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2022 Fantasy Forecast: Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl and now seek to repeat led by a strong offense. @DarthDbacks has projections for this prolific offense

The Los Angeles Rams had a dominant offense in 2021. To no one’s surprise, the Rams won the Super Bowl. This was the culmination of years of building and growing under the guise of head coach Sean McVay and GM Les Snead. The Los Angeles Rams won the NFC West with a 12-5 record led by a great defense and an even better offense.

The Rams were eighth in points, ninth in yards, fifth in passing yardage, second in passing touchdowns, 28th in interceptions, 24th in rushing attempts, 25th in rushing yards, and 29th in rushing touchdowns. They are a predominantly pass-heavy team. Although with Cam Akers healthy again, their rushing workload and production will rise. Regardless, the Rams will strive towards repeating as Champions and continuing as a great offense.

Quarterbacks

Matthew Stafford

Stafford had the year everyone expected with the trade to the Rams from the Lions. He proved he is a potential Hall of Fame talent and took the Rams to the Super Bowl in his first year with the team. He won it too. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback has dealt with elbow issues in the offseason, but I’m not worried. He was ruled healthy to start the season and ready to go. Stafford plays through any injury, even a broken back. So, start him every week until the Rams rule him out.

With the talent around Stafford, he’s a QB1 this year in dynasty. He’s still in his prime at 34 and proved it last year when he threw for over 4,800 yards, 41 touchdowns, and an NFL-high 17 interceptions. However, I’ll take the interceptions with the touchdowns production. That’s why I have my projections for him remaining high. He will have 4,628 yards, 38 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions with 33 sacks, 94 rushing yards, and five fumbles. I have him down for 22.8 ppg in 6-point touchdown leagues. Buy him now at a discount for his age.

The Others

The Rams have two high-quality backup quarterbacks, John Wolford and Bryce Perkins. Perkins has more potential but is unpolished, while Wolford has started multiple games for the Rams in his career. Both are good backups in the NFL but have no reason to be anywhere near a dynasty roster.

Running Backs

Cam Akers

Akers might not be human after returning from a torn Achilles tendon in under six months. He performed pretty well behind a miserable offensive line throughout the playoffs. Even better was the fact he had multiple big catches and runs through the air. With an entire off-season of rehab and rest, there are no fears about Akers entering the season. While many are worried about his acceleration/speed, I’m not too concerned. Yes, no other running back has returned strong following a torn Achilles. However, no player has returned after only six months or less. So I think the prior cases can be slightly ignored in this sense.

Akers might not be the super explosive running back like in 2020, but I still view him as one of the better running backs in the league. The Rams will be sure to rest him and not overwork him, but I think they’ll use him plenty. The only thing holding Akers back this season will be his amount of rushes. He will be a high-end RB2 this year, but I don’t think he’ll reach the RB1 tier. I have Akers rushing 178 times for 722 yards, 11 touchdowns, 37 targets, 31 receptions, 269 yards, two touchdowns, and a fumble. He’ll play in 16 games and have a 12.9 PPR ppg average. Buy him now if you need running back depth, as he has more upside than downside, in my opinion.

Darrell Henderson

Henderson was a hero for many last season after Akers tore his Achilles. Henderson went on to have many RB1/2 weeks and helped rebuilders and contenders alike. He dealt with injuries last year, which limited him to only 12 games, but it was enough to help many teams to the playoffs. In those 12 games, Henderson had 149 rushes, 688 yards, five touchdowns, 40 targets, 29 receptions, 176 yards, and three touchdowns.

However, this year is a different season. Akers is back and healthy. The Los Angeles Rams are focused on making him their workhorse back. Henderson will still get work, but he won’t start many unless Akers is hurt. Plus, Henderson has dealt with injuries in each of his three seasons. So, it’s not likely he’ll be anything more than a handcuff player for contenders to own. In this case, he might have a couple of great weeks should Akers miss time, but he’s solely a depth player. My projections for Henderson are 159 rushes, 714 yards, four touchdowns, 21 targets, 14 receptions, and 101 yards with a touchdown. He will average 9.1 ppg PPR over his 14 games. Buy him if you have Cam Akers since he’s a valuable handcuff.

The Others

The Rams have added to their running back room to ensure they can stay healthy throughout the season. Kyren Williams is a pass-catching back that was drafted in this year’s draft. He’s their RB3 but has the potential to rise to the RB2 role if Darrell Henderson gets hurt. Still, Williams is a running back on the Rams, so he’s worth stashing in your taxi. Jake Funk isn’t. He’s their RB4 and hasn’t shown much when he has played. Unless Akers and Henderson get hurt, Funk is safe to leave on waivers.

Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp

Honestly, what can one say about Kupp? He just was the most dominant wide receiver in recent NFL history. Defenses could put two or three guys on him, and it didn’t matter. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a wide receiver outscore the entire wide receiver field by such a wide margin. Last year with Stafford makes you wonder how amazing he could’ve done if he didn’t have Goff. Kupp had 145 receptions, 191 targets, 1,947 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 18 rushing yards. He was the Offensive Player of the Year, All-Pro, and a Pro Bowler. He made many of us without words.

I see no reason for Kupp to go extremely downhill. He’s a tremendous wide receiver who’s only 29. Kupp will lead the team in targets and yards and be the main workhorse of the offense. While I don’t think he puts up another 1900+ yards, he will be one of the top guys in the NFL. My projections for Kupp are 171 targets, 129 receptions, 1,675 yards, 12 touchdowns, 28 rushing yards, and 22 ppg PPR over 17 games. He’s a contender’s dream WR1 behind Justin Jefferson and Jamarr Chase.

Allen Robinson

Robinson is replacing Robert Woods as the WR2 for the Los Angeles Rams. Robinson has more receiving ability than Woods and isn’t coming off a torn ACL in his 30s. He had a horrible last season in his final year in Chicago, but that was more due to him protecting himself from injury. It didn’t help that the coaching staff and GM were awful. The Rams wouldn’t have given Robinson a three-year deal without believing in him. Thus, I’d say buy him. He will be a terrific WR3 in dynasty for the next few years. My projections have him down for 120 targets, 77 receptions, 938 yards, ten touchdowns, and 13.6 PPR ppg. Snag ARob, as he only has more upside in this excellent Rams offense.

Van Jefferson

Jefferson returns to the Rams as their WR3, but he faces stiff pressure from the wide receivers below him like McCutcheon and Skowronek. He’s recovering from a knee injury requiring minor surgery during training camp. There’s plenty of hope he is back in time for Week 1; if not, his spot should still be secure after a great last year. The 26-year-old wide receiver put up 50 receptions on 89 targets for 802 yards and six touchdowns with 20 rushing yards. Those are massive numbers for a WR3 on a team. He was a flex play every week last season.

Jefferson will continue to be the same this season unless the Rams bring back OBJ. However, even then, Van should still get plenty of work in a pass-happy offense. While the knee injury will delay his playing ability, even if he plays in Week 1, he will still be a solid contributor. Over 15 games, I have him down for 22 rushing yards, 76 targets, 43 receptions, 655 yards, and five touchdowns. This is good enough for 9.4 ppg in PPR. Should Kupp or Robinson miss any time, Jefferson immediately becomes a WR2 in fantasy football. Be sure to hold onto him or acquire him for some key wide receiver depth on your dynasty team.

The Others

The Rams have plenty of wide receiver depth on their team. Ben Skowronek is an excellent WR4 though he has a tiny path to fantasy relevancy without injuries to the top-three guys. The same is valid for rookie standout Lance McCutcheon, who exploded this preseason. Time will tell if he ever gets a real opportunity. Meanwhile, Tutu Atwell is still hanging around but can be safely left off dynasty rosters. He’s another Andy Isabella.

Tight Ends

Tyler Higbee

Higbee has been with the Rams for a long time. He experienced the lows with bad head coaching and the highs with McVay. Higbee is a tight end with the potential to score many points in any given week, but he’s not proven reliable. This is because the Rams have so many weapons. That’s good for the Los Angeles Rams but not good if you have Higbee in dynasty. Last year, he had 85 targets, 61 receptions, 560 yards, and five touchdowns. Solid numbers, but not TE1 numbers that you would like from a tight end on an explosive offense. Unfortunately, I’m not sure he’ll ever be a reliable tight end every week, but he’s a great depth player. Higbee will give you adequate numbers on bye weeks and fill in nicely for any injuries.

That’s why he should continue to be on your dynasty roster this year and for the future. He’s entering his age-29 season. Don’t be surprised to see him put up similar numbers to last year since the Rams’ offense hasn’t changed much. My projections for Higbee in 2022 are for him to see 83 targets, 60 receptions, 598 yards, and five touchdowns over 15 games which equals 10.0 PPR ppg. Not bad numbers, but again, not a tight end that you want to rely on every week.

The Others

The Los Angeles Rams don’t have much tight end depth. Jacob Harris is on the practice squad, meaning that Brycen Hopkins is the lone backup to Higbee. Hopkins has potential and is very similar to Higbee. However, he will not do anything in fantasy without an injury to Higbee. He’s safe to leave on waivers.

Do you want to become the best dynasty player you can be? Be sure to use my promo code “Darth” for 15% OFF your subscription to Dynasty Nerds! It makes it only three dollars or so! Connect with me on Twitter @DarthDbacks. I love to talk football, baseball, movies, shows, Star Wars, and Marvel, and interact with the fantasy football community. For more articles of mine, click here.

As always, May the Force be with You…

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