NFL Soup|Tuesday, May 21, 2013

St. Louis Rams 2013 Fantasy Football Outlook 

Quick!!!! Tell me who had the best record amongst division opponents in the NFC West in 2012? The San Francisco 49ers. WRONG! OK…gotta be the Seattle Seahawks! WRONG! YES!! It was the St. Louis Rams at 4-1-1. As we know though, the St. Louis Rams didn’t do quite as well outside the NFC West, finishing at 7-8-1, overall.

So, what can we expect out of the Rams for 2013? In my estimation, more than you might think. The Rams did a solid job in the draft and made some additions that should pay off right away. Also, not that the two weren’t good for each other, but the Steven Jackson era was just too long. Both sides just needed to move on and now a new chapter begins at RB. A big move but a necessary one at that.

So what can we expect from the Rams this year in the fantasy football realm? Here’s a look:

Sam Bradford (Quarterback)

I’m not telling anyone to draft Bradford right away. There are plenty of better QB’s to get before him. Last season, Bradford passed for 3700 yards, 21 TD’s and 13 INT’s. He’s definitely a mid QB2 at best. However, Bradford’s o-line was injured at all points so he had no consistency with protection.

With a new season, healthy o-line and some fresh weapons, Bradford might be a guy that can be a bye-week savior for you or even a better QB2 for you if your QB1 should go down. I see no reason why Bradford’s numbers don’t improve across the board this season. It may not be eye-popping but should be significantly noticable.

Daryl Richardson (Running Back)

Richardson finally gets out of Steven Jackson’s shadow and should pretty much have the majority of touches out of the backfield. He’s very similar to Jackson’s style of RB; good size and speed and can get yards after contact. We saw some break away runs but also saw 2 fumbles (both lost) on 98 total carries. We also just don’t know if he can handle the punishing workload he’s about to receive.

Richardson is going, in my estimation, as a great value pick this year. I have grabbed him in almost all my leagues around round 6-9 as my RB3/FLEX player. He has great upside at that average pick.

Isaiah Pead (Running Back)

Pead was to battle Richardson for carries but it looks like he’ll be a third down/change of pace back. He’s a nice complement to Richardson and will get more touches than last year, but I have to see the ratio of touches after the first two weeks to get excited. If he can work his way into some goal line touches then his value would certainly rise. Have to wait and see.

Chris Givens (Wide Receiver)

Value. Value. Value. Chris Givens is looking pretty solid after his first two preseason games. His first game he had 3 receptions for 82 yards and a TD. Second he had 1 reception for 57 yards. He’s in sync with QB Sam Bradford and these two could be hooking up a ton over the season. Givens looks like a flex player with WR2 potential. He could end up being a steal in the later rounds.

Tavon Austin (Wide Receiver)

Here’s the Rams’ first pick in the draft. He’s a speeding bullet with hands and could be a huge difference maker for the Rams’ offense. Though he hasn’t played a game, Austin is being drafted as a solid WR2. He’s got a huge upside but don’t let that blind you. I’ve seen owners reach a little too high for Austin in some drafts. However, it’s all about risk/reward. I think Austin is a 70 reception 900 yard receiver with 6 TD’s.

Brian Quick (Wide Receiver)

Brian Quick is not a guy to draft but someone to keep in mind. As the year goes on, WR’s Givens and Austin are probably going to garner all the defensive attention. Quick could come out with some more targets. He only had 11 receptions on 28 targets last year but 2 were for TD’s. There is potential.

Austin Pettis (Wide Receiver)

Another guy who could emerge from the Givens/Austin attention would be Austin Pettis. Last season Pettis had 30 receptions for 261 yards and 4 TD’s. I would expect Pettis to be the third guy in on 3 WR sets. He’ll definitely have more opportunities this year as the Rams look to use the passing game a little more with their weapons. Pettis will get some looks and could end up being a nice bye week savior for you.

Jared Cook (Tight End)

Cook has spent his last five years with ups and downs in Tennessee. He has a ton of potential but has just had a few more bumps in the road than others. He’s a big redzone target and haveing a fresh start in a new place and new system will probably do him some good. A lot of people are dismissing Cook but I’m thinking he could be a nice value in later rounds. If TE is where you lack, Cook just might be your guy.

Rams Defense/Special Teams

The Rams proved they could be competitive last season. Their defense has some impressive names like Chris Long, James Laurinaitis, Cortland Finnegan, Janoris Jenkins and rookie Alec Ogletree. This is going to be a very stingy defense and one that has been projected around #7 amongst fantasy. The only thing that scares me is the Rams’ schedule. It is very tough; if not the touughest in the league.

Another plus is Tavon Austin’s role on the special teams. The rookie has the ability and speed to break any play into a huge TD. He’ll definitely have his opportunities in the kickoff and punt return game.

About the author: Terrence Kirker

A new fantasy football contributor to NFLSoup, Terrence Kirker is an avid NFL fan and diehard Giants fan. He’s been involved in fantasy football for the past ten years, with the last four being the mostly competitive for cash prizes, equating to three championships and one third place finish. Follow him on Twitter @terrencekirker

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