Team: Los Angeles Rams
Position: Wide Receiver
Percent Owned On Fantasy Teams (Yahoo Fantasy): 28%
Fantasy Points Through Week 1 (Half PPR): Projected: 6.79 Actual: 15.60
Aside from quarterbacks, the wide receiver position is arguably the most sought after in terms of big-play ability. In fantasy, this notion varies widely depending on what kind of league you are playing in, but generally speaking reliable receivers offer immense value regardless. While there are plenty of well-known star studded pass catchers in the league, there are several neglected receivers that displayed moments of being worthy fantasy waiver wire pick ups.
In particular, rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp distinguished himself from a fairly lackluster pack in the Rams dominating victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Despite hauling in just four receptions, Kupp made the most of his select opportunities as he went off for 76 receiving yards and one touchdown (19 yards per reception). The latter overall numbers become even more intriguing when we break down the positioning of where Kupp was on the field.
His receiving yards distribution was almost evenly split between wide left (28 yards), wide right (24 yards) and middle (18 yards and one touchdown) play directions. While these numbers are fantastic to behold for a rookie receiver, Kupp’s ability to spread out a opposing defense takes quite a bit of pressure off of quarterback Jared Goff. Rather than simply stacking the box and overwhelming Goff with an aggressive pass rush, defenses now have to keep an eye on a big-play wideout that can line up nearly anywhere on the field. In fantasy terms, this means that Kupp will get an increasing share of targets as his reliability continues to improve.
Still, for every enticing attribute Kupp brings to the table, he is still limited by a Rams offense that is trying to find it’s legs. While head coach Sean McVey has been heralded as a offensive guru, the Rams week one match up against a Colts team that was without quarterback Andrew Luck while having a bad defense to begin with is hardly a strong indicator that the Rams have turned things around offensively. Yes, Goff made some impressive throws, but in order for any Rams receiver to be a reliable fantasy acquisition, Goff has to prove that he can string together several solid performances.
Still, it’s hard to ignore Kupp’s statistical output, particularly in third down situations (52 yards and one touchdown on third down and three to seven yards from the first down marker). If Sean McVey can continue to put Jared Goff in favorable situations, Kupp’s value could increase dramatically within the next couple of weeks.