It's tough being a St. Louis Rams fan right now. Winning and respect seem a long way off. They have questions in every aspect of their game, but they continue to improve and they push forward. From a fantasy perspective it's difficult to get excited about the Rams. Other than running back Steven Jackson and a couple of IDP performers, there's not much to think about. But there is some fantasy value here, and you'd be remiss to overlook it.
Division: NFC West – Projected Finish: 4th Place
Strength of Schedule - #31st = 2nd best. Only conference rival Arizona has a softer schedule in 2010, and the Rams will surely need it with a new QB under center.
Sam Bradford - The Rams staked it all on the rookie QB but it appears he'll be on the bench to start this season. This would be a wise move for the kid. Regardless, he has no fantasy value for 2010 barring a miracle.
AJ Feeley - Feeley comes over from the Eagles. He played quite well in his few appearances for Philly, and the Rams would be wise to let Feeley start this season while Bradford learns the ropes. As of now that seems to be the team's intent.
Steven Jackson is arguably the best running back in the NFL, but he plays on a bad team that is in a major rebuilding process. He was a stud last year in all fantasy areas except getting the ball in the end zone; 324 carries, 1416 yards, and 4.4 yards-per-carry. Unfortunately, he only had 4 TDs. If he stays healthy I expect an improvement this year in TDs. I have him ranked at #7.
The team still needs to address a proper back-up for Jackson, which it appears unlikely they will do before the season starts.
This is the one area where a fantasy gem or two could be discovered. Much depends on how Feeley or Bradford gel with each player, and if the offensive line can give him time to throw.
- Donnie Avery - He was projected to be the team's go to wideout in 2009, and a nice fantasy sleeper. Unfortunately, all he did was sleep. He was oft-injured and unproductive, but he enters his third year with the deep sleeper tag this time.
- Danny Amendola - Keep an eye on this kid through the preseason. He could be a nice pick up late.
- Laurent Robinson - He was leading the team to start the season before his season was cut short. He could be the team's #1 guy in 2010.
- Brandon Gibson - A second year WR and another guy who could step up.
This is a constant theme for the Rams. Who will step up and make big plays? Steven Jackson can't do it all.
The St. Louis Rams have more Tight Ends than a Vegas strip club, but none of them are worth a damn from a fantasy perspective. Daniel Fells is a redzone sneak, but other than an occasional TD, he gets no other attention.
Josh Brown missed almost a quarter of his FG attempts last season. A kicker on a bad team often spells fantasy riches. But a bad kicker on a bad team...
I won't bore you with the Rams team defense, but there are IDP players you should know: Linebacker James Laurinaitis is a monster stud. Defensive Lineman Chris Long is finally coming into his own. Defensive Back Oshiomogho Atogwe re-signed with the team and he is a top fantasy DB.
2010 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Wk Date Game Stadium Time (ET) 1 Sep 12 ARI @ STL Edward Jones Dome 4:15 PM 2 Sep 19 STL @ OAK Oakland Coliseum 4:05 PM 3 Sep 26 WAS @ STL Edward Jones Dome 4:05 PM 4 Oct 03 SEA @ STL Edward Jones Dome 1:00 PM 5 Oct 10 STL @ DET Ford Field 1:00 PM 6 Oct 17 SD @ STL Edward Jones Dome 1:00 PM 7 Oct 24 STL @ TB Raymond James Stadium 1:00 PM 8 Oct 31 CAR @ STL Edward Jones Dome 1:00 PM 9 Bye 10 Nov 14 STL @ SF Candlestick Park 4:15 PM 11 Nov 21 ATL @ STL Edward Jones Dome 4:05 PM 12 Nov 28 STL @ DEN Invesco Field at Mile High 4:15 PM 13 Dec 05 STL @ ARI University of Phoenix Stadium 4:15 PM 14 Dec 12 STL @ NO Superdome 4:05 PM 15 Dec 19 KC @ STL Edward Jones Dome 1:00 PM 16 Dec 26 SF @ STL Edward Jones Dome 1:00 PM 17 Jan 02 STL @ SEA Qwest Field 4:15 PM
Long gone are the days of the Mike Martz offense. It' seems almost silly to talk about coaching strategy for a team that will struggle to stay in every game. Second year team coach Steve Spagnuolo has his work cut out for him to make the most of his limited weapons while keeping morale high. The addition of OT Rodger Saffold will certainly help plug a big hole upfront for the team. Now Spags needs to protect his rookie QB and squeeze every drop of talent he can out of his team.
The Rams defense was deplorable in 2009. Of course in their defense, they were on the field most of each game. The team grabbed three defensive ends in this year's draft, but like everything else on the team, it's a building process and growing pains. Defensive coordinator Ken Flajole and his staff are going to be burning the midnight oil to improve this maudlin defense. Flajole uses a standard 4-3 defensive package.