Robert Woods Injury: Fantasy impact on Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham, and Van Jefferson

In a bit of late breaking news, reports have surfaced indicating Los Angeles Rams WR Robert Woods suffered a torn ACL in the leadup to their Monday Night Football game in Week 10. With little time until Week 10 is underway, how will Robert Woods’ injury impact the fantasy football stock of fellow Rams wide receivers Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, and newly acquired Odell Beckham Jr.?

Rams WR Robert Woods suffered a torn ACL on Friday

On Saturday, ESPN NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini reported Woods suffered a torn ACL during the team’s practice on Friday. According to Schefter, Woods went down in practice but got up and finished the session. He even conducted interviews with the media, and no one suspected anything was wrong.

However, further testing showed Woods tore his ACL, which will end his 2021 season. Peter Schrager of Fox Sports also reported the injury came on a jet sweep when Woods planted his foot and felt something go wrong. Given the timing of his injury, Woods will be looking at a potential return around the start of next season, assuming his rehab goes well.

Woods had been playing well this season in a high-powered Rams offense led by Matthew Stafford. The veteran wideout had recorded 45 receptions (69 targets) for 556 yards and 4 touchdowns. While he was the No. 2 option on his own team, Woods is the WR12 in PPR scoring, averaging 15.2 fantasy points per game (23rd).

There were ups and downs throughout the year, but Woods seemed to have turned a corner regarding consistency, finishing as a WR2 or better (top-24) in four of his last five games.

Odell Beckham Jr. becomes even more critical for the Rams

When the Rams signed Beckham Jr. on Thursday, even they didn’t know his addition would become so significant so quickly. Following the loss of Woods, Beckham Jr. now slides into the No. 2 role on a Rams offense that is fifth in the league in scoring (29 points per game) and throws on 59.2% of its plays.

The potential upside is massive for Beckham Jr., as he is now in the best situation of his career. Stafford is playing fantastic football and currently leads the NFL in yardage (307.9 per game) with 23 touchdowns. 

The question becomes whether or not Beckham Jr. actually brings the same level of upside or potential production we had become accustomed to from Woods. The potential is there for OBJ to be a WR2 for the rest of the season — but he’s certainly not a sure thing. Since coming back from his own ACL tear in 2020, Beckham Jr. had recorded 17 receptions on 34 targets in his six games with the Browns, totaling 232 yards with no touchdowns. 

Beckham Jr. will make his debut on Monday Night Football against the San Francisco 49ers, per Schefter. He will see a larger role than initially suspected, and it will be telling how Sean McVay opts to utilize him. OBJ comes in as a WR3 against a 49ers defense that allows over 33 fantasy points per game to opposing WRs.  

Van Jefferson is a must-roster player in fantasy

I know all of the attention is going towards Beckham Jr. due to his name value. But Van Jefferson might be the player who sees the more significant gain in fantasy value.

Jefferson has quickly gained the trust of Stafford this season. The second-year player has seen action on 78% of the Rams’ offensive snaps, and he’s running routes roughly 95% of the time he’s on the field for a dropback. 

Jefferson is already having a career year, recording 27 receptions on 46 targets (14.6%) for 433 yards with 3 touchdowns. His current aDOT (average depth of target) is sitting at 13.3 yards down the field, nearly 5 yards further downfield than either Kupp (8.4) or Woods (8.5).

The value gap between Jefferson and Beckham Jr. is a lot closer than I think many people want to admit. Jefferson seems to be coming into his own in the Rams’ electric offense and is likely a WR3/flex player the remainder of the year. He should not be on the waiver wire in 12-team leagues (currently 37% rostered).

Cooper Kupp is the rest-of-season WR1 for fantasy

The Woods injury, if anything, further separates Kupp from guys like Davante Adams or Tyreek Hill, who are the only players in the conversation for the rest-of-season WR1 spot. Kupp is on a different level right now. He is the WR1 in PPR scoring, averaging 26.2 fantasy points per game, 5.5 more than second-place Deebo Samuel. 

Kupp is leading all players in receiving yards (1,019), receptions (74), touchdowns (10), and targets (103). He is already seeing 32.2% of LA’s target share, which is the highest of any player for their individual team. There is not much else Kupp can be asked to do. Beckham Jr. and Jefferson will handle Woods’ vacated workload. Kupp, who already sees 11.4 targets per game, won’t have more added to his plate. 

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