Preseason - 2021 Los Angeles Rams Outlook
WR Tutu Atwell, LAR - Dynasty Only
In 2019 and 2020, over 22 games, Atwell caught 115 of his 177 targets for 1,897 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Rams want him to stretch the field while also featuring on some quick-hitting plays close to the line of scrimmage.
Other Options: Ben Skowronek, Nsimba Webster, Triston Jackson
WR Jacob Harris, --- - Dynasty Only
A fourth-round rookie out of Central Florida, Harris huge (6-5) but has the frame and outside ability of a wide receiver. This presents some interesting mismatch possibiilities for creative head coach Sean McVay, who excels at getting his players into advantageous positions and matchups.
Harris posted a 96th-percentile burst score and a 95th percentile speed score at UCF's Pro Day and has gotten some first-team reps in training camp due to Tyler Higbee's absence. Harris has a lot of growing to do before he can make an impact at the NFL level, but the departure of Gerald Everett frees up the opportunity in McVay's offense, which utilized two tight ends on 349 snaps last season, third-most in the league.
View the 24-year-old rookie as a prospect to watch who will only be relevant in the deepest of fantsay leagues. However in dynasty, Harris's intriguing athleticism makes him an interesting name to stash-n-cash in the final round of two of rookie-only drafts.
WR DeSean Jackson, --- - Gamble (high risk)
The excitement of Jackson returning to Philly after a five-season vacation lasted a whole 67 plays in 2019 (abdomen injury) while creating a buzz after dominating in Week 1 (8/154/2). Last year, he only saw the field in five games (ankle and hamstring issues), leading to 14 catches for 236 yards and one touchdown.
Over his previous seven years in the NFL, Jackson averaged over 17.5 yards per catch in five different seasons. His last season of value came in 2016 (56/1,005/4).
TE Tyler Higbee, LAR - Solid/Safe Pick
The Rams feature tight ends in their passing game over the past two seasons. Even with success in 2020 (90/1,008/6), their opportunity dropped by over 20 percent from 2019 (110/1,168/4 on 157 targets).
Higbee won fantasy owners a ton of money in 2019 with his incredible five-game run (7/107/1, 7/116, 12/111, 9/104, and 8/84/1) to end the year. Over his first 58 games in the NFL, Higbee caught 86 passes for 884 yards and five touchdowns on 141 targets.
His sure thing price point in 2020 led to Higbee being a bust (44/521/5 on 60 targets). He gained fewer than 50 yards in 13 of his 16 games while never catching over five passes in a game. His only game of value came in Week 2 (5/54/3). Higbee finished with six catches or fewer in each of his games played.
Fantasy Outlook: With Gerald Everett off the roster, Higbee should get a natural bump in targets. His ADP (112) puts him in the top 10 conservation. I'll set his bar at 65 catches for 700 yards with five touchdowns.
Other Options: John Mundt, Brycen Hopkins, Jacob Harris (keep an eye on, reaching for deep sleeper status), Kendall Blanton
PK Matt Gay, IND - Solid/Safe Pick
The Rams signed Gay in the middle of last season. He made 14 of his 16 field goals and 16 of his extra points while converting his only chance of 50 yards or more. Over 23 games in the league, Gay made 80.4 percent of his field goal and 59 of his 64 extra points. He is 6-for-8 from long range.
Los Angeles scored 43 touchdowns in 2020 while creating 30 field goal attempts. Gay has top 10 kicking upside if he wins the starting job this summer
Los Angeles - Stud (low risk)
The Rams made a jump to 3rd in rushing yards allowed (1,460) with 12 touchdowns and 12 runs over 20 yards. Rushers gained 3.8 yards per carry with 24.3 attempts per game.
Los Angeles led the league in pass defense (3,051 yards) with 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Quarterbacks gained 6.2 yards per pass attempt. The Rams had the second-most sacks (53).
DE Aaron Donald
After delivering 20.5 sacks in 2019, Donald picked up 12.5 and 13.5 sacks over the past two seasons, with 93 combined tackles. Over his last 46 games, he downed the quarterback 46.5 times. His run defense remains top shelf while continuing to be an explosive player in the pass rush. The Rams drafted him in the first round in 2014.
DT Sebastian Joseph-Day
The Rams gave Joseph-Day 18 starts in his second year in the NFL. He worked as a rotational player on early downs, leading to one sack and a career-high in tackles (55). His run defense projects well while offering a minimal push in the pass rush.
DT A'Shawn Robinson
Los Angeles signed Robinson to a two-year contract for $17 million in March of 2020. Over five years in the NFL, he has five sacks over 66 games while grading below the league average as a run defender. Robinson missed eight games last year due to a cardio issue.
LB Justin Hollins
Hollins worked his way to a rotational pass-rushing option in his second year in the NFL. He finished with 28 tackles and three sacks while holding his own against the run. Los Angeles needs to improve on this position this season.
LB Leonard Floyd
In his first season with the Rams, Floyd filled the gaps created by Aaron Donald, leading to a career-high in sacks (10.5) and tackles (55). His run defense remains an area of strength.
LB Micah Kiser
Kiser barely played in his rookie season after getting drafted in the fifth round in 2018 while missing almost all of 2019 with an injury. In his nine starts last season, Kiser made 77 tackles with three defended passes. His missed time came from groin and knee injuries. Despite his production, he struggled in the run game.
LB Kenny Young
In his rookie season for the Ravens, Young made three starts while flashing in the pass rush. He ended the year with 51 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Young missed most of 2019 with an ankle injury. A return to health last season led to 52 tackles with one sack, one interception, two defended passes, and a touchdown. His weakness vs. the run should clear a path for Ernest Jones (third-round pick this year) to compete with Young for snaps in 2021.
CB Jalen Ramsey
Over his first three years in the NFL, Ramsey held wide receivers to a low catch rate while still allowing some big plays and minimal touchdowns. After some regression in his play in 2019, a shorter passing window for quarterbacks led to Ramsey playing at the highest level of his career in coverage. As a result, receivers gained short yards per catch with a low catch rate against him while minimizing the damage in touchdowns.
CB Darious Williams
In his third year in the league, the Rams gave Williams the most playing time of his career. He finished with 44 tackles, four interceptions, and 14 defended passes. Even with growth in his game, he did bring a risk/reward feel due to some receivers beating him for long catches.
S Taylor Rapp
Rapp played well in his rookie season after getting drafted in the second round. He posted 100 tackles, two interceptions, eight defended passes, and one touchdown. He missed seven games in 2020 due to a knee injury that led to a step back in production (44 tackles, one interception, and three defended passes. Rapp likes to keep receivers in front of him while minimizing the damage in touchdowns allowed.
He plays with power and excellent quickness. His game is built to attack the line of scrimmage while offering a hard-hitting style. Speed wide receivers challenge Rapp in the deep passing game. His first step and instincts grade well, especially in run support.
S Jordan Fuller
Fuller made 14 starts in his rookie season after LA added him in the sixth round. He played well against the run while recording 60 tackles with three interceptions and five defended passes.
Fuller is an attacking player vs. the run, but he could be a significant problem in coverage. Los Angeles will use him well off the ball as a high safety to help hide his risk in the passing game. His speed (4.67 40-yard dash at the 2020 NFL combine) ranks below the desired value needed at the safety position.
The Rams want to get after the quarterback in the pass rush, highlighted by one elite player (Aaron Donald). They have one top cornerback with a reasonable secondary. I don't see another dominating player on the roster. LA will slow down the run. This defense has a front-runner feel, with a chance to struggle against teams with an excellent offensive line and depth in their receiving corps. Fantasy owners gave the Rams the top billing in the early draft season. I don't support this message, and I wouldn't overpay for them in drafts.