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TE Tyler Higbee - Los Angeles Rams

6-6, 249Born: 1-1-1993College: Western KentuckyDrafted: Round 4, pick 2016

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Week 20: at New Orleans Saints

All TE vs NO

FBG says: Neutral matchup. Not much was asked of Jared Goff and the passing game in the Rams' Divisional Round win. Goff attempted just 28 passes, down from his seasonal average of 35, amassing just 186 yards - his second-lowest total on the year. That was probably a matchup-based call, as the Rams thoroughly dominated the undermanned Cowboys on the ground. But it also served as a reminder of Goff's clear drop-off down the 2018 stretch. Through the first 11 weeks, Goff completed 68% of his passes, averaging 322 yards and throwing 26 touchdowns. But over the past 6 games, those numbers have dwindled to 58% and 221, with just 6 scores. He's posted just a single multi-touchdown game over that span, and only one game above 207 yards. This offense is packed to the gills with receiving talent, but Goff clearly misses his most dependable all-around receiver, Cooper Kupp. Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks both posted huge seasons, and both are versatile big-play threats on any given snap. But Kupp's reliability, both in the slot and down the field, are an important security blanket for Goff. Without him, Goff's mid-level accuracy looks a lot weaker. This Sunday, Woods and Cooks will tangle with an aggressive Saints secondary that plays tight in coverage and always looks for big plays on the ball. That could be a blessing in disguise, allowing the Rams' explosive weapons to win downfield when the Saints guess wrong. When these teams met in Week 9, Goff racked up 391 yards and 3 scores, with Woods, Cooks, and Kupp combining for 274 and a pair of touchdowns. Still, it's worth noting Goff's clear second-half decline. He looked fairly erratic in last week's win, and he'll certainly need to produce more big plays to win in the Superdome. Head coach Sean McVay and pass-game coordinator Shane Waldron will likely dial up plenty of tricky, versatile routes for the wideouts and Todd Gurley out of the backfield. It will be up to Goff to take advantage with crisp, well-timed throws to get them into space - as well as sharp downfield strikes when his receivers win deep. The New Orleans pass defense opened 2018 with a big step down from their 2017 turnaround. Since midseason, however, things have again reversed course, and this unit now stands as a pesky one to face in fantasy matchups. Dating back to Week 10, they've allowed just 241 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game. The biggest change has been swapping burnable cornerback Ken Crawley out of the lineup in favor of trade acquisition Eli Apple. Apple hasn't been flawless, but he's been much more stable on the boundary than Crawley, who routinely guessed wrong in coverage and was beaten often. The star here, however, is second-year phenom Marcus Lattimore, who has regrouped nicely from a terrible start to the year. Lattimore is a gambler himself, but his tremendous instinct and athleticism often keep him in position to hold coverage even when he jumps a route. His late interception of Alshon Jeffery's hands last week will go down in Saints lore, but his strong whole-game play was a major reason the team advanced at all. This week, he and Apple be tasked with shadowing Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks, both 1,200-yard receivers in the Rams' dynamic offense. The glaring weak spot is still slot man P.J. Williams, who's been bullied all season and could struggle to contain Woods when he moves inside. As a whole, this unit is far from perfect, but is generally aggressive enough to at least complicate matters for opposing quarterbacks. The Rams receivers may give this secondary fits, but Jared Goff will have to be consistently on-target to beat them down the field.

Recent Stats and Projections

WEEKOPPoSNAPRECYDTDFumLPts
16 at ARI 50 1 16 0 0 1.6
17 vs SF 43 1 36 0 0 3.6
19 vs DAL 55 2 30 0 0 3
20 at NO PROJ-Dodds * 2 * * * *
20 at NO PROJ-Tremblay * 2 * * * *
20 at NO PROJ-Bloom * 1 * * * *

Weekly Performance vs TE 1, TE 12, TE 24

Percentile ranks

Tyler Higbee's percentile rank in each category, among TE with more than 50 fantasy points.

Recent Game Summaries

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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