Nelson and his WR1 pedigree are turning 33 years old and coming from Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers to join a lesser quarterback in Derek Carr. Throw in a better number 1 receiver in Amari Cooper, and in all likelihood, a less pass-happy offense with Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin in the backfield. If his name carries the weight it has in recent years, Nelson could be drafted as a high-end WR2 in the first four to five rounds. But all the signs are there for a bust of epic proportions and I wouldn’t be shocked to see the former Pro-Bowler finished outside the top 25-30 at the WR position.
Here’s the problem. Brandon Cooks has always played in high-volume air attacks, something Sean McVay’s Rams, at least in 2017, were not. When you have the top running back in the league last season, and one of the top going into this season in Todd Gurley, you don’t need to pass much. He is likely to rank as a low end WR1 somewhere in the third round of fantasy drafts, with a projected line around 75 receptions, 1,100 yards, and 8 TDs. Unless the Rams surprise us with a more aggressive pass attack, that line could quickly fall to a bust-worthy 65/900/7, or fringe WR2 numbers.
Hyde was never going to be a big part of the passing game so his 88 targets from last season would be impossible to repeat or even get close. He was already going to be a hit or miss the season in fantasy value, but Hyde was still someone worth targeting at the right price due to his clear early down and goal line role. Then, the Browns spent an early second round pick on Nick Chubb and pursued Duke Johnson. That was the final nail in the coffin for Hyde’s fantasy value. I still think Hyde is the “starter” and leads this backfield in carries, but Chubb is not simply going to sit and watch for an entire season. He will be active and rotate in. It won’t be enough for Chubb to have any value, but it will be enough to take away some of Hyde’s.