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Factoid

Rams wideouts

Can Jefferson step up?

Odell Beckham did in fact tear his ACL in the Super Bowl, a tough blow to a guy entering free agency. He's said he wants to return to the Rams, and this will certainly keep his asking price down. Imagining him being on the field in an NFL game 7 months from now is pretty optimistic.

Beckham's status is just one of the significant questions facing the Super Bowl champs, who can expect upheaval also at running back (Sony Michel a free agent, Cam Akers a playoff disappointment) and with several older players either contemplating retirement (Andrew Whitworth, Aaron Donald) or hitting free agency (Von Miller). For fantasy purposes, the wide receiver situation joins running back as one of the two most interesting ones.

Although Beckham didn't make it through the entire Super Bowl, his early touchdown was a key play, and his second half of the season with the team -- which aligned perfectly with the loss of Robert Woods to a torn ACL of his own -- was critical to Los Angeles even getting there. Had they needed to rely on Van Jefferson as their No. 2 in those games, a Lombardi Trophy would look a lot less likely.

Jefferson had plenty of opportunity, but it would be hard for anyone to say he made the most of it. Among Rams wideouts last season, he was the least effective in terms of hauling in passes thrown his way. One of the least effective in the NFL, actually, among all wide receivers with at least 60 targets during the season.

Some of that is based heavily on the routes those guys are running (Rondale Moore ran a lot of routes around the line of scrimmage while Robby Anderson ran a lot of fly patterns), and some is on the accuracy of the quarterback (also a negative for Anderson, as well as Kenny Golladay). But those catch rates are a whole lot better for not only Cooper Kupp but also Woods and Beckham (with the Rams) than for Jefferson.

Table shows all wide receivers with at least 60 targets last year. Beckham's numbers are divided between his work with the Rams (middle of the pack) and Browns (awful).

WIDE RECEIVER CATCH RATES, 2021
PlayerTgtRecYdsAvgTDRate
Rondale Moore64544358.1184.4%
Hunter Renfrow128103103810.1980.5%
Kendrick Bourne705580014.6578.6%
Chris Godwin12798110311.3577.2%
Cooper Kupp191145194713.41675.9%
Amon-Ra St. Brown1199091210.1575.6%
Christian Kirk1037798212.8574.8%
Jaylen Waddle14010410159.8674.3%
Cedrick Wilson614560213.4673.8%
Cole Beasley112826938.5173.2%
Davante Adams169123155312.61172.8%
Jamison Crowder71514478.8271.8%
Tyler Boyd946782812.4571.3%
Mecole Hardman835969311.8271.1%
Braxton Berrios65464319.4270.8%
Adam Thielen956772610.81070.5%
Russell Gage946677011.7470.2%
Byron Pringle604256813.5570.0%
Tyreek Hill159111123911.2969.8%
Quez Watkins624364715.1169.4%
Tyler Lockett10773117516.1868.2%
Michael Pittman12988108212.3668.2%
Antonio Brown624254513.0467.7%
Rashod Bateman684651511.2167.6%
Kalif Raymond714857612.0467.6%
Keenan Allen157106113810.7667.5%
Tee Higgins11074109114.7667.3%
Brandin Cooks13490103711.5667.2%
Zay Jones704754611.6167.1%
Brandon Aiyuk845682614.8566.7%
Allen Lazard604051312.8866.7%
Adam Humphries62413839.3066.1%
Jakobi Meyers1268386610.4265.9%
CeeDee Lamb12079110214.0665.8%
DeAndre Hopkins644257213.6865.6%
Amari Cooper1046886512.7865.4%
Robert Woods694555612.4465.2%
Mike Evans11474103514.01464.9%
Justin Jefferson167108161615.01064.7%
Deebo Samuel12177140518.3663.6%
Diontae Johnson169107116110.9863.3%
JaMarr Chase12881145518.01363.3%
Laviska Shenault100636199.8063.0%
Odell Beckham (LAR)432730511.3562.8%
Stefon Diggs164103122511.91062.8%
Tim Patrick855373413.9562.4%
Marquise Brown14691100811.1662.3%
DeVonta Smith1046491614.3561.5%
K.J. Osborn825065513.1761.0%
Marvin Jones1207383211.4460.8%
A.J. Brown1056386913.8560.0%
Jarvis Landry875257011.0259.8%
Terry McLaurin13077105313.7559.2%
Courtland Sutton985877613.4259.2%
Ray-Ray McCloud66392777.1059.1%
Mike Williams12976114615.1958.9%
A.J. Green925484815.7358.7%
Emmanuel Sanders724262614.9458.3%
DK Metcalf1297596712.91258.1%
Darnell Mooney14081105513.0457.9%
Nelson Agholor643747312.8357.8%
Allen Robinson663841010.8157.6%
DJ Moore16393115712.4457.1%
Michael Gallup623544512.7256.5%
Chase Claypool1055986014.6256.2%
Van Jefferson895080216.0656.2%
Elijah Moore774353812.5555.8%
Gabriel Davis633554915.7655.6%
Zach Pascal693838410.1355.1%
DeVante Parker734051512.9254.8%
Marquez Callaway844669815.2654.8%
Nico Collins613344613.5154.1%
Kenny Golladay763752114.1048.7%
Robby Anderson110535199.8548.2%
Odell Beckham (CLE)391723213.6043.6%

Not that wide receiver is one of the bigger issues for Rams fans to be concerned about, but they'll need either Woods or Beckham, or both, to be healthy and available at the start of the season. There's not a lot of evidence that they want to be relying on Jefferson in that No. 2 spot.

--Andy Richardson

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