USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Los Angeles Rams 2021 Fantasy Football Preview

The addition of Matthew Stafford brings a lot of sneaky value to the Rams receiving core. Here's a breakdown of the roster for fantasy this season.

It has been a long time since the Super Bowl, and remembering exactly how things left off last year can be a challenge. So, I’ll be writing up a fantasy preview for each NFL team to give us a quick refresher on what happened last year, and what changes took place in the offseason. All fantasy stats will be in ESPN scoring format unless otherwise noted. 

If I missed any change or left out any big notes, throw them down in the comments for me!

What Did They Do Last Year

The Rams went 10-6 during the regular season, and they went on to knock the Seattle Seahawks out of the playoffs on Wild Card weekend. Ultimately LA would lose to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round to end their season.

Quarterback
YearOVR
Rank
PlayerGCOMPATTYDSTDINTATTYDSTDFFPFFP/G
202020Jared Goff153705523,951201351994237.915.9
201913Jared Goff163946264,638221633402247.515.5
20187Jared Goff1636456146883212431082306.319.1
201712Jared Goff152974783,80928728511255.517

The Rams offense was good but not great, and it looks like the team brass believes that was because of some lackluster QB play out of Jared Goff. The Rams traded two first-round picks, a late third, and Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford this offseason. Los Angeles, in my view, made out like bandits in this trade. Not only did the Rams get a huge upgrade at QB, they offloaded Jared Goff’s heinous deal.

Goff would count $30 million in dead cap money if cut before the 2022 season, and he’d cost $10 million in dead cap if cut before the 2023 season. 

Meanwhile, the Rams get Stafford for two years at an average of $21.5 million a season. 

Breakout season incoming for Stafford. He’ll likely end up as a late-round QB after the young, rushing quarterbacks are long gone. Stafford could easily finish inside the top five, giving you a week in, week out edge at quarterback. 

Wide Receivers
PPR
Rank
STD RankPlayerGTGTRECYDSTDSTD PTSSTD PTS/GPPR PTSPPR PTS/G
1213Robert Woods16130909366155.19.7245.115.32
2634Cooper Kupp15125929743116.77.8208.713.91
6164Josh Reynolds168152618272.34.5124.37.77
119121Van Jefferson133119220127.92.146.93.61
224224Nsimba Webster10000-2-2-2-2

While the nauseating wave of the Sean-McVay-the-Boy-Wonder story has, thankfully, subsided, McVay is at least a talented play caller. Matt Stafford is undoubtedly a giant upgrade at quarterback. We should all be very excited at the absolute lack of hype surrounding the Rams pass catchers. Values abound in LA. 

I’ll call out here that Robert Woods ended up with 155 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on 24 attempts last year. While these aren’t huge numbers, Woods has consistently rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown with Sean McVay calling the shots. 

Running Backs
PPR RankSTD RankPlayerGATTYDSTDTGTRECYDSTDSTD PTSSTD PTS/GPPR PTSPPR PTS/G
3631Darrell Henderson15138625524161591114.47.6130.48.69
4542Cam Akers1114562521411123190.88.3101.89.25
4345Malcolm Brown1610141953423162086.15.4109.16.82

Cam Akers had a hard time getting on the field in his rookie campaign after being selected at pick 52, the Rams first pick in the 2020 draft. As the season wore on, Akers began to show why he was a steal of a selection late in the second round. It is hard to believe Akers will not consolidate this potent Rams rushing attack.

Akers should be ranked like the undisputed bell-cow back on an explosive offense that he is.

Tight End
PPR
Rank
STD RankPlayerGTGTRECYDSTDSTD PTSSTD PTS/GPPR PTSPPR PTS/G
1817Tyler Higbee156044521582.25.5126.28.41
2426Gerald Everett156141417151.93.592.96.19
9089Johnny Mundt2445205.22.69.24.6

Jared Goff’s Rams traditionally targeted a talented duo of tight ends in Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett. However, Matthew Stafford never targeted Eric Ebron heavily or really seemed to lean on any of his tight ends. TJ Hockenson, though, saw 101 targets in 2020 with Stafford. 

With Everett now playing for the Seattle Seahawks, Higbee becomes a one of the dozen or so TE targets for folks passing on Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, and George Kittle. 

2021 Draft

Since drafting Jared Goff No. 1 overall in 2016, the Rams have not selected in the first round. The Rams will not have a first round pick in 2022 as of now, at least. The Rams took Tutu Atwell with the 57th pick of the draft. Atwell is listed as 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds. Yikes. 

The Schedule

Leaning on the word of the great Warren Sharp of SharpFootballAnalysis.com (you should really follow that link), the Rams have a middle of the road schedule that is projected to start a little tougher than it finishes. Not a huge plus but nothing I’m worried about either. 

Additional Notes

The Rams were rated as the top defense in 2020 by Pro Football Focus, but defensive coordinator Brandon Staley has moved on to a head coaching position with the Los Angeles Chargers. 

DeSean Jackson will try to add a deep threat to an otherwise solid receiver corps. And, Leonard Floyd will look to add some pass rush as offenses still have to game plan around Aaron Donald.  

What Does It All Mean?!?! (AKA – Bold predictions)

Akers is cleared for takeoff, and I expect he’ll sneak in to the back half of the first round in a lot of drafts. I’d be surprised if he finishes outside the top 10 at RB. Stafford and his pass catchers are going to be great, later round picks. 

_____

Thanks to FFToday.com for hosting such great stats info!

Thanks to TheHuddle.com for their great Coaching Change Tracker