We've reached the final division in our 2020 Fantasy Football team previews. It's only fitting that we end a month full of football with arguably the most competitive and unpredictable division of all, the NFC West. The division has sent a representative to the Super Bowl in two consecutive years and could continue to emerge from the NFC for years to come. Let's begin with the team that made the big game just two years ago, the Los Angeles Rams.
Sean McVay's team struggled mightily last season, finishing the season 9-7 and scoring just 24.6 points per game. The offense remained the 11th highest scoring in the league but it was a steep six PPG drop from 2018.
The poor offense could be attributed to a poor offensive line, that Pro Football Focus ranked 31st last season. The Rams success this season will depend heavily on how the guys up front improve.
In the 2020 Fantasy Football Los Angeles Rams preview, we'll break down a former dominant offense will look after losing Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks.
Don't forget to check out Fantasy Six Pack's NFC West projections!
2020 Fantasy Football Los Angeles Rams Preview
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- Jared Goff
- John Wolford
Goff was one of the most disappointing QBs of 2019, finishing as QB13 thanks to poor o-line play and offensive regression as a whole. He threw just 22 touchdowns despite attempting a career-high 626 passes. Despite the down 2019, there is reason for hope going into 2020.
Goff showed marked improvement over the final five games of the season. From Weeks 1-12 Goff averaged 272 yards per game with a 1:1.1 TD:INT ratio. From Weeks 13-17, his averages shot up to 328 YPG with 2.2 touchdowns per game. Goff averaged 21.58 fantasy points per game over those five games, good for QB6. If he is able to return to his 2018 touchdown percentage (5.7%) Goff could be looking at a top 12 season.
Goff can be inconsistent but at his current rank of QB18, there is plenty of room for improvement and profit.
Akers comes into 2020 as the highest-ranked Rams running back. The second-round pick out of Florida State was one of the toughest college RBs to bring down last season. According to Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus, the 20-year-old forced a missed tackle on 32 percent of his carries and averaged four yards per carry after contact.
Henderson was decent in limited playing time last season, averaging 3.8 yards per carry on just 39 attempts. While the numbers aren't impressive on the surface, keep in mind that Gurley and Brown averaged nearly the same YPC on 223 attempts and 69 attempts respectively.
With Gurley now in Atlanta, there will be approximately 400 carries to split between Akers, Henderson, and Brown. The Rams spent their top pick in the draft on Akers, which signals he should get plenty of opportunities right off the bat. However, his poor college efficiency (5.0 YPC, 125th in the nation) is an added concern behind what could be a poor o-line. Expect Akers and Henderson to split carries early, until one can establish themselves.
- Cooper Kupp
- Robert Woods
- Josh Reynolds
- Van Jefferson
Kupp might be the most underrated elite receiver in Fantasy. Coming off an ACL tear in 2018, the 27-year-old turned in a career-best season, catching 94 passes for 1161 yards and 10 touchdowns. He finished ninth in receptions, 12th in receiving yards, and second in receiving touchdowns to finish the season at the overall WR4 in 0.5 PPR formats.
There is some concern over Kupp's usage in the second half, as his production significantly dipped during the final eight games of the season compared to the first eight (58 rec/793 yards/5 TD) vs (36/369/5). Much of the dip can be explained by McVay using 12 personnel formations, thus giving Kupp fewer snaps. However, it was a good sign that he remained a strong red-zone target. A full season as Goff's top target should once again push Kupp to a WR1 season.
Woods didn't finish far behind Kupp, catching 90 passes for 1134 yards and two touchdowns. The former Buffalo Bill finished as WR17. The difference between the two was their red-zone usage. Kupp received 22 red zone looks while Woods saw just 14 attempts inside the 20.
With Brandin Cooks out of the picture, both Woods and Kupp will likely see an uptick in both usage, making them good value at their current draft positions.
Reynolds is an intriguing late-round pick as he has shown flashes when thrust into the starting lineup over the last two seasons. The Rams offense has shown that it can support three receivers and Reynolds could slide into Cooks' spot and have a decent season if he can hold off rookie Van Jefferson.
Higbee blew the roof off his fantasy value with a fantastic finish to 2019. From Weeks 13-17 the 27-year-old finished as TE1, averaging 11.2 targets and 104 yards per game. His emergence came when fellow tight end Everett injured his knee in Week 12, subsequently seeing just one target the rest of the season.
Higbee's TE8 ranking, our staff has him TE7, puts him right between Evan Engram and Jared Cook. While the fourth-year TE did set records in 2019, owners should be careful buying into just five games of production.
Tyler Higbee also didn’t top 48 yards in 56 of his first 58 games. https://t.co/ZCOfye5ImK
— Mike Tagliere (@MikeTagliereNFL) June 12, 2020
To put it in perspective, over those five games, Higbee caught 43 passes for 522 yards. Over the past three seasons of his career (48 games), he put up 60 reception for 672 yards.
He is likely to be one of the most high-risk, high-reward players going into the season with owners risking their TE1 position on a player with just five games of useful (albeit elite) production.
The Rams have shown that the offense can be one of the best in the league under McVay. If the offensive line can continue to improve and play like they did close to the end of the 2019 season, Goff and the rest of the offense could be in for a big bounce-back season and average close to the 29 points they did from Weeks 13-17.
Visit the F6P Fantasy Football page for more advice to get you prepared for the 2020 season.
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