top of page

Los Angeles Rams Fantasy Football Preview

Join the email list so you don't miss the next preview (or anything else)!

👆 if you set fantasy football lineups (or make player prop bets), then you need to see this 👆

Years of terrific coaching and savvy roster management finally culminated in a Lombardi Trophy for the Los Angles Rams last season. They went "all in" on their 2021 campaign, bringing over the likes of Matthew Stafford, Von Miller and Odell Beckham, among others, and it resulted in a Super Bowl victory over the upstart Cincinnati Bengals.

As is usually the case with a Sean McVay offense, the Rams were an exciting offense for fantasy football purposes, and that doesn't figure to change any time in the near future.

In 5 years as the boss of the Rams, McVay's offenses have finished 1st (2017), 2nd (2018), 11th (2019), 22nd (2020) and 7th (last year) in scoring, and 10th, 2nd, 7th, 11th and 9th in offensive yards.

After embracing a run-heavy scheme behind Todd Gurley in his first two seasons as the Rams coach—those Rams finished 9th and 8th in rushing attempts but 24th and 14th in passing attempts—McVay's Rams seem to have morphed into a pass-heavy unit in the last three years, finishing 3rd, 12th and 10th in passing attempts but 18th, 7th and 23rd in rushing attempts.

That said, take a deeper dive into the "why" and the story somewhat tells itself.

In his prime in 2017 (McVay's first year) and 2018, Todd Gurley racked up an absurd 343 touches (64 catches on 87 targets), 2093 yards and 19 TDs in 2017, and 315 touches (59 catches on 81 targets), 1831 yards and 21 TDs in 18.

So yeah; you're gonna run the ball and get the pigskin to your studly workhorse.

But then Gurley's knees fell off in 2019 and he left for Atlanta in 2020, never to be heard from again and leaving McVay and the Rams with a committee of Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson and rookie Cam Akers.

So yeah; a shift to a heavier pass approach made sense.

And then they went and got Matthew Stafford to feed Cooper Kupp to a historic season while Cam Akers recovered from a torn Achilles and Henderson + Sony Michel tried to hold down the fort.

So yeah; staying pass-heavy made a ton of sense.

TLDR? McVay assesses his talent and schemes around it accordingly.

And with that in mind, I'd expect another pass-heavy approach in 2022, especially after the Rams went out to get Allen Robinson.

Join the email list so you don't miss the next preview (or anything else)!

After racking up 398 targets between 2018 and 2020 (he was hurt half of last season), Robert Woods skipped town for Tennessee, leaving question marks about who would fill the WR 2 role in LA, especially since Odell Beckham didn't resign (and remains unsigned).

Enter 29 year old Allen Robinson, the former 1,400 yard and 14 TD wide receiver who spent the last 4 years chasing passes from Mitchell Trubisky and Justin Fields in Chicago. Matthew Stafford instantly becomes the best QB that Robinson has ever played with in his career, and Rams fans and fantasy managers alike should be thrilled about this pairing (even if in the Packer fan in me is still sad he didn't land in Green Bay).

Expect another pass heavy approach with Allen Robinson and—obviously—Cooper Kupp as the main beneficiaries in 2022.

Join the email list so you don't miss the next preview (or anything else)!

Matthew Stafford 📈

2021 fantasy points: 312.22 (QB 7) - 2021 fantasy points per game: 19.5 (QB 10)

12 seasons in Detroit, 0 playoff wins.

1 season out of Detroit, 1 Super Bowl.

Ribbing aside, 34-year-old Matthew Stafford enjoyed the best season (and 2nd best statistical season) of his career in his first campaign with the LA Rams last year. In 16 fantasy football games, he finished 8th in the NFL in passing attempts (569), 2nd in yards (4648) and 2nd in passing TDs (38).

He was one of the safer options in fantasy football, registering 20 or more fantasy football points in 50% of his games (for comparison, Justin Herbert was also 50%, Tom Brady was 56.25%, Russell Wilson was 38.46%, Lamar Jackson was 33.33% and Aaron Rodgers was 60%).

The ceiling was meh, hitting 25 fantasy points in 19% of his games but never once hitting 30 (which he hasn't done once in at least his last 55 fantasy football games).

Now this offseason there's been reports of a lingering elbow issue in Stafford's throwing arm, leading load management that prevented Stafford from throwing a single football all offseason until early August. on the bright side, NBC Sports' Peter King did say that Stafford's "zip on the ball was very good" during a recent throwing session.

Ultimately, I'm proceeding with cautious optimism and Stafford remains one of my favorite late(ish) round QBs as one of the last of the QB1s to go.

Fantasy Drafts 👍: Stafford is currently the QB 12 around pick 91 (mid 8th round), drafted within the vicinity of Aaron Rodgers, DeAndre Hopkins, Rashaad Penny, DeVonta Smith, Zach Erz, Rashod Bateman, Tyler Lockett, Chase Edmonds, Brandon Aiyuk, Drake London and Dawson Knox.

If you have yet to take a QB, this is probably the time. If you already have, you can ignore Stafford and instead focus on Bateman, Edmonds or Aiyuk.

Draft Kits: I have Stafford in Tier 1C of my fantasy football Draft Kits with Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Dak Prescott and more.

Dynasty Leagues: Entering his age 34 season, Stafford remains a hold for dynasty leaguers. He is, perhaps, a sell-high candidate if this elbow issue proves to be chronic.

Join the email list so you don't miss the next preview (or anything else)!

Cam Akers 📉 and Darrell Henderson ↔️

Cam Akers was a shocking inspiration last season, tearing his Achilles in July—a devastating blow for excited fantasy footballers and the worst injury historically for RBs to try and recover from—and somehow returning for week 18.

In his absence, Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel split the backfield, combining for 385 touches (just 49 catches on 69 targets...nice), 1788 scrimmage yards and 13 TDs. Individually, Henderson landed as the RB 25 in PPR points (163.4) and RB 21 in per-game average (13.6), and Michel was the RB 32 in PPR points (140.4) and RB 47 in per-game average (8.8).

For most of the season, Henderson was a mostly reliable-if-uninspiring RB 2/3, registering 15 or more PPR points in a solid 58.3% of his games (for comparison, Joe Mixon scored 15 or more PPR points in just 50% of his contests). The ceiling was meh, hitting 20 in 16.7% of his games but never hitting 25.

In a word, Henderson and Michel were "solid" while filling in for Akers who, again, was an inspiration to even make it back on the football field mere months after Achilles surgery; unheard of.

That said, inspiring as it was that Akers was on the field, less inspiring was how he looked when watching him play, not at all a surprise considering no RB has ever returned from a torn Achilles without looking like a shell of themselves. History is not on Akers' side there.

Still, he's just 23 years old and now an entire season removed from the injury, providing hope, if nothing else, that he can regain the form that had people (me...but also others) drafting him in the first round before his injury last season.

Michel left for greener pastures (get it? Cuz the Dolphins where green? Kind of...), leaving the backfield to Akers and Henderson. In mid-August it was reported by The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue that Akers and Henderson were splitting "first-team reps pretty evenly," which makes sense considering the seriousness of Akers' injury and Henderson's effectiveness when filling in for him last season.

Rodrigue did continue to say "I would place a safer bet on Akers' emergence long term as the lead, but a lot of that is based on Henderson's health history. Both running backs look sharp in the passing game, where I expect their usage to increase."

Greater usage in the passing game would unlock both their floor and their upside after the Rams finished 23rd in rushing attempts, 25th in rushing yards and 29th in rushing TDs last season.

Ultimately, I'm in the same boat as Rodrigue; expecting a timeshare between Henderson and Akers to start the season with the likelihood that Akers separates himself as the season goes on.

That said, I've taken very little of Cam Akers in the dreaded RB dead zone while I think Henderson makes for a mighty fine late round RB pick.

Cam Akers in Fantasy Drafts 👎: Akers is currently the RB 18 drafted around pick 38 (early 4th round) within the vicinity of Patrick Mahomes, Tee Higgins, Kyle Pitts, Michael Pittman, Justin Herbert, David Montgomery, Diontae Johnson, George Kittle, Terry McLaurin, Jaylen Waddle, Travis Etienne and DJ Moore. While Akers is my favorite RB in that range and I acknowledge he has big upside, I'm letting someone else take the risk/timeshare and soaking up the high-quality WRs in this range.

Darrell Henderson in Fantasy Drafts 👍: Henderson is currently the RB 43 drafted around pick 136 (early 12th round) within the vicinity of Alexander Mattison, Tyler Boyd, Russell Gage, Cole Kmet, Evan McPherson, Cowboys DEF, Saints DEF, Daniel Carlson, Colts DEF, Harrison Butker, 49ers DEF, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Fields, Skyy Moore, Nyheim Hines and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Henderson is one of my favorite late-round RB picks in this range.

Draft Kits: I have Akers in Tier 2A of my fantasy football Draft Kits with James Conner, David Montgomery, Javonte Williams and more. I have Henderson in Tier 3A with Kenneth Gainwell, James Robinson, Michael Carter and more.

Dynasty Leagues: Cam Akers is still just 23 and a lot of the shine has worn off after the Achilles injury (and how he looked in the playoffs). If you think he can get back to his pre-injury form—which has literally never been done before—then there's a buy low window here. Henderson has very low dynasty value these days and we've already seen who he is when given the chance to be the guy. He's just a hold right now.

Join the email list so you don't miss the next preview (or anything else)!

Cooper Kupp 📈

2018 PPR points per game: 16.9 (WR 14)

2019 PPR points: 270.5 (WR 4) - PPR points per game: 19.6 (WR 7)

2020 PPR points: 210.7 (WR 26) - PPR points per game: 14 (WR 29)

2021 (first year with Stafford) PPR points: 412.9 (WR 1) - PPR points per game: 25.8 (WR 1)

Do I even need to say anything about Cooper Kupp? The guy went berserk last season, garnering 184 targets (most by far), 138 catches (most by far), 1829 yards (most by far) and 15 TDs (most by 2) in 16 fantasy football games.

He never once landed under 10 PPR points, he hit 15 in 93.75% of his games, 20 in 81.25% and 30 in a ridiculous 37.5% of his games last year.

TLDR: It was one of the greatest statistical seasons a wide receiver has ever posted.