This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NFLRankings or the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more NFL Fantasy Football Projections, visit Fantasy Football Overdose.
The St. Louis Rams grew to be a pretty competitive team in 2013. Despite losing quarterback Sam Bradford before the middle of the season even came about, the Rams still brought the eventual Super Bowl champion Seahawks to the brink and won several games.
As much of a surprise as it ended up being, the Rams even produced some decent fantasy football options, as well. Running back Zac Stacy was easily the top producer, but Tavon Austin and Jared Cook had their brief moments, as well.
Heading into 2014, fantasy owners will surely take a gander at the Rams and wonder if the solid momentum they built a year ago can take a major leap now that Bradford is healthy and back under center.
The good news is they just might be able to. However, playing in the NFC West can get pretty brutal, so using Rams players might be a week-to-week decision. Let’s break down five quality games on Rams 2014 schedule to see where you might want to use them:
Week 1 – VS. Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota went to great lengths to improve their shaky defense. That brought in Captain Munnerlyn to shore up their secondary, signed defensive tackle Linval Joseph away from the Giants and even hired a new defensive-minded head coach in Mike Zimmer.
The unit is sure to improve in 2014, but in the first week of the season? That might be a real. That gives Sam Bradford and co. a real shot at torching a defense in transition. It’s on their home turf, too, so they’ll be able to put all of their speed to the test. Guys like Bradford, Tavon Austin and Tavon Austin could be sneaky plays in the season/home opener.
Week 3 – VS. Dallas Cowboys
While the week one battle with the Vikes might end up being a hit, this week three duel with the Cowboys probably takes the cake. Dallas was likely in for a long season on defense no matter what this year, but then they lost stud inside linebacker Sean Lee. With Lee gone, the Cowboys are in no way a threatening defense.
Dallas did beef up their defensive line by bringing in Henry Melton, but the loss of Lee might be too much to overcome – especially considering this defense was abysmal even when he was healthy. Sam Bradford could go nuts at home for the second time in three weeks, while Zac Stacy could run wild, as well. Rookie running back Tre Mason could also be a good play, depending on his role right out of the gates.
Week 5 – @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are stacked on offense and should be a little better on defense, but they still simply don’t have all the right pieces to make their new 3-4 scheme hum. That should equate to plenty of shootouts, and one of those could easily come here in week five when the improving Rams enter the City of Brotherly Love.
Philly was already inconsistent on defense a year ago, so just about any Rams fantasy options are fair game here. Zac Stacy and Sam Bradford head the list, naturally.
Week 13 – VS Oakland Raiders
Oakland is a natural loser in the NFL, but it’s hard to ignore all of the positive adjustments they’ve made on both sides of the ball. They added some really nice veteran help on the defensive side, especially, and could be a lot nastier and tougher to push around.
With that being said, they’re still a yearly loser that could struggle to gain a ton of momentum. At least on paper, fantasy owners will circle this as a matchup to attack. Oakland coming into St. Louis certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
Week 14 – @ Washington Redskins
The Redskins won three games a year ago. Obviously Robert Griffin III not having his mind (or knee) right played a huge hand in that, but the ‘Skins also struggled due to a horrid defense. Not a whole lot has changed. DeAngelo Hall can ball hawk with the best of them, but he also gets burned routinely. Washington did bring in safety help, but that was in the form of the aging Ryan Clark.
There is certainly a chance that Washington improves on defense in 2014, but even if it happens it might not be saying much. This is still a unit to abuse and the Rams will try to do just that in week 14. Sam Bradford is probably the top play, but the Redskins could be vulnerable over the top, too. That could award extra value to Chris Givens, potentially.
Tags: St. Louis Rams