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2023 Fantasy Football Preview: Los Angeles Rams

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Player Outlooks (2023)


QB Matthew Stafford: There are said to be “no limitations” on Stafford, but dealing with a spinal contusion last year resulted in speculation about retirement for the 35-year-old, and the status of the Los Angeles roster—and their ability to be competitive in 2023—is a definite concern. On the bright side, Sean McVay is a brilliant offensive mind that might not accept another losing season, and the Rams having issues on defense could lead to a bunch of throwing for Stafford with Cooper Kupp back in the lineup after being shut down for injuries of his own last year. He should be a borderline top-20 option.


QB Stetson Bennett: Rams general manager Les Snead zeroed in on Bennett in the draft, and the age/health of Stafford could realistically get him on the field as a rookie. If so, Bennett would carry QB2 appeal if he were to draw starts as a confident, mobile, and accurate quarterback that’s already drawn strong reviews for his work during OTAs.


RB Cam Akers: The season turnaround for Akers last year was perhaps the biggest surprise of 2022, as he went from looking extremely sluggish in the opener while handling three carries for zero yards (on 12 snaps) to eventually—after being a healthy inactive amidst a trade request—re-emerging as the workhorse with per-game averages of 17.3 carries, 101.8 total yards, and 1.0 touchdown over his final six outings. Akers has been talked up as a focal point of the offense this offseason, and he should be a strong RB2 with high-end RB2 potential.


RB Sony Michel: Michel was the leading rusher for Los Angeles during their Super Bowl campaign two years ago, and he’s also a very reliable pass protector—which is reason enough to get snaps. The potential handcuff and/or deeper FLEX value will be determined by the development of Kyren Williams and rookie Zach Evans, but Michel has proven production in McVay’s offense.


RB Kyren Williams: The early-September surge for the then-rookie Williams leading up to last year’s opener was pretty wild looking back on it, but the former Notre Dame star suffered a high-ankle sprain on special teams that prevented him from seeing any offensive snaps. The addition of Michel impacts his outlook for 2023, but it’s notable that McVay talked up Williams by saying he’s “loved what [he] has done” in between praises of Akers earlier this offseason. Keep an eye on him in PPR leagues in particular.


RB Zach Evans: The Rams wanted to be disciplined with their draft picks this year as they reshape the roster, so moving up for Evans—even if it was in the sixth round—is something fantasy owners should keep in mind. A former five-star recruit, Evans can earn a role with a strong summer, though it’s interesting that Michel was signed after getting a look at the backfield in OTAs.


WR Cooper Kupp: Kupp is a year removed from catching 145 passes for 1,947 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns, and he should remain a top-flight WR1 entering his age-30 season for a Rams team could have some defensive issues behind Aaron Donald. Before a high-ankle sprain ended his 2022 season, Kupp was on pace for a 153/1,728/13 line in eight games—and the rate at which Matthew Stafford continued locking onto him almost became a joke. You can be sure Kupp will be fed targets again, and he should be a first-round lock in most leagues.


WR Van Jefferson: A tricky knee issue led to Jefferson being out until the day before Halloween last year, and he didn’t end up catching his first pass of the season until a couple of weeks later. However, the lost season shouldn’t be a concern moving forward, as Jefferson will slide up the depth chart as the no-doubt No. 2 wideout behind Kupp for the first time, and the lack of production in 2022 shouldn’t cloud the fact that he closed last season with at least 94% of the offensive snaps played in each of the final six games. Jefferson is an underrated late-round selection.


WR Tutu Atwell: Atwell is another player that has been talked up this offseason, and he should have an expanded role with downfield ability combined with the potential for more designed touches now that Brandon Powell is gone. That said, Atwell’s contributions will likely make him a better real-life player than fantasy option, and LA could have a rotating cast of characters behind Kupp.


WR Ben Skowronek: By his own admission, Skowronek is essentially a part-time fullback for the Rams, but he had 39 receptions for 376 yards and started 11 games last season due to depth and injury issues on the offense. Although he caught seven-of-eight targets for 89 yards in his final full game of 2022, fantasy owners probably shouldn’t count on Skowronek to return much fantasy value.


WR Puka Nacua: If there is a target that will emerge as a productive full-time No. 3 wideout behind Kupp and Jefferson, Nacua would seem to be the favorite with some craftiness as a route runner and good size at six-foot-one. Plus, the fifth-round rookie can handle gadget touches after 25 carries for 209 yards and five scores in his final season at BYU.


WRs Tyler Johnson and Demarcus Robinson: Johnson and Robinson are also options to earn a decent role, as both guys have flashed in previous stops. For Johnson, he made some clutch plays for the Bucs during their Super Bowl season, and Robinson had a memorable 6/172/2 line in a win over the Raiders when he was with the Chiefs in 2019.


TE Tyler Higbee: Higbee—along with the Rams as a team—struggled for much of the 2022 season, but he quietly saw a career-high 108 targets and exploded with a 9/94/2 line on Christmas Day to come through for those who stuck with him in the fantasy playoffs. As the clear starter on an offense that lacks proven options behind Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson, fantasy owners should consider Higbee as a TE2 play—though the modest upside might make others a priority with per-game averages of 34.7, 37.3, and 36.5 receiving yards over the past three years.


TE Hunter Long: Los Angeles clearly sees something in Long after wanting him included in the trade sending Jalen Ramsey to Miami, but he’s seen just three career targets after being selected in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Overall, the size (six-foot-five) and skillset can make Long a factor in scoring territory playing for a top offensive mind in McVay.


TE Brycen Hopkins: Hopkins was included in the Christmas Day barrage for the Rams by catching all three of his targets for 57 yards to support the damage done by Tyler Higbee, and we shouldn’t forget his play in Super Bowl LVI with four receptions (on four targets) for 47 yards. If Higbee were to ever miss time, the play styles of Long and Hopkins would complement each other well.


Other Notes


Best IDP value: S Jordan Fuller

On paper, the depth chart for the LA defense appears to be very shaky on the backend, particularly at cornerback. But as long as Aaron Donald is causing havoc up front, there will be some errant throws that the secondary can take advantage of, and Fuller started 28-of-28 appearances to begin his career before injury issues limited him to three games in 2022. The former Ohio State standout can reestablish himself in a contract year.


Stat to know (via draft guide)

Despite being on pace for a 153/1,728/13 line in eight healthy games last season, Cooper Kupp saw his yards per reception drop from 13.4 to 10.8 and yards per target drop from 10.2 to 8.3 compared to his “triple crown” campaign in 2021.