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Robert Woods Traded to Titans: Fantasy Football Impact Analysis

When the Rams brought in Allen Robinson, my first response was "that's a bunch of receivers." Evidently, the Rams thought the same thing, as they shipped one of their wideouts, Robert Woods, off to Tennessee.

Woods, who tore his ACL in November, will team up with A.J. Brown in what should be a solid receiving corps for the Titans and quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

But will it be? Can two receivers maintain relevance in this run-first offense? And where does this leave the Rams? Let's look at some fantasy angles to this.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Robert Woods Trade: Fantasy Impact on Titans

Last year, Tennessee tried to shore up their receiver position by bringing in Julio Jones.

That, uhh...did not really work.

Jones played in 10 games for the Titans and posted career lows in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Notably, his overall numbers were worse than they were in 2013 when Jones played in just five games.

So, what did Tennessee do? Got another injured receiver to replace him! (Joking. Mostly.)

Woods appears to be on track to be ready by the start of the season barring a setback, so fantasy managers should head into 2022 with the belief that Woods will serve as the No. 2 receiver for the Titans.

But just because he's on the field doesn't mean he'll be the same Robert Woods.

The data is a little outdated, but in 2018 NBC crunched some numbers on ACL tears and wide receivers, determining that of the 20 players in the sample that was looked at, six never returned post-tear, seven saw a decline in production, and seven saw improved production. The players who improved were an average age of 25.2 though — Woods is 29, which adds some extra concern about how he'll look when he suits up in Tennessee.

Because of this, I don't really think that Woods hurts A.J. Brown's value. Brown will likely see 100 targets for the third year in a row and hopefully will be able to get back in the end zone more consistently, as he had five touchdowns last season after having 11 in 2020. Brown's a mid/low-end WR1.

As for Woods, I think two things can both be true: the injury saps away some of his value but he's also more valuable as the clear No. 2 guy in Tennessee than he would have been as part of the Rams committee, even if we lived in a mythical world where Woods hadn't been hurt last year.

From 2018 to 2020, Woods averaged 96 catches and 1190 yards per 17 games. He served as a reliable weapon for Jared Goff. And pre-injury, he was averaging 61.8 yards per game in 2021 for Matthew Stafford's Rams.

He's not reaching those numbers. The Titans run too much for Woods to be the solid fantasy WR2 that he was in Los Angeles. But he can likely provide some WR3/4 value for you, with the caveat that the way the Titans play will definitely lead to a few real stinkers from Woods.

Still, depending on where his ADP settles, I'd take a chance on him around where the WR30 would go off the board.

As for the rest of the Titans offense, Woods likely doesn't impact how reliant this team is on the run. He doesn't take Ryan Tannehill out of the "streaming QB2 option" territory. He makes me lose any interest I had in Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, but I didn't have much interest in him anyway.

As for tight end, Austin Hooper joining the Titans could hurt Brown and Woods a little, but Hooper has never really been the player we want him to be, has he? He's a solid TE2 with some upside.

 

Robert Woods Trade: Fantasy Impact on Rams

After signing Allen Robinson, the Rams had the following receivers on their team: Van Jefferson, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, and Robert Woods, plus Odell Beckham Jr. is a free agent but is rumored to re-sign with the team. That's a really good lineup of players. It's also one that's impossible to use effectively. Los Angeles wasn't going to spread it out with five wideouts and run some kind of college gimmick offense, as fun as that would have been to watch.

Something had to give. And that something was Robert Woods' place on the team.

This simplifies things. Let's work under the assumption that Odell Beckham Jr. will be back. He is also coming off of a torn ACL, only this happened in the Super Bowl, so there's far less time to be ready for the start of the 2022 season. He'll show up at some point, but for the first few weeks at least, I'd expect to see the Rams running a pretty simple lineup at receiver: Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, and Van Jefferson.

The Rams continue to be a team that relies heavily on 11 personnel, which is when a team has three receivers, one running back, and one tight end on the floor. Per Sharp Football Stats, the team ran 11 on 86% of the team's total plays last season. The second-highest was Cincinnati at 77%.

This means that with Woods gone and Odell injured, those three guys will spend a lot of time on the field.

Let's pretend Robinson slides into the Odell role. In the last game that the team had all its receivers healthy — the NFC title game — we saw Kupp play 100% of the snaps, Jefferson 87%, and Beckham 86%. I think it's fair to think that for the first month or so, the snap rates will look similar, with maybe something like 5-10% fewer snaps for each just because regular-season games don't necessarily require you to play Cooper Kupp for 100% of the game.

In this case, I think we should consider Kupp to be a high-end WR1 again. In fact, with Davante Adams now in Vegas and Tyreek Hill now in Miami, I see Kupp as the overall No. 1 fantasy option at the position. Woods being traded or not traded didn't really impact that.

What the trade does do is clear Robinson to be considered a WR2/3 option. He's a WR2 early in the year. He likely falls to a low-end WR3 when Odell returns just because of the uncertainty of who gets what snaps.

Jefferson is more of a WR4/5. The role is more clear now but he is the No. 3 option with Odell out and the No. 4 option when Odell returns. He'll be hard to trust, but it's worth noting he did have seven games last year with 50 or more yards. There's some appeal there as a bye week or injury replacement.



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