Rams HC Sean McVay believes RB Cam Akers is capable of taking on more in the passing game this season. “He’s obviously a great runner, but he’s got ability as a pass-catcher coming from the backfield, and we can displace him and put him in the slot or the outside receiver location,” McVay said. “There’s not any limitations, but we’ll see how it comes to life.” This jibes with beat writer Jourdan Rodrigue saying last month that Akers is in for a bigger pass-catching role this season. His ultimate upside is what RB Todd Gurley did in McVay's first 2 seasons with the Rams: average 18.4 carries and 5.8 targets per game. A workload in that vicinity would likely make Akers a top-5 fantasy back.
Rams insider Jourdan Rodrigue expects more passing-game work for RB Cam Akers this season. He totaled just 14 targets as a rookie last year, losing a bunch of passing-down snaps to RB Malcolm Brown. But Brown is gone now, and Rodrigue believes QB Matt Stafford's ability to diagnose blitzes and maneuver in the pocket will make pass protection less of a priority for Rams backs this season. Akers caught 69 balls across 3 college seasons and certainly seems capable of making an impact in that department in 2021 and beyond.
The Rams went with Louisville WR Tutu Atwell with the 57th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Atwell measured in at 5’9 and 149 pounds at his Pro Day, which would make him a major outlier if he hits as a pro. Only 3 WRs of 160 pounds or lighter have caught a pass in the NFL since 2000: J.J. Nelson, JoJo Natson and Brandon Banks. None of those guys was a fantasy factor, of course. Atwell does have sub-4.4 speed and broke out for a 69-1,272-11 line as a true sophomore back in 2019. But he took a step back this past year, finishing with fewer yards than fellow 2021 WR prospect Dez Fitzpatrick. And that size is just tough to get over. Landing with a strong offensive mind in HC Sean McVay is good news. But we’re still not betting on this guy becoming a reliable fantasy factor.
Rams QB Matt Stafford had surgery on his right (throwing) thumb in March, The Athletic reports. The procedure was "minor" and "elective," according to a source. Stafford revealed back in February that he played through a partially torn UCL in that thumb last season -- in addition to elbow, rib, knee and ankle injuries. The 33-year-old is expected to be available for the offseason program and at 100% by training camp. He's played all 16 games in 9 of the last 10 seasons.
NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports that WR DeSean Jackson is joining the Rams. The 35-year-old wideout appeared in just 8 games over 2 seasons back with the Eagles -- and missed 4 games in his final Tampa season the year before. When on the field, though, Jackson has remained a speedy deep threat. His arrival would hurt Van Jefferson's chances of claiming a top-3 spot on the Rams' WR depth chart. It would add upside to QB Matthew Stafford's fantasy profile, though.
The Rams are re-signing OLB Leonard Floyd for $64 million over 4 years, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Floyd racked up a career-high 10.5 sacks in his 1st season with the Rams. But among the top 59 edge players in pass-rush snaps, Floyd tied for just 32nd in Pro Football Focus' pass-rushing productivity. He landed with the Rams after the Bears released him last March. We'll see what Floyd has in store for his age-29 season (and beyond). Don't expect him to land too high in our 2021 IDP rankings, though.
Rams HC Sean McVay called Cam Akers a "3-down back" and a "very special player" on Thursday. The Rams already proved willing to give Akers a big workload on the ground last year, handing it to him 18+ times in 5 of their last 6 games. He totaled just 14 targets over that span, but it sounds like he's in for an increased role in the passing game. Akers looks like a RB1 heading into 2021 fantasy drafts.
WR DeSean Jackson has been released by the Eagles, according to DeSean Jackson on Instagram. The move saves Philly almost $5 million against the cap and was a no-brainer move for a team in rebuilding mode. Jackson is 34 and managed to hit the field for just 8 games over the past 2 seasons. He's proven to still have gas in the tank when he has been healthy, averaging 17.2 yards per catch in those 8 games. We'll see how much interest he garners on the open market and where he eventually lands.
New Rams QB Matt Stafford didn't miss a game in 2020, but he revealed on Thursday that he battled through a bunch of injuries. “I had the partially torn UCL in my right thumb, I tore my UCL on my left elbow on the second to last play of the Houston game that nobody knew about, trying to stiff arm a guy. That's why I started wearing a sleeve on my left arm because I had all sorts of tape underneath it, just to hold it in place," Stafford said. “I broke my cartilage on my eighth rib in Green Bay. I also tore something (in the back of) my left knee. And then I had a subtalar, right ankle sprain.” Despite all that, Stafford topped 4,000 passing yards for the 8th time, while tossing 26 TDs to 10 INTs. It's unclear if he'll have any procedures to address those injuries, but we'll keep you updated. Stafford turned 33 earlier this month.
The Lions have agreed to trade QB Matthew Stafford to the Rams for QB Jared Goff plus 3 draft picks. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that the Rams will send a 3rd-round pick in this year's draft, plus 1st-rounders in 2022 and 2023 as part of the trade. That's quite a haul for Detroit in moving a 33-year-old QB who had requested a trade. L.A.'s desire to unload Goff's big contract likely increased the package. Once the trade becomes official (at the start of the new league year), Stafford will land in an offense that has ranked top-11 in yardage each of the 4 years under HC Sean McVay. The Rams also ranked 1st, 2nd and 11th in scoring before sinking to 22nd this past season. Goff joins a Lions team that welcomes a new coaching staff for 2021, led by run-loving HC Dan Campbell. It's a solid landing for Stafford that should preserve his fantasy value over the next couple of seasons. Goff figures to land low in QB2 territory in our 2021 fantasy football rankings. The change from Goff to Stafford should enhance the fantasy outlooks for Rams pass-catchers.
The Lions and QB Matthew Stafford have agreed to part ways this offseason, according to multiple reports. That means the team will begin exploring trade options. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that a move would likely happen before the 5th day of the new league year (which begins March 17), because Stafford will be due a $10 million bonus that day. The veteran QB has 2 years left on his contract at $43 million and is coming off a solid season that found him finishing 15th among QBs in total fantasy points. Expect Detroit to try to address the position in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. The Lions pick 7th. The uncertainty could create a "buy" window in dynasty leagues, especially considering that older QBs tend to run cheap. Stafford figures to be most attractive to a contending team seeking a QB upgrade. Chase Daniel is the only other Lions QB whose contract runs through 2021.
Rams WR Cooper Kupp (knee) is inactive for today's Divisional Round game vs. the Packers. It's a significant loss. WRs Josh Reynolds and Van Jefferson will take on bigger roles with Kupp out, but WR Robert Woods is a good bet to lead the way in targets.
Rams QB Cooper Kupp (knee) is listed as questionable for Saturday's Divisional Round game vs. the Packers. He missed all 3 practices, but HC Sean McVay said Kupp could still play without getting any work in during the week. We'll get his game status around 3 pm ET on Saturday. Kupp's absence would leave Robert Woods, Josh Reynolds and Van Jefferson as the Rams' top 3 WRs.
Rams QB John Wolford (neck) has been ruled out for the Divisional Round. We'll never know if HC Sean McVay would have opted for Wolford over QB Jared Goff in this one. Goff put in a full week of practice and will be under center in Green Bay on Saturday afternoon.
Rams WR Cooper Kupp (knee) remained sidelined for Wednesday's practice. HC Sean McVay did say that Kupp is "progressing" and could play vs. the Packers on Saturday without practicing. We'll continue to monitor his status.
Rams WR Cooper Kupp (knee) did not practice on Tuesday. The Rams have been non-committal on his availability for Saturday's game vs. the Packers, but we're guessing that he'll gut it out. We'll get another update Wednesday night.
Rams WR Cooper Kupp has been diagnosed with knee bursitis, HC Sean McVay said Monday. That's inflammation of a small, fluid-filled sack near the knee joint. McVay said the "hope" is that Kupp will be able to play through the issue in Green Bay on Saturday. We'll keep an eye on him this week.
Rams QB John Wolford returned to L.A. with the team after Saturday night's win over Seattle despite sustaining a neck injury that landed him a trip to the hospital. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Wolford and Jared Goff (thumb) both "should be OK" for next weekend's Divisional Round game.
NFL Network's Mike Garafolo hears that Rams WR Cooper Kupp "should be fine" after exiting late in Saturday's Wild Card win over the Seahawks with a right knee injury. He's reportedly just dealing with a contusion. We'll look for further updates on his status and keep an eye on his practice participation this coming week.
Rams QB John Wolford left in the 1st quarter against the Seahawks after taking a shot to the head. He's officially questionable to return, which could mean a neck issue or an incomplete concussion check. That pushed Jared Goff and his repaired right thumb into the game.
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