Is Rams QB Jared Goff now a Fantasy Football sleeper for 2020?

After a Jeff Fisher driven dismal rookie year with the Los Angeles Rams, the arrival of Sean McVay unlocked Jared Goff in 2017. The No. 1 overall pick in 2016 was a top-12 fantasy quarterback in both 2017 (QB12) and 2018 (QB7). If you take away Week 17 of 2017, he was a top-10 fantasy signal caller that year too (QB8).

But things went downhill for the Rams last year, and Goff was no exception. He led the league in pass attempts (626), but his touchdown total dropped to 22 (from 32 in 2018) and his interception total rose (to 16, from 12 in 2018) as his peripheral numbers (yards per attempt, passer rating, etc.) dropped too. So naturally, Goff came in at QB15 in fantasy for the year last year (through Week 16).

Per numberFire’s metrics, Goff’s average dropback came against the league’s 14.5-ranked pass defense. That’s the fifth-lowest among quarterbacks with at least 200 dropbacks last year, and his rate of dropbacks (24.4 percent) against bottom-20 pass defenses the the second-lowest among full-time starting quarterbacks (behind only Baker Mayfield). Two games against the San Francisco 49ers will continue to be a challenge, and the Seattle Seahawks again have the makings of a tough secondary.

Over his final five games in 2019 with the Rams, including Week 17, Goff averaged close to 329 passing yards per game with 11 passing touchdowns (multiple touchdowns in each outing) and four interceptions. He topped 300 yards through the air three times in that span (over 400 yards once), with a low-water mark of 284 yards. Focusing on Week 13-Week 16, the end of the fantasy football season for most people, his weekly finishes went QB6, QB15, QB13 and QB9.

The schedule for Goff looks slightly softer for this year, as much as anything related to strength of schedule actually matters.

In all three seasons under McVay, the Rams have had one of the three fastest-paced offenses in the NFL.

The Rams’ cap situation has led to a few significant losses on the defensive side of the ball this offseason. Corey Littleton, Dante Fowler Jr. and Nickell Robey-Coleman are gone. Clay Matthews was cut and Eric Weddle retired, so five prominent pieces of last year’s defense are gone and not easily replaced. A full season with cornerback Jalen Ramsey will be good, but opposing teams can avoid his coverage and reap profits elsewhere.

Fantasy Football Calculator’s current ADP data has Goff at QB15 (pick 10.11) in 12-team standard leagues, and QB16 (pick 11.02) in 12-team PPR leagues. It’s very early, obviously, but the bloom is clearly off the Goff rose now and it’s unlikely his ADP will move a lot when drafts really get rolling.

Purely from the Rams’ perspective, Goff ideally will not lead the league in pass attempts again this year. But the defense is certain to be worse, and a running game that lost Todd Gurley creates potential for plenty of aerial volume. It would be an upset if Goff isn’t among the leaders in attempts again.

Waiting to draft a quarterback is good fantasy strategy. Those that drafted Goff last year probably had to reach for him a bit based on faith in a repeat of 2018, and of course wound up disappointed. But he’s set to be a nice value on draft day this year, with solid and legit top-10 upside at a mid-to-high end QB2 price.

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