TE Tyler Higbee - Los Angeles Rams
|6-6, 249||Born: 1-1-1993||College: Western Kentucky||Drafted: Round 4, pick 2016|
Week 21: vs New England Patriots
FBG says: Tough matchup. Jared Goff has been up and down this season but was great when he needed to be against the Saints in the championship. Goff over his last seven games has thrown for 216 yards or less in five of those games and has thrown for under 60% completion percentage in four of those games. The Rams offense has primarily evolved into a run-first offense setting up the play-action pass and is an offense that is designed to play with the lead. The struggles for the Rams in the passing game have been primarily driven by the lack of consistent options outside of Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. The Rams desperately miss Todd Gurley's elusiveness out of the backfield if nothing more than to keep the defense honest with drawing safety attention over to the running back who is dangerous in open space. Josh Reynolds has been a deep threat for the Rams, but the second-year player has struggled with consistency for the Rams this season. This is a unit that will be critical in the outcome of this game as they need to get back to the high potent offense that we saw earlier this season. The Patriots secondary has been one that is a better unit than the stats show as they have been a victim of garbage time production in several games this season. This is a unit that has allowed the fifth-most attempts allowed, but have the fifth-fewest yards per attempt this season indicating that while teams throw a lot against them on a per-yard basis they are not efficient. From a talent standpoint, this is a team that is extremely dangerous as they primarily play a 4-1-6 Dime defense. This is a veteran unit led by Stephon Gilmore who has emerged as one of the top corners in the league and plays alongside the McCourty twins and Patrick Chung who have played a significant role in undrafted rookie J.C. Jackson's development this season. If there is a weakness on this defense, it would be how the inexperienced Jackson performs in the Super Bowl and he'll mostly matchup against Josh Reynolds, but will see some Brandin Cooks in this game.
Recent Stats and Projections
Weekly Performance vs TE 1, TE 12, TE 24
Tyler Higbee's percentile rank in each category, among TE with more than 50 fantasy points.
Recent Game Summaries
2018 Week 20 vs NO (4 / 4 / 25 / 1 rec)
He did catch a screen pass right after the Rams' fake punt conversion. His ability as a blocker cannot be understated, however. He made THE key block on Josh Reynolds' Double End-around (beautiful play design) in the 3rd quarter that brought the ball from the 17-yard line to the 1. He aligned as the Wing to the right side. He came across the formation after the ball was snapped, becoming the lead blocker for Reynolds. He attacked the left defensive end's outside shoulder, got his hips around to execute the reach block and seal the edge, and then cut down the defender as he tried to disengage. On the money down of the drive - 3rd and goal from the 1-yard line, the Rams rewarded Higbee. He scored a touchdown running the Flat/Out - one of the Rams' favorite goal line plays all year. He was also on the receiving end of Goff's only two pass attempts in Overtime, gaining the 15 yards necessary to move into Hekkler's field goal range.
2018 Week 11 vs KC (7 / 6 / 63 / 0 rec)
Higbee actually got a decent amount of work receiving the ball vs Kansas City. Whether it was the result of this game's rising tide lifting Higbee's boat or a sign of more involvement with Kupp out for the year remains to be seen.
2018 Week 2 vs ARI (2 / 1 / 3 / 1 rec)
Higbee surprisingly got two valuable targets in this game. The first came just outside the redzone on the first drive of the second quarter, running a deep corner - the ball not in play for him to make the reception. It would have been a tough contested catch vs man. He scored on the exact same Flat concept that Goff tried to get to Brandin Cooks earlier in the game except the pass was not batted down this time and Higbee scored an easy touchdown. Although he got two valuable targets in this game, Higbee continues more to be featured as an offensive tackle with an 80s number who also splits out as a WR to give his quarterback coverage identifiers. He is not regularly involved in the route progression.
2018 Week 1 vs OAK (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Whereas Kupp is the de-facto Tight End of the Rams offense, Higbee is the de-facto third Offensive Tackle. He does get flexed as an outside WR. It allows the team to use Woods and Kupp inside, and gives significant coverage clues pre-snap for Goff based on which player follows Higbee outside. As far as being a pass threat, he might as well be a QB flexed out wide in the Wildcat. The team simply does not involve him as an option in the progression. They are more than happy for defenses to waste an outside CB's attention on him or to give the coverage away by having a linebacker follow him outside.
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