With a number of Los Angeles Rams players set to miss Week 17, can Robert Woods be a reliable fantasy football option this week? Let’s take a look at Woods’ season so far, the situation in Los Angeles, and his Week 17 matchup.
Robert Woods has continued to be a solid fantasy option in 2020
After a slow start to his career in Buffalo, Robert Woods has been a fantasy star since arriving in Los Angeles. On a per-game basis, Woods has finished as a top-20 fantasy wide receiver in each of his four seasons in Los Angeles. During the 2020 season, Woods has eight touchdowns — six receiving and two rushing — and over 1,000 total yards. With 68 receptions, Woods is averaging 15.8 fantasy points per game.
Robert Woods has been a consistent fantasy weapon in 2020
Woods has scored double-digit fantasy points in 10 of his 15 games in 2020. Pro Football Network’s Consistency Score ranks Woods as the 16th-best receiver, with a consistency score over four for the fourth straight season.
Woods also continues to be consistent in turning opportunities into fantasy points. In three of his four seasons in Los Angeles, he has a Fantasy Points Differential between 10 and 20 percent. When you are seeing the opportunities Woods does in a season, that efficiency is worth more than a fantasy point per game across a full season.
The Los Angeles Rams are short of options in Week 17
The biggest news was delivered by head coach Sean McVay when he announced Jared Goff had undergone surgery and would miss the game. Instead, John Wolford will be under center when the Rams take on the Cardinals.
Wolford is a complete unknown, having never thrown a pass in an NFL game. He did complete 8 of 20 passes for 89 yards and an interception in the 2018 preseason. Wolford competed in the AAF in 2019, twice winning Offensive Player of the Week. Since the end of the AAF, he has been under contract with the Los Angeles Rams.
Darrell Henderson has been placed on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. Cam Akers missed Week 16 with a high ankle sprain, but McVay said “there’s a possibility” Akers could be on the field in Week 17.
The Rams are also dealing with the potential absence of Cooper Kupp. Kupp was placed on the NFL reserve list, and his availability for the Rams Week 17 game is in question.
How do these absences affect Robert Woods?
All four injuries are significant for Woods. Without Henderson and possibly Akers, the Rams could struggle to move the ball on the ground. They managed 119 rushing yards in Week 13, but Goff threw the ball 47 times. That high usage was despite the Rams having a full contingent of backs available.
The potential loss of Kupp could be key for Woods. Kupp and Woods have shared 246 targets virtually equally in 2020. With Kupp absent, Woods figures to see a slight bump, with only Josh Reynolds having more than 60 targets on the season so far.
It is highly significant when it comes to the red zone. Combined, Kupp and Woods have seen 50% of the red zone targets for the Rams. Woods could see his 24% red zone share increase this week. Given that Woods has only caught one touchdown against the New York Jets in Week 15, since Week 11, the boost in red zone targets could be welcome for fantasy managers.
What should you expect from Robert Woods in Week 17?
All these potential absences make it tough to know exactly what to expect from Robert Woods in Week 17. In terms of opportunities, Woods should see a boost, especially if Kupp is out.
However, Woods will also be the main focus of the Arizona Cardinals defense. That could make it hard for him to make big plays. Though, the Rams scheme is extremely clever in terms of finding ways to get players open. The only remaining question is whether Wolford can find Woods with regularity.
The Arizona Cardinals are a matchup that can be exploited by wide receivers
The Cardinals rank as the 20th-toughest defense for wide receivers to face when it comes to Pro Football Network’s Defensive Points Allowed Consistency Score (D-PAC). However, while that appears alarming, they allow the 11th-most points to the position in PPR formats. They are a slightly tougher matchup in standard leagues, both for D-PAC and fantasy points against.
On average, the Cardinals allow 14 receptions on 20.4 targets to opposing wide receivers. They are somewhat stingy when it comes to receiving yards (158.5 per game) but have allowed 16 touchdowns to the position. Given that we can expect Woods to see around 40-50% of the targets and 30-40% in the red zone, there are some promising numbers here.
What is Woods’ floor with Wolford at QB?
If Woods can see 8-10 targets, there is a path to value. However, the risk with Wolford under center is high.
There is no guarantee that Robert Woods is going to provide for fantasy managers in Week 17. The problem is that it is hard to sit a bonafide WR2 in your fantasy championship. The Rams need to play hard for the full game to ensure a playoff spot. They are potentially barren in the way of a run game. All of that points to Robert Woods seeing plenty of targets in Week 17.
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