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Dynasty

32 Teams in 32 Days: Los Angeles Rams

Intro

The Los Angeles Rams are one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL and offer an abundance of fantasy options, but in 2020 their offense may look a bit different than it did in years past. They have added an intriguing chess piece in Darrell Henderson, but they have a couple of giant medical question marks related to Cooper Kupp and Todd Gurley.

 Let’s begin exploring one of the best offenses in the league.

Studs

Robert Woods 

One of the most under-appreciated players in football, Woods isn’t flashy, but he is a reliable, steady option on the field and in fantasy lineups. In 2018, Woods saw just above 8 targets per game and should see plenty of opportunity in 2019 with an offense that will score right around 30 points per game. 

Darrell Henderson 

Before we talk about Todd Gurley, let’s touch on the fact that Darrell Henderson was one of the most explosive running backs in college football history. He averaged 8.9 yards per carry in his last two years at Memphis and accumulated over 3,500 total yards in that span. Considering his college resumé and his promising athletic measurables and unique traits, it’s entirely reasonable to envision Henderson carving out a role in Sean McVay’s offense, especially with a less-than-healthy Todd Gurley battling an arthritic knee.

But even with Gurley on the field, Henderson will likely have a role in 2019, no matter Gurley’s availability. There is a reason why the Rams traded away two third-round picks and jumped up 24 spots to acquire Henderson. Of course, if Gurley does end up missing extended time, Henderson owners will be cashing in a potentially league-winning lottery ticket. The price tag for Henderson continues to rise (his ADP of 87th overall in March has shot up to 68th overall in June), but he is a player worth buying/drafting anytime he can be acquired at a relative value.

Duds

Todd Gurley

Yes, Todd Gurley is still one of the best players in the NFL. This is less about his knee and more about how the Rams will go about managing him moving forward, especially after making him the highest paid running back in the league last year. There is legitimate concern (and significant debate) over how severe his issue is, but regardless of its severity, the Rams will more than likely want to do a better job managing their best offensive weapon than they did leading up to the Super Bowl last season.

Let’s pose a question: Which makes more sense?

A) The Rams put Gurley on IR to begin the year, fully planning to bring him back after 8 weeks (formerly known as IR-Return Designation), then ease him back into action, ensuring that he is ready for the playoffs. 

Or 

B) Gurley attempts to play 16 games, taking on the risk that he may not be fully healthy for another Super Bowl run.

I am going with A. The Rams do not need Todd Gurley to make the playoffs. 

What they need is Todd Gurley healthy at the most important time of the year.

I still expect Gurley to put up low-end RB1 numbers in 2019, but the days of him being one of the most prolific scorers in fantasy football are more than likely over. 

If news eventually comes out that the Rams’ plan all along was to put him on IR, then return him later in the season to ensure that he is back when it matters, do not be shocked. 

Cooper Kupp 

I will preface this by saying, for the 2019 season we should not expect the Cooper Kupp we are used to seeing. I still very much want shares of Kupp moving forward, but dynasty owners should temper expectations for the time being. 

Is there a possibility Kupp is perfectly back to his normal self? Yes, but there is a higher probability that he is eased back into action with hopes of another run at the Super Bowl. 

Sense a theme here?

The Rams may err on the side of caution and allow Kupp more time to become fully confident in his surgically repaired ACL. It’s fair to wonder whether the Rams mismanaged Kupp’s knee sprain last season, which COULD HAVE played a role in his ACL tear, since the tear happened just four weeks after his initial injury in Kupp’s second game back on the field. But regardless of whether or not the Rams made any medical mistakes with Gurley and Kupp, they undoubtedly want to ensure that both of these vital pieces of their offense can be on the field come January and (hopefully) February. 

Breakout

Gerald Everett 

Everett was a second-round pick in 2017 and is only 25 years old entering this season. For dynasty owners, the tight end landscape after Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, George Kittle & O.J. Howard is pretty up in the air. I am by no means saying Everett is going to be a top-5 tight end, but I am willing to take a flyer on a physically impressive athlete attached to a top-3 scoring offense. Yes, Tyler Higbee is still around and will also see reps at tight end for the Rams, but Everett is the tight end to own in McVay’s offense. 

McVay hasn’t traditionally targeted the tight end position, but that could change in 2019 with a Rams offense that may look a bit different than we are used to seeing

Conclusion 

There is a lot of uncertainty with what the Los Angeles Rams will look like when their season opens in Carolina on September 8th. We know that Jared Goff, Robert Woods, and Brandin Cooks have pretty safe weekly floors, but outside of those three, we do not have a ton of clarity related to how touches and target distribution will shake out. 

In the coming months, it will be important to monitor the health of both Gurley and Kupp, as well as McVay’s usage of Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown throughout the pre-season. 

One thing I do know for certain is the Rams will score…and score A LOT. 


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