The last time fans saw Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp in a live game was during a mid-season matchup with their divisional rival, the Arizona Cardinals. Unfortunately, Kupp had to leave the game due to injury, and he’s been away from live game action ever since.
Kupp proved his worth to fantasy football managers by still finishing the season with 22 points per game, finishing as the highest-scoring wide receiver in fantasy.
Now his return is in question over a nagging hamstring injury that could prove to be problematic to overcome. Let’s observe this situation and see what actionable takeaways fantasy players can apply to their fantasy teams!
Update: The Rams have placed Kupp on injured reserve, which means he is now out at least four games.
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Latest News Surrounding Cooper Kupp
To understand the current situation, you must go back to Aug. 1 when there was a report that Kupp left Rams practice with a hamstring injury.
Cooper Kupp pic.twitter.com/XpnKU3truh
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) June 18, 2023
Head coach Sean McVay labeled Kupp with the dreaded “day-to-day” designation, but there was little specific information given to the media over the severity of the injury. The situation would worsen on Aug. 31 when Kupp suffered a setback with his hamstring injury.
Just a few days later, there was new information out that Kupp was visiting with a “body specialist” in Minnesota as a way to understand the injury and provide better care during his rehab. This only added to the panic and uncertainty surrounding his availability for the season.
You rarely hear of a football player visiting with a specialist over a hamstring injury. It appears that the more news made available to the public, the more unlikely it feels that we will see Kupp play during Week 1.
Will Cooper Kupp Play This Week?
The Rams play the Seahawks this Sunday, and at this time, Kupp is unlikely to play based on the current reports that he is away from the team visiting a specialist and is currently not practicing with the team. The Rams were headed for a tumultuous season with a healthy Kupp, but for at least opening week, it’s going to be much more difficult than they imagined.
Kupp’s absence elevates Van Jefferson as the primary target, and you can expect Tyler Higbee to gather more looks as the offense tries to move the ball through the air. For those of us in dynasty or deep redraft leagues, this will be a big moment in the early career of Puka Nacua. Nacua is a rookie from BYU who has received some praise this offseason, but live game action is much more intense than summer team practices.
Also, there is second-year running back Kyren Williams, who has become the passing-down back by excelling in pass blocking and route running this offseason. For L.A.’s offense to function, it will need to be a group effort from multiple players in different positions.
What Does This Mean for Cooper Kupp’s Fantasy Ranking?
Drafts are winding down, but for the few still going strong, there’s been an obvious drop in Kupp’s ADP since the first injury. He started off as a mid-first-round pick but has recently been available at No. 10 overall in drafts. As this injury lingers and he visits with specialists out of state, Kupp’s ADP will continue to regress into the second round but shouldn’t fall past there.
Kupp is an incredibly risky selection to make with the first two picks of your fantasy draft. He could show up after Week 2 and be just fine, but there will always be the threat of a re-aggravation lurking in the background. With all of these concerns floating around, it’s becoming clear that Kupp won’t suit up for opening weekend.
Update: Given that Kupp has already been ruled out for Week 1, combined with the reports that he may go on IR, fantasy managers should prepare to be without Kupp for the entirety of the month of September. For those of you who haven’t drafted yet, Kupp is probably a guy you should allow to be someone else’s problem. At this point, he would have to fall into the fourth round for me to even consider it. — Jason Katz, PFN Fantasy Analyst