The Los Angeles Rams finished the 2021 season on fire, thanks to the efforts of an amazing defense, Cooper Kupp, and the newest addition to the offense: Matthew Stafford. The Rams showed what Sean McVay could do when he wasn’t saddled with one of the lesser quarterbacks in the league with Jared Goff. What can we expect from these Rams in 2022 fantasy football? Well, let’s start by what we should remember from the 2021 season.
- Cam Akers wasn’t supposed to be back until 2022. But, after a lackluster first game back from an Achilles tear against the 49ers, Akers finished with 18 touches and 95 yards in his first full game of action since coming off his injury, against the Cardinals. This is a huge turning point not just for Akers, but for the presumed recovery for Achilles injuries going forward. It seems as though either the technology has changed, or Cam Akers is just “built different.”
- Cooper Kupp ended 2021 with 114.5 yards per game, and 16 touchdowns in 17 games. While the touchdowns will inevitably regress, I’m not so sure how much the targets will change. The main beneficiary of losing Robert Woods—which some people point to as the reason why Kupp continued to produce—was, of course, Odell Beckham, Jr. Both Kupp and Van Jefferson averaged about the same number of targets with and without Woods. Kupp averaged 11.4 targets per game with Robert Woods and 11.6 targets per game without him. I feel great about Kupp and Stafford in 2022 as the WR1 if Davante Adams and Rodgers move on from Green Bay.
- Speaking of Odell Beckham, people are doing victory laps because Odell Beckham… scores touchdowns now? The knock-on Beckham in Cleveland is that he freelances too much to consistently rely on him inside of a set scheme. Because of this, the Browns and Beckham parted ways while Beckham averaged 3 catches for 39 yards per game. Now, he’s rejuvenated in Los Angeles. A new man, a changed man. In his eight regular season games with the Rams, he averaged… 3.4 catches, for 38 yards per game. He just scored touchdowns (five in eight games) so people willingly threw on blinders to his situation. He’s the same Odell Beckham, he just gets touchdowns now.
- The Los Angeles Rams continue to be one of the lightest running back target teams in the NFL since Todd Gurley left, a trend that has continued no matter who is running the rock. They passed the ball to running backs just 12.1% of the time, dead last in the league. Hopefully, that changes in 2022 with the emergence of Cam Akers, but given the wide receiver corps (and Tyler Higbee) that he plays behind, I wouldn’t count on it.
- Speaking of Tyler Higbee, I have determined that Tyler Higbee is the biggest blob tight end out of all blob tight ends. What’s the blob, you might ask? Think about TE8, think about TE14. Do you really feel that much better about TE8 than TE14? No, because the tight end is all a blob. And Tyler Higbee is the perfect encapsulation of that fact. Between 2020 and 2021, Higbee had 14 top-12 weeks, with two of them inside the top five. He also had 18 weeks outside of the top-12, a not-useful week from him. This is the epitome of the blob. So, I feel like Tyler Higbee belongs in the TE12 to TE14 range this year, just don’t… don’t try to push him higher than that. Please. Higbee is a fallback option, not your target, for 2022 fantasy football.