Cooper Kupp went down Sunday with a non-contact injury to his knee. It has now been confirmed that Kupp has suffered a season-ending ACL tear. While the Rams were able to get by without Kupp for a few games in weeks 5-8, Kupp’s ACL injury is a big loss for them at this point in the season as they make their push towards the playoffs. In this article, we’ll examine how Kupp’s injury affects the Rams offense and the fantasy football landscape going forward.
How do the Rams Replace Cooper Kupp Production
Josh Reynolds is About to See a Lot of Playing Time
The Rams run 11 personnel package more than any other team in the NFL. This means they have three wide receivers on the field more often than not. With Cooper Kupp now expected to be sidelined for the rest of the season, Robert Woods will likely slide over to the slot and Josh Reynolds will take over the outside receiver position when the Rams are in 11 personnel.
When Kupp went down with a concussion in week five, then, again with a knee injury in week six he wound up missing the next two games. During weeks five through eight Josh Reynolds played a significant number of snaps. Reynolds snap share in the offense weeks five through eight were 54.5%, 62.2%, 83.6% and 88.5%.
With Reynolds playing such a high volume of snaps in this Rams offense he’s bound to see a boost in production and to have a couple of good games. If you need help at your third or fourth wide receiver spot, Reynolds is certainly worth putting a waiver claim in for this week with the hope that he makes the best of his opportunity.
Reynolds hasn’t been targeted a lot this season but he has made the most of what he has gotten. He currently has 7 catches for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns on 12 targets this season. However, I expect that Reynolds is going to see a lot of one on one coverage when he’s running his routes. (Stats found at Pro Football Reference). If Reynolds can prove trustworthy when Jared Goff throws his way there is a chance he could begin to see significant looks in this high-powered offense.
The Cooper Kupp Injury Fantasy Fallout
Rams tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett will need to step up their play now that Cooper Kupp was lost for the season. However, the split in playing time between the two of them and the lack of targets to tight ends by Jared Goff makes them low-end fantasy options. I wouldn’t waste my time with either Higbee or Everett in fantasy, outside of a dart-throw bye week replacement, in a very deep league.
The players that will most likely pick up most of the production left behind by Kupp are Todd Gurley, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks. It’s scary to think but Gurley’s usage might actually increase in the weeks to come. Woods will likely see the biggest increase in targets due to playing in the slot but Cooks is bound to see an uptick in targets as well. All three players can be counted on for high usage in the second half of the season.
As things stand now, those who stand to see the biggest uptick in usage and production are Gurley, Woods, Cooks, and Reynolds, in that order. Personally, I’m fading the Rams tight ends but if you have the space on your team Reynolds is worth grabbing and stashing to see if he can capitalize on all the newfound playing time in one of the leagues most explosive offenses.
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