The Los Angeles Rams ended the 2019 season as the #10 offense in the league, scoring 24.6 points per game. While they can hang their hat on that objectively good outcome, they spent 2018 notching 30.8 points per game. Those extra six points per game seemingly came off everywhere. Robert Woods had a historically bad performance, Todd Gurley underperformed, and Jared Goff picked up where he left off in 2018 (and not in a good way). What happened for the 2019 Los Angeles Rams, and what should we remember for our 2020 fantasy football drafts?
What to Remember from the 2019 Los Angeles Rams Season
- Like his cross-town cohort, Robert Woods carried an all-time bad luck receiving touchdown season. Like Mike Williams, Woods did not score a touchdown until week fourteen. He scored two all season and joined Williams as one of eighteen players to ever have over 1,000 receiving yards and two or fewer touchdowns in an NFL season. Only four players pulled off this feat with over 90 receptions before Woods joined their ranks, as well. This speaks to a huge regression for Woods in 2020.
- The Todd Gurley Question plagued fantasy football discussions in the lead up to the 2019 NFL season. The Rams quietly let it leak throughout the offseason that due to his chronic knee issues, that he might be on a snap count. But then again, maybe he won’t? The Rams were extremely cagey about the whole situation, and then told us exactly what they were doing right out of the gate. Todd Gurley did not receive 20 touches in a game until week eleven and had just four games where he reached that mark. Compare that to 2018 and his nine games with at least 20 touches. This goes a long way to explain why Gurley had just two games over 100 total yards and none with over 100 yards rushing. Also, chronic knee conditions generally don’t get better with age.
- Somehow, the 2018 Chiefs-Rams game broke Jared Goff until the very end of the 2019 season. After that game, including playoffs, Goff threw seven touchdowns and eight interceptions in eight games to close out the 2018 season. He picked up where he left off in 2019, as he threw for 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in the first 11 games of the season. Then, in week thirteen, he turned it around. In his last five games of 2019, Jared Goff threw 11 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. What prompted this turnaround? Well, let’s check out #4.
- Prior to week thirteen, the Rams primarily ran their tight ends as blockers. Tyler Higbee had 33 targets in 10 games. For those of you not great at math, that’s 3.3 targets per game. Then, starting in week thirteen, Sean McVay flipped over his play sheet and saw he had TE plays on the backside! Then, Higbee went nuclear. After getting 33 targets in 11 games, Higbee received 56 targets in his last five games. That’s 11.2 targets per game, or nearly 3.4x as many targets as he received per game the rest of the year. He turned that into an astonishing 138 reception, 1,670 yards, 6 touchdown pace. Higbee ended the season as TE8 on the back of this torrid performance. The Rams went 3-2 in that timeframe, but their offense was not the problem.
- Brandin Cooks suffered mightily last season. He ended up as the odd man out with Tyler Higbee’s emergence, and this came on the heels of returning from a concussion. Unfortunately for Cooks, he also notched one of the least efficient seasons in the NFL last year. Forty wide receivers notched at least 1,000 air yards. Cooks ranked 95th in RACR (Receiver Air Conversion Ratio) with a 0.58. Long story short: passing to him was one of the worst ideas last year. He hardly caught the football, and when he did, he didn’t do anything with it. Hopefully, for the Rams, he bounces back this season. Prior to last season, he posted 0.74 or better in four-of-five seasons (which is a top-20 RACR).