ESPN projects 2021 stats for Matthew Stafford, Cam Akers and other Rams

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Each year, Mike Clay of ESPN projects individual stats for key players on every NFL team. It’s a good way for fans to set their expectations for the upcoming season, especially from a fantasy perspective.

For the Rams, he expects a strong season from Matthew Stafford and Cam Akers, as well as 1,000-yard campaigns by both Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. But who will be the third-most productive receiver? And who will finish second in sacks behind Aaron Donald?

We highlighted some of the top players from Clay’s projection for Los Angeles, but the full sheet can be found here.

Passing

  • Matthew Stafford: 399 for 610 (65.4%), 4,570 yards, 25 TDs, 12 INTs

Clay isn't projecting that big a season by Stafford – at least not from a touchdown perspective. Only throwing 25 touchdown passes in 17 games would be somewhat disappointing for the 12-year veteran, considering he's topped 25 touchdown passes five times in his career on worse teams. The yardage total would be fine and 12 interceptions would still be fewer than Jared Goff's 13 in 15 games a year ago.

Rushing

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Cam Akers: 251 carries, 1,067 yards, 11 TDs (42 catches, 357 yards, 2 TDs)

  • Darrell Henderson: 96 carries, 414 yards, 5 TDs (14 catches, 114 yards, 1 TD)

Obviously, Akers is going to be the Rams' primary running back in 2021 after playing extremely well down the stretch last season. Clay projects Akers to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the first time, and also put up good numbers as a receiver. Henderson will be the change-of-pace back and should be able to average above 4.0 yards per carry again in 2021. He's an explosive player and a nice complement to Akers.

Receiving

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Robert Woods: 93 catches, 1,043 yards, 5 TDs

  • Cooper Kupp: 90 catches, 1,050 yards, 5 TDs

  • DeSean Jackson: 28 catches, 465 yards, 2 TDs

  • Van Jefferson: 32 catches, 402 yards, 3 TDs

  • Tutu Atwell: 27 catches, 367 yards, 2 TDs

  • Tyler Higbee: 47 catches, 537 yards, 4 TDs

Once again, an even split between Woods and Kupp is expected. Their stats are almost dead even in Clay's projections, which is similar to how things have gone in the last few years for these two receivers. Jackson and Jefferson should split time as the No. 3 receiver, with Atwell being more of a gadget player who can contribute on screens, deep shots, handoffs and punt returns. Surprisingly, Clay doesn't have Atwell recording a single carry. Higbee has an even bigger cushion now as the No. 1 tight end with Gerald Everett gone, so he'll eat up the bulk of the targets from that spot.

Defense

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

  • Aaron Donald: 52 tackles, 10.3 sacks

  • Leonard Floyd: 58 tackles, 9.0 sacks

  • Micah Kiser: 96 tackles, 1.4 sacks

  • Jalen Ramsey: 55 tackles, 1.8 INTs

  • Darious Williams: 61 tackles, 2.9 INTs

  • Jordan Fuller: 86 tackles, 1.4 INTs

  • Taylor Rapp: 96 tackles, 1.8 INTs

Another year, another season with double-digit sacks is projected for Donald. Clay expects Floyd to finish second with about nine sacks, while Kiser and Rapp are tied for the team-high with 96 tackles each. Ramsey and Williams will be the top two cornerbacks and should have productive seasons once again in 2021.

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