As we inch closer to opening day of the NFL season, we want to prepare you for your fantasy football drafts. That process begins with our team previews, where we’ll break down each team’s offense while providing players we’re targeting and, in some cases, avoiding.
>> READ: Rams Season Preview from Mike Martz
Rams Fantasy Football Preview
Head Coach: Sean McVay (seventh season as Rams HC)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike LaFleur (first season as Rams OC)
Key Offensive Additions:
Key Offensive Departures:
Key Offensive Rookies:
Points Per Game: 18.1 (27th)
Passing Yards: 182.8 (27th)
Rushing Yards: 97.7 (27th)
Vacated Targets: 92 (25th)
Pass: 62 percent Run: 38 percent
OL Rank: 32nd
It’s been a tale of two seasons for Matthew Stafford as a Ram. In 2021, Stafford led the Rams to a Super Bowl win while finishing 11th among quarterbacks with 20.4 fantasy points per game. He was even in the MVP hunt into the final weeks of that season.
After being on top of the world in 2021, last year was not kind to Stafford and the Rams. Stafford only played in nine games, finishing with just 12.9 fantasy points per game. That resulted in a 31st-place finish among quarterbacks who played at least six contests.
Given the volatility of the Rams’ offensive line, a reasonable expectation is that Stafford lands somewhere between those two extremes this season. Outside of superflex or best ball, consider Stafford a high-end, matchup-based streaming option in most leagues.
Cam Akers was a promising prospect whose career was derailed by an Achilles injury. Toward the end of 2022, Akers finally began putting it all together. In the season’s final six games, he averaged 17 carries, 85 rushing yards, two targets and 17.7 fantasy points per game (fifth-best over that stretch). He played at least 70 percent of the snaps in five of those six, too.
There is no real competition behind Akers, so it looks like he’ll get some version of that bell cow role. Unfortunately, the Rams have one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines, so he will need all the volume to compensate for the lack of efficiency.
Kyren Williams is a small, slow pass-catching back who should get one to three targets per game, along with a handful of carries. He’s not the type of running back who will ever be highly fantasy-relevant.
The team drafted Zach Evans in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft. He’s a talented runner with a lengthy injury history who offers nothing in the receiving game. He likely gets carries ahead of Williams when Akers needs a break and is an interesting final-round pick in deep fantasy leagues.
Journeyman Royce Freeman is on this roster and has a complete skill set compared with Williams and Evans. The once-promising prospect hasn’t topped 66 touches in a season since 2019, though, and can remain on waivers.
Should Akers go down, a player such as Freeman holds more value than Williams and Evans due to his three-down skill set.
Wide Receivers, Tight Ends
Cooper Kupp leads the Rams’ wide receiver corps and has proven to be one of the most dominant receivers in the league. Kupp has consistently been a top performer in fantasy football and is expected to continue his success if he can overcome the injury he recently suffered.
He puts up impressive numbers even with a limited number of games played. In 2022, Kupp was tied for seventh in games with more than 100 yards receiving despite only playing eight full games.
He managed to average 24.6 PPR fantasy points per game in games with Stafford. No other receiver averaged more than 22 fantasy points per game last year.
Van Jefferson is expected to fill the Rams’ No. 2 wide receiver role. While Jefferson is a talented player, he will not be a target in fantasy formats. Jefferson’s role will be to clear things up for Kupp while occasionally winning deep.
TE Tyler Higbee is set to be the Rams’ second-leading target earner. Higbee developed a strong connection with Stafford and had a more than 20 percent target share last year. That bodes well for Higbee’s fantasy outlook, making him an attractive late-round tight end target with the potential to provide consistent production throughout the season.
Ian Miller: Buy Kupp (WR16)
Kupp became just the sixth wide receiver to post multiple 30 percent or higher target share seasons in their career. He joins A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown and Davante Adams. Kupp has been the WR1 overall in back-to-back years and is now priced as WR16.
Rams We’re Targeting or Avoiding in Fantasy Football
Josh Larky: Target Higbee.
Ryan Reynolds: Target Kupp, Higbee.
Jordan Vanek: Target Kupp, Higbee.
Other Fantasy Previews
Follow our Team on Twitter
Josh Larky: @JLarkyTweets
Ryan Reynolds: @RyanReynoldsNFL
Jordan Vanek: @JordanVanekDFS
Ian Miller: @Dynasty_IM