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Countdown to 2021 fantasy football drafts: Cooper Kupp No. 53

Cooper Kupp comes in at 53 in our fantasy football rankings countdown to the 2021 NFL season.

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.  Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cooper Kupp has been a strong fantasy player over his first four seasons in the league. Even last season, which was a poor one for the Rams offensively, Kupp still managed to finish 26th in fantasy scoring for wide receivers despite scoring just three touchdowns. The season before he had a 10 touchdowns. This season he’ll have a new quarterback throwing him the ball. Will Kupp have a bounce back season?

To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.

Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.

The official and often updated fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.

No. 53, Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams, WR

Kupp has had an extremely productive career, as he’s averaged over five receptions per game through his first 54 games in the league. An injury derailed his 2018 season, which was off to a great start, but he was able to put together his best season in 2019 when he caught 94-of-134 targets for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns. 2020 saw a decline for the Rams offense as Jared Goff took another step back, which hurt the team as a whole.

Competition for touches

The Rams spread the ball around well, but with just two go-to receivers in Robert Woods and Kupp, they both get a good amount of work. Last season Woods had 130 targets to Kupp’s 125 and Kupp missed a game. Josh Reynolds was third with 81 targets but moved on in free agency. The team brought in DeSean Jackson and drafted Tutu Atwell, while Van Jefferson will be in his second season. None of these guys should be considered an impediment to either Woods or Kupp getting their looks.

Team offensive expectations

The Rams have high expectations for their offense due to the addition of Matthew Stafford from the Lions. We saw what Goff and Sean McVay were capable offensively over the last few years. Stafford isn’t the second coming of Peyton Manning, but Goff did the offense no favors the last couple seasons and Stafford should be a real upgrade.

What’s his upside?

Kupp has tremendous upside as a receiver set to get 130+ targets in an offense we’ve seen put up big numbers in the past. Another 90+ receptions, 1,100+ yards and 10 touchdowns is very much in his range with upside for a bit more if things all go to plan in Los Angeles.

What’s his downside?

The Rams biggest question will be if they can keep Stafford protected and how quickly he can get on the same page with McVay. There will be growing pains, but how quickly they can move past them will determine how much downside the Rams offense and Kupp really have.

Projection

95 receptions, 135 targets, 1150 yards, 8 touchdowns