With the start of football season come the start of fantasy football season, something that has long kept fans of dismal teams interested throughout the regular season. In the past, Rams’ fans could bank on Steven Jackson going somewhere in the opening two rounds. Outside of that… no one. NFL.com just released their “fantasy rankings” for every position in 2013. With this new plethora of toys in the offense, how are the fantasy experts pegging the St. Louis Rams‘ players this season?
23. Sam Bradford: The Rams’ signal caller being low on the list is not surprising, especially considering he has never had a truly dominate statistical season. The additions of Jared Cook and Tavon Austin might force some to push him into a Top 15 or Top 20, but the fact remains that Bradford is mere a fantasy-bench warmer… for now!
30. Daryl Richardson: Steven Jackson’s understudy from last season is rightfully the highest player for the Rams. He is the only player with any significant playing time on the field and, with Isaiah Pead’s suspension, figures to be the front-runner for the “starting” gig in Week 1. However, in fantasy football, Richardson should be nothing more than a roster-filler in a deep draft. In fact, Zac Stacy might be the better pickup this season, with the rookie figuring to be inserted into short-yardage situations (i.e. a touchdown thief).
36/39. Tavon Austin: Regardless of the type of league you are in (i.e. Point Per Receptions, or not), Austin is still the “top Ram” at wide receiver, at least in fantasy football. The St. Louis rookie might be a solid pickup in the mid-rounds, especially if the formatting of your league allots individual’s points for return statistics. For PPR players, Austin looks to be underrated as a receiver. He could easily see anywhere between 100-150 targets next season, which could put him in the 70-90 reception range. As an added bonus, Austin is one of the few players in the NFL that should see some legitimate carries at running back, especially motioning from the slot into the backfield in short yardage. As a No.2 receiver or Flex, the Rams 8th overall pick might be the “highest ranked” player in fantasy this season.
Status: Potential Starter/Flex
16. Jared Cook: If you are looking for a “sleeper” in the 2013 NFL Fantasy Draft, surprise your friends by snagging Cook early in the mid-rounds. Bradford has been infatuated with Cook thus far in the offseason, which should bode well for the Rams’ new, athletic freak-of-nature. Even being underutilized in Tennessee, Cook posted fairly respectable numbers in the receiving game. In St. Louis, where he will not be the one-and-only target on the field, he could thrive. If you are looking for that X-factor to set you up for success in your league, Cook is worth taking the risk… after the top end of you roster has already been reasonably filled. Any time you can get a tight end that plays wide receiver-type snaps in the pass game, it is a plus, and with all indications pointing to Cook as Bradford’s new “favorite,” it is certainly a shot worth taking.
Status: Potential Starter/Flex
9. Greg Zuerlein: If Zuerlein is the 9th kicker taken off the board in your league during this year’s fantasy draft, you should highly question the people you are hanging out with. There were only three kickers in the NFL last season with more 40+ yard field goals than “Greg the Leg” (Jason Hanson, Blair Walsh, and Connor Barth), one of which retired this offseason. No, Zuerlein did not get the chance to take as many “chip shots” last season as most, but he did have 31 tries, most of those coming from long range. Fisher has shown that he is not afraid to “unleash the leg,” and with the rookie jitters out of the way, Zuerlein should be set for a solid sophomore season. Tack on the fact that the Rams will be playing, at least, 11 of their games in a dome next season… why not make him the first kicker off the board?
11. St. Louis Rams: When selecting a defense, understanding the scoring criteria for your league is essential. Different leagues allot different amounts of points for sacks, interceptions, points allowed, and defensive touchdowns. The St. Louis Rams were monsters last season in terms of defensive touchdowns and sacks; however, they were inconsistent on defense in terms of points allowed, and were below average in interceptions. The Rams’ Defense might not be your “starter,” but if you have an open slot on the roster, there are certainly worse “backups” you could have on your fantasy team. Their draft ranking might also depend on whether your league combines both defense and special teams. If that is the case, with a dynamic returner in Tavon Austin, the Rams’ DEF/ST might battle for a starting spot on your roster.
Status: Potential Starter