Van Jefferson, Tyler Higbee Fantasy Outlook for Week 11 with Cooper Kupp Injured

Adam WellsNovember 18, 2022

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 30: Van Jefferson #12 of the Los Angeles Rams warms up before a game against the San Francisco 49ers at SoFi Stadium on October 30, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Fantasy managers who were able to count on Cooper Kupp for consistent production find themselves in a bad spot for the rest of the season.

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay announced this week his star will be placed on injured reserve after having surgery to repair a high ankle sprain.

While McVay didn't rule out Kupp returning before the end of the season, he will miss a minimum of four weeks. The earliest he will be eligible to return is the Rams' Week 15 game against the Green Bay Packers.

Kupp has been the only offensive standout for the reigning Super Bowl champs thus far. He has 98 targets, 75 receptions, 812 receiving yards and seven total touchdowns. The rest of the team's pass-catchers have 219 targets, 146 receptions, 1,337 yards and nine total touchdowns.

If you subscribe to the old fantasy theory that someone has to catch passes in this offense, you might be able to talk yourself into one of the Rams' pass-catchers.

The Rams bet on Allen Robinson during the offseason when he signed a three-year, $46.5 million deal as a free agent.

Robinson got the deal despite coming off the worst season of his career in 2021. Usually one of the most dependable fantasy receivers in the NFL, the 29-year-old had just 38 receptions, 410 yards and one touchdown in 12 games with the Chicago Bears.

He averaged 1,199 receiving yards, 100 receptions and 153 targets over the previous two seasons. No other player on the Bears had more than 61 catches or 631 yards in 2020.

If Robinson's decline was only down to playing for an inept Chicago offense, putting him in Sean McVay's system next to Kupp seemed like reason enough to expect him to get back to those pre-2021 numbers.

Through nine games thus far, it seems Robinson's decline may not be entirely because of the Bears offense. He has 292 yards and two touchdowns on 29 receptions.

Van Jefferson had 802 yards and six touchdowns in 17 starts last season. He ranked 31st overall among all wide receivers in PPR leagues with 118.2 points, per Fantasy Pros. Injuries caused him to miss the first six games, but he has just 27 yards on three catches in three games since Week 8.

Tyler Higbee was a decent sleeper tight end coming into the season. The 29-year-old suffered a knee injury in the NFC Championship Game that required surgery. He racked up 560 yards and tied his career high with five touchdowns during the 2021 regular season.

Given how weak tight end is in fantasy right now, betting on Higbee as a starter isn't a bad option. He was a borderline TE1 in 2021 with 86 points in PPR leagues. He ranks second on the Rams with 385 receiving yards on 44 receptions, though he has yet to find the end zone.

None of these options is especially appealing, even if Matthew Stafford returns this week after sitting out Week 10 with a concussion.

Maybe Higbee's value increases slightly because he's been the No. 2 option after Kupp and fantasy production from tight ends overall in 2022 has been dreadful.