Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp finished last season as fantasy football’s WR4 in PPR scoring. 2019 is, without a doubt, Kupp’s best year as a fantasy option and was his first year appearing in all 16 games. Kupp saw 134 targets that he turned into 94 catches for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns. Still, Kupp enters this season as a prime regression candidate, in large part because of the unlikelihood of repeating his double-digit touchdown performance, which fueled 22% of his fantasy points.
Is success in the red zone the key?
Kupp found himself getting some of the most valuable targets fantasy managers could expect: with his team in scoring range. Inside the 20-yard line, Kupp was targeted 18 times, tied for eighth-most amongst receivers. Inside the 10 yard line, he was targeted 10 times, which placed him up to a tie for fourth at the position, sitting behind only Kenny Golladay, Jarvis Landry, and Allen Robinson.
Fellow teammate Tyler Higbee also received 19 targets inside the 20, as well as nine inside the 10. Yet it was Kupp finding paydirt turning eight catches inside the 10-yard line into six scores. These targets were no accident, as Kupp got his number called on over 25% of passes thrown by the Rams both inside the 10 and the 20. Repeating his 10 touchdowns will be an incredibly tall task, yet Kupp should have a chance if he continues to see volume where it counts most.
Kupp’s fantasy ADP and ranking
After all that talk of regression, it does seem that there has been a measured response to drafting the Rams playmaker. Kupp is currently coming off the board 37th overall at WR15, providing tangible value for those buying into a Rams team that threw and completed the third-most passes in the NFL last year. Kupp is currently Tommy Garrett’s WR17 at 40th overall, meaning you will be paying face value for an established player that will likely not see his role change in his fourth year in the league.
There is a lot of talk about Robert Woods being the better value at 46th overall, WR19. However, to revisit red-zone targets, Woods only saw nine targets inside the 20 and four inside the 10. Strictly due to the nature of his game and how he wins on the outside, Woods should not hamper Kupp in this area of the field, and also has a slightly capped ceiling himself because of that lack of red-zone targets.
Cooper Kupp’s fantasy outlook in 2020
The Brandin Cooks trade to the Houston Texans vacates 72 targets that rise to 121 when factoring in Todd Gurley’s 49 targets from last year as well. Fresh faces Cam Akers and Van Jefferson may take a portion of those, but quarterback Jared Goff should still supply Kupp and Woods with over 100 targets each this year.
On the subject of Akers and any potential increase in red-zone productivity, it should be noted the Todd Gurley notched the third most carries inside the 20-yard line last year and fifth-most inside the 10. All 12 of his rushing touchdowns from 2019 came in the red zone. This Rams team runs a fast-paced offense, allowing for success from multiple positions without actively harming the fantasy potential for any specific player.
With Head Coach Sean McVay’s hand firmly on the wheel, there won’t be any changes to the offense, fundamental or philosophical. This is a coaching staff that knows where it can win on the field and a team that has the pieces to do it. Ultimately, Kupp has the tools, the coach, and the offense to outperform his ADP this season.