After the Rams finished 9-7 last year and lost Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks over the offseason, the fantasy football community is likely to be a bit lower on the Rams‘ offense than they were coming into last season. However, with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Tyler Higbee, and a running back room full of talent, there should still be plenty of productive skill position players on this team. We’ve seen Jared Goff produce high numbers for fantasy football utility, but he indeed declined last season. After a down year, is he being underrated in fantasy? Should we expect him to bounce back despite the Rams’ lost talent?
— QB Data Mine (@QBDataMine) May 25, 2020
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After throwing for 32 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in 2018 and finishing as the QB7 in standard scoring, Jared Goff declined last year to the tune of a QB13 finish. As the Rams went from 13 wins to 9, Goff set a career-high in pass attempts. That’s likely due to a decline in defensive production as well as a drop from the 3rd-most rushing yards to the 26th-most rushing yards. In 2019, Goff threw the most interceptions and the fewest touchdowns over a full season in his career.
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Given his high number of pass attempts, Goff likely should have come through for more than 22 touchdowns last season. I have him down for 27 at the moment, as the departure of Todd Gurley from the offense should lead to more pass attempts in the red-zone – Gurley had the third-most red-zone touches in football last year. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are two excellent receivers, and Sean McVay should help Goff regain his previous statistical production, even if he isn’t the best real-life QB.
— LaQuan Jones 🐺 (@RealDealFantasy) May 30, 2020
ADP: 120.7, QB16
Auction Value: $8
As the 16th quarterback off the board, Goff could be a massive value in my estimation. In his three full seasons as the starter, Goff has finished as the 12th, 7th, and 13th QB in fantasy, so 16 would be a significant dropoff. I also find it hard to believe that he doesn’t improve his numbers from last season as he had the 2nd-most passing completions in football last year. He’s currently ranked as the QB12 in my season-long projections, so with an ADP placing him after Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Baker Mayfield, I love Goff’s draft value.
I find it hard to believe that Goff finishes with worse statistics than he did last season. The Rams’ entire offensive line saw a significant decline in play across the board as PFF ranked their front five as the 2nd-worst in the NFL. Just from a statistical fluidity standpoint, we should expect their game to improve this year, but that has to happen for Goff to improve. Goff relies heavily on a clean pocket, and without Todd Gurley providing a solid run game, the Rams could see a ton of nickel defense against them this year. Tyler Higbee will be relied upon to replicate his heightened production over the final few weeks of the season as there is a significant lack of depth behind Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. With Sean McVay in town, the Rams will find a way to be an above-average offense, but Goff’s numbers may not improve much from last season with the loss of talent around him.
Goff’s career touchdown rate is 4.7%, which saw a significant decline in 2019 at 3.5%. If he attempts the same number of passes as last season and returns to his career touchdown rate, he would be at just under 30 passing touchdowns. His career interception rate also suggests a drop in that category next season, perhaps to about 12-13 INTs. The combination of those factors, along with a defense that should put the Rams down early in a lot of games (creating positive passing game script), should allow Goff to produce impressive passing numbers this year. I see Goff’s upside at about 4,700 passing yards with 30 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, which would comfortably put him inside the top 10 QBs.
Stopped caring where the media and Twitter trolls rank Jared Goff amongst NFL QBs. 3 things hold people back from ranking him higher: Rookie year, contract & being the #1 pick.
Take a look at years 2-4. The numbers speak for themselves. Goff is just getting started. pic.twitter.com/elAwAI6YDB
— Rams Brothers (@RamsBrothers) May 27, 2020
Los Angeles Rams Offense
In 2018, Jared Goff saw a perfect storm of passing production. The offense around him couldn’t have been much better as Gurley went over 1,800 yards from scrimmage and had 21 combined touchdowns. Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks both went over 1,200 yards, and while Cooper Kupp only played in 8 games, his 16-game pace was 1,132 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Rams’ 3-wide sets saw their apex of production as that trio of receivers went for a combined 15 touchdowns. The Rams will feature more “12” personnel in 2020 with Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett on the field at the same time, which should theoretically help give Goff more natural completions and compensate for a decline in rushing production. Without Gurley demanding eight defenders in the box, though, it’s hard to imagine Goff gets to the same numbers that made him the QB7 in 2018. The Rams will rely on an RBBC for the first time in a while with rookie Cam Akers, sophomore Darrell Henderson, and veteran Malcolm Brown splitting touches. Sean McVay is a stud play-caller, but the Rams’ offense will look very different than it did when they made their run to the Super Bowl.
Strength of Schedule
At first glance, it may seem like the Rams’ NFC West rivals will hurt Goff’s chances at production this season. However, the 49ers’ elite defense was only 10th in points allowed to QBs last year. The Cardinals should be improved, but they finished last in fantasy points given up to QBs, and the Seahawks were 16th. The Rams take on the four teams in the AFC East this year, which is a mixed bag of defenses – the Patriots (1st) and Bills (3rd) were some of the best teams against quarterbacks last year, while the Jets (17th) were mediocre and the Dolphins (31st) were terrible although they should be better this year. LA will also play the NFC East this year, which features four defenses which were outside the top ten in points allowed to QBs – the Cowboys (13th), Eagles (15th), Redskins (25th), and Giants (30th). To wrap things up, the Rams play the Buccaneers (23rd) and Bears (4th). The polarity in the Rams’ opponents this season should produce a bit of an up-and-down campaign for Goff, but with the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, and Redskins within the first five weeks, I’m comfortable with rolling him out to start the season.
The combination of factors that allowed Goff to finish as the QB7 in 2018 fell apart in 2019, leading to a QB13 finish. He should be somewhere in between this year, with a bit of positive regression in the touchdown department and likely improvement on the offensive line. With Sean McVay, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Tyler Higbee supporting him, there’s plenty to like about Goff as a fantasy starter this season, especially given his late ADP.
With a 31st ranked offensive line, a 26th ranked running game, QB Jared Goff led the #LARams to a 9-7 season
Imagine how good he’ll play behind a better line, and with an improved running game?
— Ramblin’ Fan (@RamblinFan) May 27, 2020