rams hope to have him ready for Week 1, which gives him ten months to recover from his injury. His hard-working approach should help his quick return, but I have to believe Cooper will have limited value over the first month of the season. As much as I like his talent and upside, I have to be careful and not overvalue him coming off an injury. I’m going to set his bar at about 70 catches for 900 yards with about eight TDs.
Over the first four games, Reynolds didn’t have a catch with only one target. He earned a bump in playing time after the Cooper Kupp injury, which led to eight starts. Josh flashed in Week 8 (3/42/2), Week 11 (6/80/1), and Week 17 (4/55/2) while catching 22 of his 41 targets over the last six games with 304 yards and three TDs.
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.
Possible early season handcuff to Cooper Kupp while working as the fourth wide receiving option. I expect improvement in his third year in the NFL, but his opportunity won’t be high enough without another injury at the WR position.
Other Options: KhaDarel Hodge, JoJo Natson, Mike Thomas, Austin Proehl, Alex Bachman
In his second season in the NFL, Everett only saw minimal growth in his success and his opportunity. He finished with 33 catches for 320 yards and three TDs on 50 targets. Gerald gained only 9.7 yards per catch with only one game of value (3/49/2).
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.
The Rams’ TEs caught 58 passes for 617 yards and five TDs on 83 targets. Upside player who will continue to split playing time at TE. Everett isn’t ready to be a Fantasy factor in any format.
Other Options: Tyler Higbee, Johnny Mundt, Kendall Blanton, Keenan Brown, Romello Brooker
In his five seasons in the NFL, Greg has never made over 26 field goals in a season or over 34 extra points. His leg finally blossomed in 2017 leading 38 fields goals in 40 chances with big success from 50 yards or longer (6-for-7) while only playing in 14 games. In 2018, he missed another five games while making 27 of his 31 field goals with value from over 50 yards (4-for-6).
Over the last four seasons, Zuerlein missed five of his 132 extra points. His career success rate (83.5) in field goals moved closer to starting NFL kicker average after his production over the last two years (95.0 and 87.1). Even with a strong leg, he’s 28-for-48 from 50 yards or longer in his career. The Rams have a top offense making Greg a top 5 kicker option. Last season LA created 101 scoring chance. His one negative is a back injury in December of 2017 that required surgery while battling a foot issue previous season.
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