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Monday, September 3, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: LOS ANGELES RAMS WIDEOUTS

Brandin Cooks:  Even getting traded into fantasy football paradise (i.e. joining Tom Brady) with the New England Patriots prior to the start of the 2017 season failed to curb the extreme swings in production from wideout Brandin Cooks on a game-to-game basis.  While Cooks has a knack for dropping a 9-catch/150-yard/2-TD bonanza in any given week, he also is just as prone to posting a 2-catch/15-yard abomination as well.  The fact Cooks has now put forth this trend both in New Orleans and New England means it is time to accept this is what you sign up for when selecting him in fantasy football drafts.  This reputation will now follow Cooks to Los Angeles as well; with the Rams completing a trade for him this past April to replace the departed Sammy Watkins.  While a fresh start is always nice, the trade serves as a clear downgrade to Cooks' potential impact since he will now compete with the very capable Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp for targets from QB Jared Goff and Goff himself is a downgrade from Tom Brady as well in terms of passing acumen.  Put all of that together and Cooks now looks like more of a WR 3 than the WR 2 he appeared to be a year ago.

2018 PROJECTION:  79 receptions 1,115 yards 8 TD

Robert Woods:  Apparently, Los Angeles Rams wideout Robert Woods was severely underutilized during his initial four years in the NFL spent with the Buffalo Bills.  While Woods performed solidly as a borderline fantasy football backup receiver with the Bills, his per game numbers exploded in 2017 with the Rams as he hauled in 56 passes for 781 yards and 5 TD's in just 12 games.  A late-season shoulder injury stalled Woods' momentum when the fantasy football season was entering into crunch time but the overall year was a success as he became the go-to-receiver for second-year QB Jared Goff.  Whatever sleeper hype Woods did have at the start of the offseason, however, went by the wayside in April when the Rams acquired Brandin Cooks from the New England Patriots.  While he should remain heavily involved in the offense, Woods will lose targets both to Cooks and Cooper Kupp which will likely prevent him from reaching the per game production in 2018 that he had a year ago.
2018 PROJECTION:  84 receptions 1,095 yards 9 TD

Cooper Kupp:  In one of the more quirky developments during fantasy football drafts last summer, it was a previously little-known wideout from Eastern Washington by the name of Cooper Kupp who all of a sudden became a staple on sleeper lists everywhere you looked.  Despite having been selected in just the third-round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, Kupp was instantly viewed as the prospective number 1 target of second-year QB Jared Goff and he was drafted accordingly despite the presence of both Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins on the team.  Usually, in a situation such as this, the opposite of expectations occur but Kupp pretty much came through as he caught 62 passes for 869 yards and 5 touchdowns in 15 games for the team to carve out decent WR 3 value.  It was at this time too where Woods became the clear top target of Goff and so Kupp will likely take a back seat not only to him in terms of production for 2018 but also to new arrival Brandin Cooks who the Rams acquired through a trade with the New England Patriots.  With Kupp being a tad light in the TD department but at the same time producing good totals in catches/yards, WR 3 in PPR formats looks to be in the cards again for him this season.
2018 PROJECTION:  73 receptions 948 yards 6 TD

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