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What Brandin Cooks’ departure means for Rams fantasy football prospects

The Rams removed another piece on offense by trading Brandin Cooks. We break down what it means for the rest of the roster.

Los Angeles Rams Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks and Los Angeles Rams Wide Receiver Robert Woods look on during an NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams on September 15, 2019, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams continued their brisk offseason of turnover by trading wide receiver Brandin Cooks and a 2022 fourth round pick to the Houston Texans for a second round pick. The Texans’ direction is tough to figure out, but it is also notable how much change the Rams are implementing.

The Rams have a host of salary cap issues, but for the purposes of this article, let’s just focus on who is on the roster. The team parted ways with Todd Gurley and is now moving on from Cooks. Much like Gurley’s departure impacts the backfield for fantasy football purposes, Cooks’ departure shakes up the pass catchers.

Fantasy analysis

Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods were Jared Goff’s top top receivers. Kupp caught 94 passes for 1,161 yards and ten touchdowns, while Woods caught 90 passes for 1,134 yards and two touchdowns. Cooks was third on the depth chart in a disappointing 2019, catching 42 passes for 583 yards and two touchdowns.

While we wait to see what the 2020 NFL Draft brings to the Rams roster, Kupp and Woods could be in line for a larger share of targets. They were already productive, so the bigger question might be what this could mean for Josh Reynolds. In 16 games, Reynolds caught 21 passes for 326 yards and one touchdown. He was behind three receivers and two tight ends, but barring a day one or day two draft pick, Reynolds could work his way into the third receiver role. He filled in at times when Kupp and Woods got hurt, so he’s a guy who could become a fringe fantasy option.

Tight end Tyler Higbee was solidly productive over 15 games, catching 69 passes for 734 yards and three touchdowns. He ranked 11th in fantasy points per game in both standard and PPR leagues, and also DraftKings DFS leagues. Cooks’ departure could boost him, but it depends on what kind of target share Gerald Everett draws. If Higbee gets the starting nod, he could turn into a top ten tight end if Jared Goff can bounce back from a shaky 2019.

Goff is the big question at this point. He’s lost Cooks and Gurley after taking a step back last season. Goff ranked 13th in total fantasy points for quarterbacks last season, but was 22nd in points per game. It’s hard to see him bouncing back into QB1 territory for the time being. Maybe he’s a fringe option, but it’s hard to get too excited about his chances in 2020.