Fantasy Team Preview: St. Louis

John Halpin examines the fantasy value of the St. Louis Rams.

Overall outlook: Steven Jackson’s departure takes away this team’s best fantasy player, but overall, they might get a bit better across the board.

Bye week: 11

Quarterback: Sam Bradford

Ranked 18th among quarterbacks with 264.3 fantasy points in 2012 … Was 15th in passing yards (3,702), 11th in attempts (551) and 18th in TD passes (21) … YPA improved to a career best 6.72, but that still ranked 26th in the league … New spread offense could help him … Doesn’t crack the top 15, but could be a dependable, low-end QB2.

Running back: Daryl Richardson

Ranked 47th among running backs with 61.8 fantasy points in 2012 … Was 33rd with 475 rushing yards on 98 carries, and caught 24 passes for 163 yards … Head coach Jeff Fisher said on August 6 that Richardson “comes back as our starter” … Only 196 pounds, Richardson probably plays bigger than that … Based on Fisher’s comments, Richardson appears to be a solid RB3.

Running back: Isaiah Pead

Lost carries to fellow rookie Richardson in 2012, running just 10 times for 54 yards and catching three passes … Will miss the season opener due to a substance abuse-related suspension … Rams seem committed to using Pead, but will he beat out Richardson? He didn’t last season. Hmm … RB4 with upside (and downside if he makes another character mistake).

Running back: Zac Stacy

The Rams drafted Stacy in the fifth round out of Vanderbilt … Ran for a combined 2,334 yards in his junior and senior seasons … At 216 pounds, he’s bigger than Richardson and Pead … Can block and catch passes … Makes for a tempting RB5 pick, as he has more traditional lead-back characteristics than the other Ram backs.

Wide receiver: Tavon Austin

The Rams drafted Austin in the first round out of West Virginia … At 5’9”, 174 pounds, his name doesn’t go anywhere without the word “explosive” in front of it … Some analysts have Austin as a WR2, but he’s probably better near the WR3/4 cusp … However, if you want to get excited about Austin, read this article.

Wide receiver: Chris Givens

Ranked 52nd among wideouts with 91 fantasy points in 2012 … Was 62nd in receptions (42), 46th in receiving yards (698) and scored three times … Entering second season, could have upside as a WR5 if he improves … Early word from camp has been good.

Wide receiver: Brian Quick

Caught just 11 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie … At 6’3”, 220 pounds, is clearly the Rams’ biggest receiver … Drafted in the second round last year, and might be worth a late-round flier in deeper formats due to talent alone.

Tight end: Jared Cook

Predecessor Lance Kendricks ranked 18th among tight ends with 77.9 fantasy points in 2012, on the strength of 42 receptions, 519 yards and four touchdowns … As a Titan last season, Cook was 20th with 74.3 points, going 44-523-4 … Bradford seems to really like Cook already, and that’s making Cook a top-10 tight end on many draftboards.

Placekicker: Greg Zuerlein

“Young GZ” was 24th with 105 fantasy points in 2012 … Was mid-pack with 23 of 31 field goals, and T-25 with 26 extra points … Tremendous range, with seven field goals of 50-plus yards … Is a top-10 kicker in many circles, with the Rams’ offense seemingly poised for improvement … This may be a reach, but Rob Bironas had enough opportunity to be a semi-consistent top-five fantasy kicker when Fisher coached him in Tennessee.

Team defense (DST)

Ranked ninth with 126 fantasy points in 2012 … 14th in yards allowed (5,482), T-14 in points allowed (348), T-11 in interceptions (17), 31st in fumble recoveries (four) and a big T-1 in sacks (52) … Rookie CB Janoris Jenkins scored four of their five touchdowns … Look for a repeat as a top-10 unit.