Fantasy Football: Breaking down the St. Louis Rams

• Inside the Locker Room

With Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Outside of Steven Jackson and Sam Bradford, we can’t differentiate which Rams WRs and TEs to draft. Help.*
I don’t think there’s any doubt that Danny Amendola and Mark Clayton (if re-signed, as expected) will be the top two targets, especially since the rookies (WRs Austin Pettis and Greg Salas, and TE Lance Kendricks) may be slowly integrated into the offense because of the lockout. New offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is said to like Amendola a lot, and Clayton — before his early season knee injury — had established a quick chemistry with Sam Bradford.
*Editor's Note: The Rams acquired Mike Sims-Walker after Thomas was asked about the WRs

Josh McDaniels calling the plays with the Patriots excited fantasy owners. Josh McDaniels calling the plays with the Broncos excited fantasy owners. Any reason to think it will stop here? And who’s in line to be the hidden gem for him this year?
Well, as good as Bradford is and can be, he’s not Tom Brady. At least not yet. And the Rams don’t have a surefire No. 1 receiver entering 2011. But I do think the offense will be more creative, more aggressive, and more productive than it was under Pat Shurmur. A hidden gem could be tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. He was surprisingly effective last season, showing the best hands on the team and deceptive speed. But he played only about half the season because of two severe ankle injuries (suffered at different times of the season). If he’s healthy, the player called “Oh-oh” could cause opposing defenses to say “Uh-oh” every time the ball comes his way.

What’s the most intriguing question regarding fantasy football and this team in your opinion?
I think the most intriguing question is the McDaniels offense. Will it spread the ball around? How good can it be in year one? Will RB Steven Jackson’s role change (more receptions/fewer carries?)

• Fantasy Playoff Run — Weeks 14-16: @SEA, CIN, @PIT
Something to consider when deciding whether to gamble on Steven Jackson: He draws the Steelers in Pittsburgh in the fantasy title game. You know, the defense that surrendered 63 yards per game on the ground in 2010 and rarely gives up a 100-yard game. Seattle gave up the third-most points to QBs (21.1 ppg) and sixth most to RBs (24 ppg) and WRs (30.4 ppg). The Bengals were middle of the road in most categories.

• Athlon Best Bets
Sam Bradford, QB
Deep-Sleeper: Danario Alexander, WR
Overvalued: Chris Long, DL
Top Rookie: Lance Kendricks, TE
Bounce-Back: Mark Clayton, WR
Top IDP: James Laurinaitis, LB

• Try to Avoid

There’s a lot of quality talent there for Sam Bradford, but it’s a total crapshoot as to who will be the featured receiver. Danny Amendola is the safest bet but the least talented. 

• Draft Class Fantasy Impact
The Rams battled injuries and inconsistency from their pass-catchers last year, but those issues were addressed with the addition of Pettis, Salas and Kendricks. All three players should contribute this season, but how much remains uncertain. The Rams have a crowded receiving corps, which makes this a situation fantasy players will want to watch early in the year to see who emerges as the go-to option for quarterback Sam Bradford.

More Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets and Rankings:
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 280
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 240 w/ IDPs

011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks
011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers

2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends

2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers

2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defense/Special Teams


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