Table That Discussion: The Myth of The Third Year WR
Howard Bender leads a panel discussion with Adam Ronis, Jen Piacenti, Ryan Hallam, and Dan Malin about fantasy baseball, football, and wide-ranging topics.
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V. Jefferson - WR
Van Jefferson caught 6-of-7 targets for 46 yards and a touchdown in Los Angeles' Divisional Round loss to the Packers.
Jefferson played behind Josh Reynolds for a majority of the season, getting out-snapped 802-256 for the team's No. 3 receiver role, but did respond with 10/96/1 on 15 targets when asked to slide into the lineup for Cooper Kupp in Week 17 and the Divisional Round. With a second-round pedigree and, more importantly, Reynolds presumably out the door in free agency, Jefferson will open 2021 as a terrific late-round flier, dynasty league buy, and starter in three-wide sets under coach Sean McVay.
Added 9:43 pm (EST)
Josh Reynolds caught 3-of-4 targets for 65 yards in Los Angeles' Divisional Round loss to Green Bay.
26 in February, Reynolds will presumably hit the open market fresh off career-highs in targets (81), catches (52), and receiving yards (618) as Los Angeles' third receiver. The writing was on the wall the moment the organization pulled the trigger on Van Jefferson in the second round, but Reynolds still logged a career-high 802 snaps (72%) for an offense that called the league's sixth-most pass plays from 11 personnel. Given his age and experience under coach Sean McVay, Reynolds will likely garner a significant contract as a starter in free agency.
Added 9:33 pm (EST)
Jared Goff completed 21-of-27 passes for 174 yards and one score in Los Angeles' 32-18 Divisional Round loss to the Packers.
Although he closed the year with a gutsy performance (and surgically-repaired thumb) at Lambeau Field, Goff's 3,952 passing yards in 2020 would've fallen well short of the 4,600 he tossed in both of his last two campaigns even if he was available for the team's Week 17 game against the Cardinals. His final box score will show a career-high 67% completion rate across 15 starts, but the 26-year-old still struggled immensely under pressure and cowardly finished ahead of only Alex Smith (3.8), Jimmy Garoppolo (3.9), and Drew Brees (6.3) in air yards per attempt (6.5). Unfortunately for the Rams, Goff's $34.6 million cap hit in 2021 — fifth-highest among all players next year — ensures he'll be back under McVay for at least one more run.
Added 9:17 pm (EST)
Cooper Kupp (knee) won't play in the Divisional Round against the Packers.
Kupp was bound for regression in 2020 after converting 6-of-10 targets inside the 10-yard line into touchdowns the year prior, but he still encouragingly finished second on the team in targets (124) behind Robert Woods (129) in back-to-back years. He showed no signs of slowing down after being used as a part-time player to close the 2019 season, yet again accruing 90-plus catches in only his second year removed from a torn ACL. Although his yards per target (7.9) dipped to a career-low mark from Jared Goff this year, Kupp will again be ranked alongside Woods as a low-end WR2 given his guaranteed role with the Rams for the 2021 season.
Added 9:15 pm (EST)
Robert Woods caught 8-of-10 targets for 48 yards in Los Angeles' Divisional Round loss to the Packers.
Woods again led the Rams in targets (129) and air yards (1,169) in 2020, matching a career-high in touchdown receptions (6) while rushing for 150-plus yards for the second time in the last three years. He’s quietly accrued at least 129 targets in every season since 2018, suiting up for 47 of a possible 48 regular season games in that span. Although Woods has consistently averaged a 23% target share from Jared Goff the past three years, it’s possible the former sees a slight uptick in volume for the 2021 season since Josh Reynolds is likely to land elsewhere in free agency. Woods will inevitably be tied to the hip with Cooper Kupp in offseason rankings, but it’s Woods who remains the more valuable option between the two in a vacuum moving forward.
Added 9:05 pm (EST)
Cam Akers rushed 18 times for 90 yards and a touchdown in the Rams' Divisional Round loss to Green Bay.
Akers actually opened the year as Los Angeles' starter but suffered a drastic rib injury in Week 2 and failed to get up to speed behind Darrell Henderson until December, rushing for 201 yards and zero touchdowns through his first eight career games. That all changed following Akers' 61-yard run for an otherwise flaccid offense in Week 12, forcing coach Sean McVay to hand over the reins and allow the rookie to run for 141/645/4, 20.1 carries per game, and 5.2 yards per touch across his last seven performances. With Malcolm Brown unlikely to be brought back in free agency, Akers will arguably open the summer as a top-seven running back and second-round selection for 2021 fantasy drafts.
Added 8:48 pm (EST)
A.J. Dillon rushed six times for 27 yards in the Packers' Divisional Round win against the Rams.
Dillon was surprisingly involved for 6-of-33 backfield touches after handling just one carry in Green Bay's must-win Week 17 game against the Bears. He also suffered a potential injury in the final quarter, coming up limp after fumbling the ball (which Aaron Rodgers promptly recovered) before Rodgers iced the game with a 58-yard touchdown to Allen Lazard. Given that near-catastrophic event, Dillon could potentially remain glued to the bench in the Conference Championship round.
Added 8:41 pm (EST)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught 4-of-8 targets for 33 yards in Green Bay's Divisional Round win against the Rams.
MVS saw as many targets as Allen Lazard (4/96/1) but failed to break loose for his usual opportunity over the top. His lone downfield target along the sideline was actually blown out of bounds by the wind coming from the player's tunnel. At the end of the day, Valdes-Scantling's most impactful play was a four-yard gain in the fourth quarter to keep the team's final possession alive for Aaron Rodgers to find Lazard for a 58-yard touchdown just two plays later. Given their similar volume, MVS will still be a viable pivot off Lazard for any two-game DFS slates in the Conference Championship round.
Added 8:35 pm (EST)