NFL free agency started on March 18th, but technically does not end until the end of the season. However, after a firehose of news the first week, and another run the second week, things quiet down to a trickle. There are still big names out there, but it’s going to take some time to get them signed, sealed and delivered.
With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at where teams stand after the early rush of free agency and what it means for fantasy football. We’re going to take a look at the skill positions, breaking down what the starting lineup and reserves will look like to assess fantasy value heading into August drafts.
Today, we’re taking a look at the Los Angeles Rams. They didn’t gain any significant new pieces this offseason, but lost quite a few key contributors. The Rams released Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews while Eric Weddle retired and the team declined an option on Nickell Robey-Coleman’s contract. Los Angeles did manage to retain top-notch offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth, but it was too hindered by limited cap space to do anything major.
Starter: Jared Goff
Backups: John Wolford
The loss of Gurley could deal a blow to Goff’s production. Even if the running back was regressing, he was enough of a threat to give the Rams a balanced attack on offense. Malcolm Brown won’t come close to matching Gurley’s stats, so Goff could have to rely on his arm a lot more this year.
Goff has one of the best receiving corps in the league, as all of his starters are threats to crack 1,000 receiving yards. However, it doesn’t seem likely that losing Gurley, who scored 14 touchdowns last season, will result him catapulting into the top ten after finish as QB13 in standard leagues last season.
Starter: Malcolm Brown
Backups: Darrell Henderson Jr., John Kelly
Brown hasn’t reached 70 rushing attempts in a season yet in his pro career, but he’s poised to become Los Angeles’ feature back in 2020. He’ll should certainly improve upon the career high 255 rushing yards he totaled last season, but don’t expect him to be worth a start in season-long fantasy. Finishing as a top 20 running back would be a stretch, but between 25 and 30 is realistic. Don’t expect too much from the sixth-year veteran.
The question is whether or not the Rams decide to add a running back in the draft. This situation is in flux as you consider draft options for later this summer.
Kupp and Cooks are neck and neck for the Rams’ WR1 spot. Both finished with at least 90 receptions and 1,100 receiving yards last season, but Kupp had a team high 10 receiving touchdowns. I’d give Kupp the edge here and predict that he’ll finish as a top 10 receiver for a second straight year in 2020.
Cooks tallied a career-low 42 receptions and the lowest receiving yard total (583) he has since his rookie season. He sent out a cryptic tweet last week that could mean he wants out out Los Angeles. Whether he sticks around or not, he’s got some work to do to rebound from a down 2019 season.
Starter: Tyler Higbee
Backups: Gerald Everett, Johnny Mundt, Kendall Blanton
Higbee was TE9 in standard leagues and TE8 in PPR leagues last season. He was the seventh most productive tight end on DraftKings. Considering that the Rams’ run game could be on the decline, it makes sense to predict Higbee having a career year. He beat his previous career high for targets in a season by 44 in 2019 and could see even more balls thrown his way in 2020. There’s a good chance he’s a top 10 tight end for a second straight year.