The Los Angeles Rams went 13-3 in 2018, en route to a Super Bowl appearance. While they were not able to win the championship, Los Angeles continued to show that it is one of the most progressive offenses in the entire NFL. Given the team’s success last season, you won’t find a ton of value on this roster, but there is plenty of fantasy goodness to be had.
Key Departures:Ndamukong Suh, DT; LaMarcus Joyner, FS; Rodger Saffold, G; C.J. Anderson, RB
Key Acquisitions:Eric Weddle, FS; Blake Bortles, QB; Darrell Henderson, RB
2019 Fantasy MVP
Darrell Henderson, RB
Being an MVP is all about value (it is in the name after all). As I said before, there isn’t a lot of that on the Rams’ roster. Henderson is rising right now in season-long drafts, but he is situated to still be a fantastic value this season if things break right for him.
The rookie out of Memphis put together one of the most efficient college careers ever. In 2018, he averaged a ridiculous 8.9 yards per carry. That is not a typo, and he carried it 214 times, so he isn’t a small sample-size warrior. In fact, he averaged 8.2 yards on his 431 career carries. Additionally, Henderson scored 22 TDs, and he finished his career with 63 receptions at 12 yards a clip. It is easy to see why the Rams traded up to select Henderson in the NFL Draft.Henderson has a big obstacle in his way by the name of Todd Gurley, but there are reasons to be pessimistic on him that I will touch on rather shortly. If Gurley is unable to be on the field or is limited in any way, Henderson will be in line to smash as a part of the Rams high-powered offense. Los Angeles has 40 rushing TDs the past two seasons under Sean McVay.
2019 Fantasy LVP
Todd Gurley, RB
The writing was on the wall for this selection based on Henderson being my MVP, but I didn’t want to spill the tea on why too soon. Gurley was dealing with knee issues down the stretch of his 2018 campaign, causing him to miss the final two regular season games, and take a back seat to C.J. Anderson in the playoffs. There was never a good reason given as to why this was the case, though we got to see a good bit of Gurley riding the exercise bike on the sidelines.
Gurley tore his ACL while at Georgia, and it was reported in March that he has arthritis in that same knee. I am not a doctor, but I do understand money and goals. Here is what we know:
Gurley is entering the second year of a four-year, $57.5 million contract he signed in 2018, that had $45 million guaranteed.
The Rams have no way of getting out of Gurley’s contract until 2021 at the soonest. He would have dead cap hits of $34.85, $25.65 and $8.4 million if he is cut anytime in the next three years (including 2019).
The Rams are #good. They made the Super Bowl last year, and should contend for it again in 2019. The best chance they have to win is if all of their good players are healthy (duh), particularly late in the year.Regardless of how good or bad we think Gurley’s arthritis is, it is clear that the Rams have no incentive to overwork their star RB. Between Henderson and Malcolm Brown, there’s probably no reason for Gurley to see more than 60% of the work out of the backfield. That’s going to make it difficult to live up to a Round 1 and/or high-dollar DraftKings cost.
2019 Breakout Player
Gerald Everett, TEThe Rams have a lot of established players already on the roster, but Everett is someone who could get to the next level in 2019. He doesn’t even have to get any better as a player to do it.
The Rams were by far the biggest utilizers of 11 personnel in 2018, deploying three WRs on 95% of their passing plays. That means only one TE was on the field, and it wasn’t always Everett since Tyler Higbee is also a quality player.
Even with all of this, Everett managed to be top 20 at the position in targets. Sean McVay has indicated that while he would like to use 11 personnel heavily again, last year’s injury to Cooper Kupp revealed how good players like Everett can be. Even if the Rams dial it back to 90% 11 personnel, that would open up a lot more opportunity for Everett. And it would still lead the league.Everett comes at a very low price in all formats, which is difficult to do as a component of an offense as good as that of the Rams
Final Thoughts:Despite being one of the best teams in football, the Rams face a fairly weak schedule. Based on projected 2019 win totals, their strength of schedule is one of the 10 weakest in the NFL.
The Rams were 4th in rush attempts inside the five-yard line in 2018, and second in points scored to only the Chiefs. This should be a fantasy goldmine once again.
The only thing that could slow them down is another injury to Cooper Kupp. When Kupp missed the final eight games of 2018, the Rams averaged 0.63 fewer points per drive, and 2.3 fewer yards per pass attempt.
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