by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There’s a lot of hype growing for the Rams’ Cooper Kupp (though the fact that he’ll miss the third preseason game could deflate it, at least slightly). A third round pick out of Eastern Washington, over his four year college career he never had fewer than 93 receptions (freshman year), 1,431 yards (sophomore year) or 16 TD (sophomore year). Amazingly he was even better over his final two years:
- 2015 – 114 catches, 1,642 yards, 19 TD
- 2016 – 117 catches, 1,700 yards, 17 TD
Prior to the draft NFL.com compared him to Jarvis Landry, and we’ve seen the types of numbers Landry can post even with sub par quarterback play (110 catches in ’15). Obviously the concerns with Kupp is going to be Jared Goff playing under center, but the “bust” has shown signs recently and has suddenly gotten a good group of weapons around him.
While Todd Gurley should remain the focus of the offense, his presence alone is going to distract opposing defenses. The addition of Sammy Watkins gives the team a true top threat, as long as he’s healthy, and someone opposing defenses need to game plan for. Throw in Robert Woods and Tavon Austin, and there are players who require defenses attention. That’s going to open things up for Kupp to thrive out of the slot.
Kupp’s been the team’s best receiver over the first two weeks of the preseason, with 8 catches for 105 yards and 1 TD. The touchdown came from Goff, in the first quarter of the second preseason game, when he put up 6 catches for 70 yards. It shows that the Rams are looking to incorporate him into a big role in the offense, and it’s something fantasy owners need to pay close attention to.
Kupp may be best suited to be used in a PPR format, as he could prove to be Landry-esque immediately (84 receptions for 758 yards in his rookie season). Maybe he doesn’t quite reach those levels, but the potential is there and he could operate as the safety net for Goff from Week 1. Considering the draft day cost (and the injury could deflate that even further), he’s well worth targeting.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com, Fox Sports
Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Preseason Rankings: