I didn’t have much hope for the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season. Visiting the division rival Seattle Seahawks in the Emerald City was not a great matchup to start the season. On top of this, having to play without the team’s star wide receiver, Cooper Kupp, seemed like a recipe for disaster.
While the Rams struggled throughout last season, they came out with a strong offensive attack to begin the season. QB Matthew Stafford was accurate and moved the ball consistently. But without Kupp on the field, who made this production possible? Let’s take a look at one of the Rams’ strongest Week 1 performers at wide receiver and see if he deserves a waiver bid this week in fantasy football leagues.
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Should Tutu Atwell Be a Fantasy Waiver Wire Add in Week 2?
The Los Angeles Rams were able to move the ball through the air all day against the Seattle Seahawks. Stafford completed 24 of his 38 attempts for 334 yards.
After the game, much of the conversation revolved around rookie receiver Puka Nacua. The rookie finished with 119 yards, catching 10 passes on 15 targets. While certainly impressive for a rookie, he wasn’t the lone leading wide receiver for the Rams; nor the leader in yards per catch.
Third-year wide receiver Tutu Atwell saw Nacua’s 119 yards and matched it on four fewer catches — the highlight being a 44-yard bomb that set up the Rams deep in the Seahawks’ territory.
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While many were surprised at the fifth-round rookie having a big day, Atwell’s performance was even more shocking. In 21 career games that he was active before Sunday, Atwell tallied only 18 receptions for 298 yards. In one day of work, Atwell upped his career yards per game from 14.19 to 18.95 yards.
This brings us to the all-important question: Is Tutu Atwell worth a waiver wire bid in Week 2? Well, if he is going to continue to have performances like Sunday in Kupp’s absence, absolutely. But look at those career yards per game. This isn’t a player who has done a whole lot before this.
The reality is that Atwell may have been the beneficiary of the Rams and Matthew Stafford having to turn to other receivers for targets. Atwell is a speedy receiver, and the Seahawks may have been taking him too lightly. But he has gotten the attention of opposing defensive coordinators now.
A player with this little production through two seasons rarely flips a switch and becomes fantasy-relevant for an entire season. I would be very cautious about a bid on Atwell if you are thinking about making one.
I would only be willing to spend about 1-2% of the yearly FAAB budget on Atwell at this current time. There is no denying he had a very strong performance on Sunday, but the likelihood of this continuing is fairly low — especially if Cooper Kupp is able to return to action in a few weeks.
Kupp commanded 28% of the Rams targets in games he was healthy a season ago. Nacua saw 39.5% of the Rams targets on Sunday. Even in a game where the Rams were shorthanded, Atwell didn’t see 21% of the Rams’ offensive snaps.
Atwell’s opportunity to see targets diminishes significantly as Kupp gets closer to being healthy. We just can’t count on him getting enough production to spend significant waiver money on him.