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 and Rankings, visit Fantasy Football Overdose.
For the most part, fantasy football owners are entering the 2014 season with their eyes on starting running back Zac Stacy, and that’s pretty much it.
It’s hard to argue with that logic, either. Stacy was the Rams’ lone stud in the fantasy scene a year ago, as quarterback Sam Bradford tore up his knee and took the St. Louis passing game down with him.
Stacy went on to be a smash mouth success, helping the Rams remain fairly competitive as a tough, hard-nosed ball carrier. He needed volume for a lot of his success and faded fairly roughly down the stretch, but he still entered the off-season with loads of upside.
Role means a lot in fantasy football, and for Stacy a big role as the Rams’ lead back meant potential RB1 fantasy value. But he’s not the only guy in St. Louis worth drafting in 2014.
Let’s break down the other four Rams you should at least consider when your fantasy draft rolls around this year:
Sam Bradford (Quarterback)
Bradford had put up 14 touchdowns to just four picks before going down in week seven, putting him on a 30+ touchdown pace. The Rams didn’t look like a winner at the time, but he was at least having his best season statistically of his career. That alone offers optimism going into 2014, as does his talented supporting cast.
The Rams need to get more consistency out of their wide receivers, but with Bradford back in the saddle, doing so will be much easier. Backed by a revived rushing attack and a rebuilt offensive line, Bradford has a shot at once again paying off as a quality fantasy sleeper. As a widely undrafted fantasy quarterback, though, you can take him as late as the draft’s final round with little risk involved.
Tre Mason (Running Back)
Mason is a rookie with no clear role just yet, but he himself has said the coaches told him he’d come in and push Zac Stacy for the starting running back gig. That’s probably not all that likely, but thanks to his versatility he should find some sort of a role early on. Oh, and if Tre Mason does beat out Zac Stacy or Stacy gets hurt, he’d be in for a massive role.
The upside is certainly there, and the risk is minimal. Running back isn’t a deep position, either, so fantasy owners have to take their shots in the dark. Mason is one that is very much worth the ammo being wasted especially as an 11th round bargain on average. Even as a pure handcuff to Stacy, you can’t beat that value.
Tavon Austin (Wide Receiver)
The Rams traded up to land Austin last year and are enamored with him, but he proved to be quite raw as a rookie and needed his touches manufactured. That might still be the case, but he’s way too explosive to discount completely. The Rams will once again do all they can to get him involved in the offense, which should have fantasy owners paying attention to his whereabouts.
Austin doesn’t have much reliability to his name, given the fact that he’s rather tiny and isn’t going to be much of a red-zone fiend. He’ll be heavily involved in what the Rams do, though, so taking a chance on him as a high upside WR3 shouldn’t be an issue for many fantasy owners.
Jared Cook (Tight End)
Last, but certainly not least is the athletic Cook, who made a nice impressive with two touchdowns in his Rams debut last year in week one and then promptly did little else. Bradford going down had a good amount to do with that, so we’ll give him a mulligan of sorts.
Cook has been flashin his brilliance ever since he was with the Tennessee Titans and at just 27 years old, he still has time to become that guy we all think he can be. Cook has inconsistency issues and isn’t a lock to finally become that elite fantasy tight end, but he absolutely still has legit top-10 upside. You can take a chance on some young guys like Zach Ertz or an older guy with a role like Delanie Walker, or you can simply wait until the find few rounds and pluck Cook off the board.
Tags: St. Louis Rams