It’s time to start thinking about fantasy football, and we have started going team by team to let you know what each NFL franchise can do for your fantasy squad. You can click here to see if your team has been previewed yet. If it isn’t there, chances are it’s coming soon.
*Rankings are based on a 12-team, standard scoring format.
ST LOUIS RAMS
2011 RECORD: 2-14
2012 BYE WEEK: 9
TOP DRAFT PICKS: (1) Michael Brockers- DT- LSU
(2) Brian Quick- WR- Appalachian State
(2) Janoris Jenkins- CB- Florida
QUARTERBACK: Sam Bradford regressed after his solid rookie season. It’s hard to fault him too much, as injuries and the horrendous offensive talent around him played a big part in his failures. Bradford played 10 games last year and finished 30th in the league in passer rating, throwing only 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. The offensive line was the worst in the league at pass protection, giving up 55 sacks. Unfortunately, the Rams have done nothing to change the personnel in that area. It will be tough for Bradford to get any better without improvement from his line. Bradford has the full support of management. The Rams were willing to trade out of the 2nd spot in the draft, where they could have gotten Robert Griffin III, instead opting to collect more picks to add to the mix. The backup is Kellen Clemens. If he has to play again, the Rams will be in line to pick near the top of the draft next year. Bradford is a decent choice as a QB-2, and will probably fall somewhere around number 20 on quarterbacks drafted.
RUNNING BACK: Steven Jackson, once in the argument for top overall pick, has fallen from that tier. He is still a fairly reliable back though. He was top 10 in the league in rushing yards last year, but only got into the end zone 6 times last season, and only 5 on the ground. He rarely fumbles, losing only one last year, and it was just the second fumble lost in his 8 year career. Despite playing for a bad team most of his career, he has gone over 1,000 yards for 7 straight seasons. Rookie Isaiah Pead out of Cincinnati will be the primary backup. The Rams took him in the second round, the highest they have taken a running back since Jackson in 2004. Pead has real upside, and should fill in nicely as an injury replacement. Jackson has never really had to share the load in St. Louis though, and Jeff Fisher has historically liked having one primary back. Daryl Richardson is the third back. A rookie out of Abilene Christian University, he has great speed and proved to be a nice edge rusher and pass catcher in college. Jackson is probably more of a RB-2 at this point, but mostly because the Rams will continue to struggle and be playing from behind a lot. The talent is there, but his support system is weak. He should be the 13th or 14th back to come off the board. Pead can probably be left undrafted, unless a preseason injury issue arises with Jackson.
WIDE RECEIVER: I am about to waste a lot of words telling you why you should not draft any of these wide receivers. This is the worst bunch of wideouts in the NFL, and while they used two high draft picks on the position, the depth chart is far from settled. The first guy I would look at is Brian Quick, whom the Rams took with the first pick of the second round. At 6’5″- 220 lbs., his size will be appealing to Bradford. He has yet to play against top level competition though, and there could be an adjustment period. The other rookie is Chris Givens, a 4th round pick out of Wake Forest. Givens is a sub- 4.4 40-yard dash guy, and the Rams have been lacking speed. Steve Smith (the other one) is another guy the Fisher regime has brought in, and if he can stay healthy, he might be able to give them something. He has a history of knee issues and gave the Eagles nothing in his stint in Philly. If his injuries persist, he probably won’t break camp. Danny Amendola has been fantasy relevant before. In 2010 he was a PPR machine as the slot receiver. He was out most of last season with an arm injury, and the new coaching staff is not known for using slot receivers. Brandon Gibson has been a mainstay for the Rams the last three years, but has only brought in 4 touchdowns in that stretch. Danario Alexander is the only other wideout worth mentioning, and he could be a bargain IF he can stay healthy. If you play in a deep league that warrants rostering 5 wide receivers, any one of these guys could step up, but none of them should be drafted in the top 50 at their position.
TIGHT END: Tight end is an important position to Fisher and new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Lance Kendricks hopes to rebound from a disappointing rookie season, which saw him struggle with drops and lack of focus and conditioning. He had only 28 receptions for 352 yards, and failed to find the end zone. Backup Michael Hoomanawanui is little more than a blocking tight end, and is coming off an ACL surgery. Kendricks is probably not worth drafting, but keep an eye on how much he is used in the new offense. He may be a nice add as the season goes on.
KICKER: The Rams were an offensive disaster last year. Rookie Greg Zuerlein from Missouri Western will take over the kicking job, but seeing as the Rams were dead last in extra points made and second to last in field goals made, it isn’t much of a job. Zuerlein is sort of a specialist with kicks over 50 yards, so they can take chances they couldn’t in the past, but until the offense improves you can find a better option at kicker.
DEFENSE-SPECIAL TEAMS: Chris Long hit double digit sacks last year and Robert Quinn had 5 in a promising rookie year. The addition of rookie defensive tackle Michael Brockers could add to the pass rush. The secondary has been redesigned, bringing in free agent Cortland Finnegan and adding Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson through the draft. Both rookies will see plenty of playing time early, and Jenkins has the chance to be a real game changer. The Rams defense isn’t a horrible fill-in for a bye week, especially if you can catch them in the later half of the season when they get Cleveland, Cincinnati and their divisional games. If you carry a backup defense, you could do worse. You could also do better.