Analytics Site Predicts Yardage Increase for 5 Rams on Offense

Robert Woods Tyler Higbee

Getty Robert Woods and Tyler Higbee are two members of the Los Angeles Rams offense predicted by one analytics site to have a yardage increase this upcoming season. The prediction was released on June 20.

The question was unveiled on social media at approximately 10 a.m. PT on Father’s Day: Do the Los Angeles Rams have a top five offense?

The Rams have a unit that sagged to No. 22 overall in 2020, plus has seen a decline in offensive productivity since head coach Sean McVay’s first season at the helm when he produced the league’s best unit.

However, analytics website Pro Football Focus had strong praise for the 2021 Rams offense. The PFF Fantasy Football Twitter account announced its projected yardage numbers for five members of the 2021 Rams offense, which predicts a yardage climb for all five.

One likely reason for the numbers prediction: How aggressive the Rams were in free agency and the NFL Draft in making upgrades on offense. From the team swapping Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford, to adding veteran deep-threat DeSean Jackson to drafting three wide receivers (two of them, Ben Skowronek and Jacob Harris, having a tight end’s background) including spending their first selection on Tutu Atwell at No. 57, the Rams are clearly adamant about re-striking fear into the hearts of defenders when they have the football.

Now, PFF Fantasy Football is a believer that five Rams have the potential to thrive this season.

Stafford’s 2021 Prediction by PFF

One takeaway in the PFF fantasy projections: Stafford’s predicted passing yardage.

The analytics site believes the 13-year veteran will throw for 4,538 yards in his first season with McVay and the Rams. If this projection becomes accurate by regular season’s end, it’ll mark the ninth time in Stafford’s career that he’ll throw for more than 4,000 yards but his most since the 2017 season when he racked up 4,446 aerial yards.

Before his L.A. arrival, there was a time when Stafford was putting up consistent 4,000-yard seasons with the Detroit Lions. From 2011 to 2017, Stafford had one of the greatest yardage stretches in recent memory: Throwing between 4,262 yards to 5,038 during that span. And his latter number in the 2011 season started the streak of throwing excellence for the quarterback.

Stafford, however, has since struggled to top the 4K mark. He left the Motor City with one more 4,000-yard campaign in a span of three seasons: 4,084 yards during the Lions’ 5-11 record in 2020. But the change of scenery and new weaponry around him points to Stafford putting up higher numbers this time. Ian Hartitz of PFF dove into Stafford’s fantasy outlook in a June 5 video seen below.

Fantasy Files: Matthew Stafford and the Rams sure look good on paper | PFFHost Ian Hartitz breaks down Matthew Stafford's fantasy outlook ahead of the 2021 season. Ian starts things off by noting that Stafford's lack of success in the win column with the Lions wasn't exactly on him. 2019 and 2020 in particular demonstrated Stafford's upside with an offensive coordinator more willing to feature his bazooka of…2021-06-05T15:43:11Z

Second-year RB Among Those Predicted to Have a Numbers Spike

Stafford isn’t the only one expected to do damage in the Rams’ offense. Second-year running back Cam Akers is anticipated to carry the potential he displayed from last season into 2021.

Akers, who combined for 748 total yards in his NFL debut last year, is predicted to collect 1,377 yards as a running/receiving threat this upcoming year. McVay told reporters on June 4 that he likes the improving work ethic of Akers.

Tight end Tyler Higbee is another penciled in to see a stats increase. PFF lists him as having a 660-yard receiving year, which would be his most since 2019 when he finished with 734 yards. Pro Football Focus has given praise to the 6-foot-6 Higbee before, listing him as the 18th best TE for the 2021 season in a May 19 article.

Lastly, the wide receiving duo of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are anticipated to see an increase in yardage in the upcoming 17-game season. Woods is projected to finish with 962 receiving yards, which would be 26 yards more than his 2020 mark. Kupp is picked by PFF to have his second-career 1,000-yard season with a projection of 1,066 yards, which would represent a 92-yard elevation from last season.