Gerald Everett Set to Shine Without Brandin Cooks in Fantasy Football

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Gerald Everett
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 03: Gerald Everett #81 of the Los Angeles Rams looks on prior to taking on the Seattle Seahawks during their game at CenturyLink Field on October 03, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett always had an impressive skill set, but now he might have the chance to put his talents on display. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks suffered a concussion in Week 5 and may not be available for Week 6. If he misses time, Gerald Everett should be a smart streaming option in just about every fantasy football format.

Gerald Everett Fantasy Football Outlook if Brandin Cooks Misses Time

The tight end landscape is desolate in fantasy football, and trying to find a good streamer isn’t always easy. While 2019 has more starting-caliber players than 2018, it’s still hard to find a dependable player on a weekly basis. Everett hasn’t been the most reliable player through the first five weeks of the season, but he’s set to see the largest rise in production if Cooks misses time.

Everett is a talented player, but he hasn’t had the best opportunity to display his talents. While he’s in one of the best offenses in the league, head coach Sean McVay prefers not to use the tight end position. Back in 2018, the Rams used 11 personnel (three receivers, one tight end, one running back) on a league-leading 81% of their offensive snaps. It’s hard to blame McVay for the strategy, as the Rams had a 53% success rate out of the formation.

However, it’s worth noting that the Rams started turning to Everett once Cooper Kupp went down with a season-ending knee injury. Outside of a meaningless Week 17 blowout against the San Francisco 49ers, Everett became a fairly significant part of the offense. Everett saw six or more targets in 60% of games following Kupp’s injury. While he didn’t always turn these targets into yards, it’s important to recognize the opportunity. If Cooks has to miss time, Everett is in a better position to succeed in 2019.

Gerald Everett in 2019

Everett had minor fantasy value without Kupp in 2018, but he should see a larger role if Cooks cannot play. Last year, Everett only had two games with a snap percentage above 65%. Everett was only an afterthought for the 2018 Rams, but he’s seeing an increased role on the 2019 squad.

The Los Angeles Rams have made a notable effort to involve Everett in the offensive attack. So far, Everett has played in over 70% of the offensive snaps in three of the first five games. He’s clearly the top tight end of the depth chart, and he’s probably the third or fourth option in a high-volume passing attack. For whatever reason, Todd Gurley is not getting the volume or success in the passing game that he did a season ago. Someone has to catch Gurley’s short passes, and they can’t all go to Kupp.

Projected Usage

According to Pro Football Reference, Everett currently averages 5.7 yards before the catch per reception. This shows that he’s receiving targets close to the line of scrimmage, which naturally leads to a high catch rate. This makes him a valuable commodity in PPR formats, and Cooks’ absence should lead to a higher target share.

Obviously, Everett will not see the same types of targets that Cooks did. Cooks is a deep threat with elite speed and the Rams aren’t going to have Everett running go routes every single play. However, the Rams don’t really have a player who can replicate Cooks’ role in the offense, so they’ll have to adapt. Instead of going for the big play, the Rams will need to embark on longer, methodical drives with shorter passes.

This is good news for Everett, as he excels at working the seam and bringing in high-percentage throws. This already came to fruition to an extent, as Everett recorded seven receptions for 136 yards in Thursday night’s action. While most of that production came with Cooks on the field, his impressive night showed that he’s capable of handling a large role in the offense. He won’t put up Travis Kelce options, but Gerald Everett is a smart streamer with TE1 upside as long as Cooks remains sidelined.

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