On Nov. 12, 2021, the Los Angeles Rams signed wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who had been released by the Cleveland Browns. It was a surprising move given LA’s depth at the position, and it was unclear just where OBJ would fit into the offense. The very next day, Robert Woods (knee) suffered a torn ACL during practice and would miss the remainder of a season that culminated with the Rams raising the Lombardi Trophy for the second time in franchise history.
Beckham would sustain an ACL tear of his own during the Super Bowl, which seemed to open the door for Woods to return to the Rams in 2022. Instead, LA dipped into the free-agent market once again to sign Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson, giving the team essentially four locks at the position with a reported desire to bring back OBJ. With Woods suddenly the odd man out, the Rams shipped him off to the Tennessee Titans, a move that would eventually soften the blow of trading A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tennessee also moved on from Julio Jones, who remains unsigned, meaning the Titans return just one of their top four receivers from 2021 in the person of Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, who caught 38 passes for 476 yards and four touchdowns. Between Brown, Jones, and Chester Rogers (also still a free agent), the team will be looking to make up for 124 catches, 1,604 yards, and seven TDs worth of production in what was a down year for the position. In addition to Woods, the team also spent a first-round pick on Treylon Burks.
While Burks figures to get most of his work from the slot, Woods should line up on the outside and serve in the same capacity he has since entering the NFL back in 2013, moving the chains. Of his 570 career grabs, 356 of them have gone for first downs, and his career average of 12.4 yards per reception is reflective of Woods being possession receiver.
That works to his advantage in coming back from a torn ACL, and he’ll have roughly 10 months between his injury and Week 1 to get right. All reports about the veteran’s recovery have been positive, and he said back in May that he was feeling “really, really good,” and even added that he felt the team was “holding him back” to a degree. Given that speed was never Woods’ signature weapon, the idea of him losing a step at this stage of his career doesn’t seem particularly worrisome.
Fantasy football outlook
Woods is far and away the most accomplished receiver on the Titans’ roster, and his reliability should be attractive to quarterback Ryan Tannehill, whose job is to supplement the running game and not take unnecessary risks. Although it’d be a mistake to pencil in the 30-year-old as a reliable weekly play, you can still view Bobby Trees as a WR4 with upside.