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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Skyler Carlin

Fantasy football: Analyzing Van Jefferson’s outlook in 2023

The Los Angeles Rams have a plethora of uncertainties on the offensive side of the ball ahead of training camp. While Cooper Kupp figures to be a popular pick in the first round of fantasy football drafts, the No. 2 wideout on the depth chart, Van Jefferson, is being taken much later.

Fantasy drafts of all kinds are popular at this time of year and Jefferson is currently the 188th overall player and WR75 off the board, according to FantasyPros. That puts him behind wideouts like Curtis Samuel and Parris Campbell, and slightly ahead of rookie Jayden Reed.

With Matthew Stafford healthy and throwing this offseason, Jefferson has gotten an opportunity to strengthen his rapport with the veteran quarterback. Jefferson dealt with a knee ailment last offseason and was sidelined for six games in 2022.

In the 11 games (nine starts) that Jefferson was active for last season, he caught only 24 of his 44 targets for 369 yards and three touchdowns. The former second-round pick suffered from inconsistent quarterback play with Stafford sidelined, and his numbers declined, as a result.

Amid a forgettable campaign, Jefferson concluded the 2022 season as WR89 in half-PPR formats. He also registered only 6.7 fantasy points per game, which was 0.1 points lower than Allen Robinson, who was traded by the Rams earlier this offseason.

Besides Robinson’s departure opening up more targets for himself, Jefferson is just one year removed from being WR35 in half-PPR leagues. Even though Tutu Atwell, rookie Puka Nacua, and Ben Skowronek could see increased snaps in 2023, Jefferson will be on the field during two wide receiver sets for the Rams.

Along with his expanded role in the passing attack, Jefferson could benefit from more usage due to the defense being much worse in the upcoming season. The Rams are going to have a handful of inexperienced players contributing on defense, which could lead to more come-from-behind scenarios.

The second wide receiver in the majority of offenses are going much earlier than Jefferson in fantasy football drafts. Assuming Stafford can remain healthy for a decent portion of the season, Jefferson is poised to be a massive value pick at his current ADP (average draft position) entering the 2023 season.

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