The St. Louis Rams have a lot of talent, especially on the defensive side of the field. The Rams face two significant problems though: Sam Bradford’s insanely fragile body and playing in the toughest division in football. While they might not improve much on their 2013 record of 7-9 in 2014, things are coming together in St. Louis. Here’s a breakdown of their fantasy potential coming into this season:
Sam Bradford must be made of glass. It’s unfortunate, but it seems like the only conversation around him since he entered the league has been, “He’s shown great potential in flashes, but then he went out with an injury.” The phase, “a healthy Sam Bradford can…” has been uttered to death, yet here we are again. Bradford was healthy for the first six games of 2013, and during that span he actually produced starter-level fantasy stats. I’m not betting on him to stay healthy for a full season, but what he has going for him are an improved offensive line and more weapons around him. It would be unwise to count on Bradford for anything until he shows he can stay healthy for a full season, but if he does, you can get great value out of him as a QB3.
Zac Stacy is going to be great this year. He was 2013’s biggest surprise rusher and will build on his great rookie campaign this year. Despite the Ram’s drafting Tre Mason, Stacy is the workhorse who will get 70% of the team’s carries. He’s a high RB2 option who will go in the early to mid second round of most drafts this year. Mason should win out the backup role and deserves a roster spot in most leagues. He’s your classic flyer to draft in later rounds with the hope he bursts out with some monster games.
Tavon Austin is the only Rams receiver who will be drafted in most leagues. He had a disappointing rookie season but head coach, Jeff Fisher, admitted the team did not use him in the right way last season. It sounds like 2014 will be a year in which the team at least tries to make a more concerted effort to take advantage of Austin’s explosiveness and speed. Unfortunately for Austin, his success is somewhat dependant on Bradford’s health. Just like his quarterback, I wouldn’t count on Austin for anything special this year, so make sure you have your starters lined up before considering drafting Austin as a late round flyer.
In addition to Austin, Kenny Britt and Chris Givens are names to keep an eye on if Bradford stays on the field and the Rams offense can actually start gaining some traction.
Jared Cook is not really worth mentioning in a fantasy article. He’s one of the league’s most inconsistant starting tight ends despite his freakish speed and size. Always tantalizing with his potential, but it’s time to stick a fork in this guy. He shouldn’t be rostered in just about any league.
The amount of defensive talent in the NFC West is mind-boggling. It’s amazing how any of those teams score any points. San Francisco and Seattle get most of the credit because they’re the far superior teams, but Arizona and especially St. Louis have elite defenses as well. All four of the NFC West defenses project to be in the top-seven in 2014. Most projections have St. Louis as the worst of that bunch, but I’m putting them ahead of Arizona and San Francisco this year. The Rams are easily a top five defense in 2014.
The Rams kicker, Greg Zuerlein, has limited fantasy value due to his team’s offense. The Rams will be better on offense this year, but not to the point of making Zuerlein a top ten kicker.
Poor Rams, they have a lot going for them, but when you play in the same division as two potential dynasties, your road to success is damn near impossible. They do, however, have some nice fantasy pieces that can bring your team success. Stacy and the D are golden, and their flyers could have the potential to push your team over the top.