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Rams Bye Week: Fantasy Check-In

Some fantasy thoughts during the Rams’ much needed break.

Super Bowl Champion LA Rams hold mini-camp Photo by David Crane/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

From a fantasy standpoint (and an NFL standpoint) the Los Angeles Rams have not been as exciting as many had hoped. Cooper Kupp has stood out as a player who can be used throughout the rest of the season, maybe Tyler Higbee, and it will be interesting to see if Darrell Henderson can keep the starting role. Other than that, who else has shown that they can provide the consistent fantasy performances you’ll need to bring home a championship?

There are a few ways to envision this offense improving as the season goes on. After the bye week, the Rams get some players back and should get healthier. The Rams could also trade for someone new and the offense could become more effective, or current minor role players on the offense could improve and become key starters.

There are also a few ways to envision this offense getting worse. The Rams could continue to lose key starters/players. The Rams could bring back players from injury but those same players could underperform and/or get hurt again. The Rams could trade for (or sign a free agent) player, and it might not have the impact (or excitement) that Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. brought last year. Regardless of how our Rams do in real football, the fantasy life goes on. As you well know, I don’t have all the answers (if any), but hopefully I can provide some talking points for you to consider as the fantasy season marches on.

Matthew Stafford, QB

At the start of the season, many of us (including me) assumed that year two of the Stafford and Sean McVay era would result in even more fireworks than last year - but that really hasn’t been the case. As the Rams enter their bye week, they rank 26th in total offense after six games. Stafford has thrown six touchdowns and eight interceptions. Last season, through six games, Stafford had thrown 19 touchdowns and four interceptions. That feeling that Stafford and the Rams aren’t starting off as well this season as last season is not just a feeling, it’s a reality. I still expect Stafford to finish as a top 20 fantasy QB. The issue is, it may be difficult to know which games he plays well in. He’s not the reliable fantasy QB1 that he was last year. Hopefully the o-line get heathier and his current weapons get more consistent (and so does Stafford), or the Rams bring in some new weapons. If either happens, then maybe we see the fireworks we’ve been hoping for.

Carolina Panthers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

Darrell Henderson, RB

He’s the (current) starting running for the Rams. Reliable running backs are one of the hardest positions to find in fantasy, and until something changes, he’s one of those. If you have Henderson (nice), if you can acquire him from waivers (unlikely) or a trade (more likely) than I think you can count on “Hendo” to be a top 20 RB each week, and he has the potential to be a RB1 any given week. Under Sean McVay, the Rams starting running back has typically provided value, when there is a clear starter. The difficulty this year has been that Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers were both being used, and neither were providing great fantasy results. It’s unlikely Akers will be involved going forward, so Henderson is seemingly setup to be the primary ball carrier. The Rams could add a player to the roster, so the Rams RB situation is worth monitoring. Kyren Williams was drafted this year too, and is expected to return from injury at some point, keep him in mind.

Cooper Kupp, WR

Let historians go on and on about what Cooper Kupp has been doing because it’s exactly that: historic. He’s a top 5 WR the rest of the way and can finish as the number one receiver in fantasy. If he’s on your team, get through this bye week, and enjoy the ride.

Tyler Higbee, TE

One reception for seven yards is all that Tyler would come up with against the Carolina Panthers. Higbee is having a top 10 fantasy season at the tight end position, for now. He may end up a top 10 player at the position if he keeps getting the targets and receptions, but that really speaks to how shallow the tight end position is in fantasy. Higbee is a solid NFL tight end, and he is as capable of a low scoring game in fantasy as any other tight end not named Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews (and even they sometimes have off days). Allen Robinson had arguably his best game as a Ram against the Panthers, and it will be interesting to see if Allen’s success cuts into Higbee’s workload.

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Allen Robinson, WR

Six games into the season, and Robinson has compiled 17 receptions for 170 yards and two touchdowns. It’s not eye popping, and it’s probably not the start that he or the Rams wanted. I wrote a few weeks ago that the hope is Allen Robinson can be a steady top 30 (or better) fantasy receiver. I think he’ll finish as a top 45. He’ll have some useful games. The hard part will be about predicting when those will be. That theme ties into this next group of players.

Van Jefferson, WR

He should be back after the bye. Until we see what the team looks like with Van reintegrated back into the offense, it will be tough to project him. One assumption is the Rams use Van to stretch the field, it helps Stafford have another deep target, it’s opens things up for intermediate and shorter routes. It could also take a while for Van to have a consistent role because he is returning from injury (the offensive line being trusted to provide Stafford with enough time to see get the ball deep is something to worry about). Jefferson played 17 games last year and had six touchdowns. He’s not playing 17 games this year. It’ll be good to have him back, but you’ll probably use other options.

Ben Skowronek, WR/FB

Benny Skow scored his first career touchdown last week, and it was exciting! He’s been solid for the Rams and an even more fun story. However, Van is returning and that may eat away at Ben’s snaps. I think Ben is a valuable piece for the Rams, and he may be the type of player that can be good for DFS Leagues (in theory). He has shown that he can make some plays and find the end zone, but in a season long league, there should be more reliable options available. I think the same idea applies to players like Tutu Atwell and Brandon Powell. They hopefully will make plays, and they hopefully find the end zone, so that this team can win games, but it’s doubtful they will be able to help you win fantasy games week in and week out.

Next week the Rams will take on the San Francisco 49ers and their reported newly acquired RB, Christian McCaffrey. There should be plenty to talk about.

Good luck this week, fantasy managers!

Los Angeles Rams play against the Carolina Panthers in an NFL regular season game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images