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How underrated is Robert Woods?

The Rams receiver has been overlooked in fantasy drafts — and the real world

NFL: JUL 31 Los Angeles Rams Training Camp Photo by Icon Sportswire

There is a lot to like about Cooper Kupp, whose 288 catches and 3,570 yards with 24 touchdowns ranks second among all wide receivers in the 2017 draft class, behind only JuJu Smith-Schuster. That’s saying a lot for a player who was the seventh receiver off of the board, in a year when three wideouts went in the top-10.

There is also a lot of interest and hype around 34-year-old DeSean Jackson, the three-time Pro Bowl veteran who seems to be a threat to score at any given moment when his team has the ball. Jackson’s presence on the LA Rams could have easily been an afterthought this fall, but he’s starred in camp and looks set to give Sean McVay the same threat that he had during their three years together in Washington.

And people can’t help but be excited for young players who are more potential than production, especially when they’re considered “high draft picks.” While being the 57th overall pick isn’t necessarily high for every franchise, it has made Van Jefferson and Tutu Atwell among the top selections by the Rams during the McVay era.

That right there could be four receivers enough for most teams — but in LA, it could just be four receivers who are waiting for their turn behind Robert Woods.

On Monday, I read an article at CBS Sports about fantasy football (something I don’t tend to do, given that fantasy football is for devils with idle hands) and Chris Towers listed Robert Woods as the wide receiver he is drafting most often so far this year.

3. Which WR have you been drafting the most of so far?

Robert Woods. I love wide receivers who can score in a bunch of different ways, and Woods is one of the most versatile out there. He’s an excellent playmaker with the ball in his hands, and the Rams love to scheme stuff up for him in the rushing game and in the short areas of the field, however, he also figures to be a better deep-ball receiver with Matthew Stafford under center. I usually snag him as my No. 2 WR, but he’s a top-12 guy for me.

Over the last three seasons, Woods has averaged 135 targets, 91 receptions, 1,120 yards, and five touchdowns while playing with quarterback Jared Goff.

In 2021, Woods will see a change in quarterback and that could unlock some of the deep threat and long-play ability that helped Woods average 9.4 yards per target in 2018. That number dipped to 8.2 in 2019, then 7.3 in 2020. As the game got shorter for Goff, Woods continued to see the same number of targets, but his production kept going down by no fault of his own. Woods also saw a career-high 24 rush attempts in 2020 and the loss of Cam Akers could potentially mean that McVay will continue to utilize the talents of his receiver as a runner in 2021.

Everybody knows about Robert Woods, but with so many (good) distractions on the Rams over the last four years, is it possible that people don’t really know about Robert Woods?

He’ll get another chance to showcase his talents to the world this season and he could be primed for a career year given those same distractions that have developed around him over the last 18 months.