Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee enjoyed an outstanding season in 2021. He suffered an MCL injury in the NFC Championship Game and is still dealing with it. He would be a major loss for Los Angeles, as he adds another dimension to their offense. Will Higbee play in Super Bowl 56, and what can fantasy football managers expect from the tight end position for the Rams?
Will Higbee play this week vs. the Bengals?
Higbee sprained his MCL in the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers. Rams head coach Sean McVay suggested that he wasn’t expecting Higbee to play with the injury since it happened.
The starting tight end failed to practice this week, and he was recently placed on the injured reserve. Higbee is officially out for Super Bowl 56.
Tyler Higbee’s 2021 production
Higbee has looked fantastic throughout the 2021 season. He posted 70 receptions for 675 yards and 5 touchdowns on 99 targets over 17 games. Furthermore, he recorded a 70.7% catch rate with 9.6 yards per reception.
Higbee failed to generate 100 receiving yards in any game this season. With that said, he had his best outing against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17. In that game, Higbee produced 6 receptions for 69 yards on 9 targets.
The next week, he recorded his only multi-touchdown performance of the year. Higbee ended Week 18 with 6 receptions for 55 yards and 2 touchdowns on 8 targets against the San Francisco 49ers.
Ultimately, Higbee found success as the season wound down before he was injured. Excluding the NFC title match where he was hurt, Higbee averaged 4.8 receptions for 51.2 yards and 0.3 TDs on 6.7 targets per game over his last six contests.
How would Higbee’s absence affect the Rams?
LA’s offense would look slightly different without Higbee, although it wouldn’t be a massive transition. Kendall Blanton will likely draw the start, as he saw extended run after Higbee was injured in the NFC Championship Game.
In that game, Blanton posted 5 receptions for 57 yards on 5 targets. That was his best outing of the season, and he proved that he can find success with more snaps.
Prior to that game, Blanton posted 2 receptions for 18 yards and 1 touchdown on 2 targets against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional Round.
The key here is that Blanton may not simply shift into Higbee’s role. The Rams can focus their passing game more around their wide receivers and running backs rather than their tight end. Nevertheless, Blanton will take over the majority of Higbee’s snaps, regardless of who gets a few extra targets.
Are fantasy points available vs. Cincinnati?
With Higbee officially out, there will be fantasy points available for Blanton. The Cincinnati Bengals are allowing 9.1 fantasy points per game to tight ends, which ranks fourth-most in the NFL. They’ve consistently struggled against the position throughout the season, and they could struggle once again in this game.
Blanton isn’t the safest option, but he does come with upside. He’s a solid receiving option, as we saw last week. I don’t believe Blanton is safe, as the Rams could focus on several other options in their offense. With that said, he comes with tremendous upside in this particular matchup.