2020 Preview: Los Angeles Rams


Robert Woods or Cooper Kupp: Who To Target in 2020 (Fantasy ...

The 2020 NFL Season is nearly upon us, and in anticipation of the new season we’ll be previewing the action team-by-team, using the draft order from last season. The previews will kick off with the Bengals and run right through the reigning champion Chiefs. Come back each day to check out your favorite team. All ADP and Rankings reflect PPR scoring. 2020 Projections are based on a 12-team league (i.e. WR1 (Top 12), WR2 (13-24), WR3 (25-36)).

            The Los Angeles Rams reached the pinnacle in 2018, advancing all the way to the Super Bowl. But along the way star running back Todd Gurley developed a gimpy knee and the team struggled to find any offense against the Patriots in the big game. The Rams lost the Super Bowl, but returning the star-studded core figured to challenge again in 2019.

            But it was a different season for the Rams as they faced challenges in the NFC and in their own division. The 49ers and Seahawks rose to the top, the Rams slipped to 9-7 and were the last team eliminated from the playoffs. Worse than that, the team looked like its window might have closed. Now, as they move into their new stadium, the question is if Sean McVay can find some magic again in 2020.

Off-Season Changes

            The Rams bid farewell to a couple high-profile stars on offense this off-season. The team dealt Brandin Cooks to the Texans and released Gurley, who signed with the Atlanta Falcons. That leaves plenty of targets and carries to be re-distributed in 2020. In the draft, the Rams snagged Florida receiver Van Jefferson, who has the potential to join the mix at receiver behind Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.

            To help carry the load in the backfield, the Rams snagged Florida State running back Cam Akers with their first pick in the Second Round. In three years at FSU, Akers rushed for 2,875 yards and 27 TDs. That included 1,144 yards and 14 TDs in 2019. Akers is also a duel threat, catching 30 passes for 225 yards and four TDs in 2019 as well.

Fantasy Impact

            The Rams are led by quarterback Jared Goff. At times he’s struggled in big games, but he’s been a reliable performer for fantasy. He was QB13 in 2019 and should be a solid high-end QB2 in 2020. In the backfield, the question is what the split will be between the rookie Akers, second year back Darrell Henderson and veteran Malcolm Brown. I think all three will play, and the split between Akers and Henderson will be closer than others believe. I like Henderson, a third-round pick in 2018, and think he could lead the backfield and be a low-end RB3. I think Akers ends up an RB4.

            Among receivers, while the team lost Cooks they have a pair of aces in Kupp and Woods. Kupp led the team with 94 receptions for 1,161 yards and 10 TDs, while Woods snagged 90 receptions for 1,134 yards and two TDs. Kupp finished as WR4 while Woods was WR14. Kupp should be a low-end WR1 in 2020 while Woods is a WR2. Josh Reynolds and Jefferson will compete for the third receiver role, but I don’t think either will be fantasy relevant. At tight end the Rams still have Gerald Everett, but it’s Tyler Higbee that is key for fantasy. He ended 2019 on a tear, recording four 100-yard games in his last five, and 84 yards on eight receptions in his finale. I like Higbee in 2020 and think he found a real connection with Goff in this offense. I think he’s a low-end TE1 for fantasy.

Prediction

            The Rams lost a couple big names, but they still have plenty of talent on offense. They’re in a tough division and the NFC has plenty of contending teams. The Rams’ Super Bowl window might be in a precarious spot, but it’s hard to imagine this team falling to .500 or below, meaning they should be in the hunt for a playoff spot until the end at the very least.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.

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