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Rams WR Cooper Kupp to have ankle surgery, heading to injured reserve

The Super Bowl MVP needs ankle surgery and heading to IR. We break down the fantasy football impact.

Cooper Kupp #10 of the Los Angeles Rams looks on during warmups prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at SoFi Stadium on November 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams will face the New Orleans Saints in Week 11 but will do so without star wide receiver Cooper Kupp. He suffered an ankle injury in Week 10, and it is being deemed a high ankle sprain. It will require surgery, so Kupp will be added to IR and be out for at least the next four games.

Kupp is the unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver for the Rams. He has 75 receptions on 98 targets for 812 yards and six touchdowns in the nine games this season. For reference, tight end Tyler Higbee is second on the team with 44 receptions on 65 targets for 385 yards. This leaves Allen Robinson, Ben Skowronek, Van Jefferson and Brandon Powell as the next wide receivers up for quarterback Matthew Stafford to rely on. The Rams were once in the hunt for free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., but their 3-6 record and last place standing in the NFC West has persuaded the former Ram to look at taking his talents elsewhere.

Fantasy Football Impact

Kupp will be out at minimum for the next four games for Los Angeles. He is a top wide receiver in fantasy football from his high usage and provides a hole that is likely unfillable. While Kupp is considered matchup-proof weekly, upcoming games against the Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and Las Vegas Raiders would have seen him having high projections with favorable matchups. By the time he is eligible to return in Week 15, you would be nearing the fantasy football playoffs. On the chance that he does only miss four weeks, do not drop Kupp and just stash him on your bench.

Robinson, Jefferson and Skowronek will now compete to see who can be the fantasy-relevant receiver in this offense. The biggest beneficiary will likely be Higbee, but there should be enough workload for someone else to step up week-to-week. Robinson is likely not that guy, as he should take over as the No. 1 wide receiver and thus draw the attention of the defense's best corner. From what we have seen this season, Skowronek seems to be the likeliest candidate to see a consistent uptick in target share. He is worth a waiver wire add in Week 11. As the Rams take on the Saints this weekend, keep an eye on how targets are spread around and see if Jefferson can catch the eye of Stafford. For now, I’m going with Skowronek, though.

Betting Implications

The Rams are tied for the worst odds to win the NFC West at DraftKings Sportsbook installed at +3000. The San Francisco 49ers are favored, and there is little hope that the Los Angeles defense will be able to do enough to help the Rams climb the rankings. That being said, Los Angeles still has to play the Seahawks twice, and if they sweep the current division leaders, they would only need to pick up one or two non-conference wins to get back into the running. New Orleans has had some bad losses this year, and the Rams should pick up the win in Week 11, despite being +155 moneyline underdogs. A loss to the Saints would likely cement the Rams out of winning the division this season, barring quite the miracle.

Since Kupp’s injury, the Rams’ odds to make the playoffs have been pulled. They may be added back as the week continues, but if their offense can show up this weekend, they could be a sneaky dark horse for the playoffs.