St. Louis Rams receiver Chris Givens hasn't quite been on the same page with Sam Bradford for most of the season. But whenever the two do connect, it generates huge plays that no one else in the receiving corps can provide, which makes Givens a great fantasy pickup for his deep-threat potential alone.
The rookie fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest has had to step up in the absence of sure-handed Danny Amendola.
Givens has also surprisingly been the team's most impressive first-year receiver due to the disappointing play of early second-round pick Brian Quick. The Appalachian State product has barely been able to crack the rotation even with Amendola sidelined.
When Bradford has been able to find Givens this season, the receiver's seven catches for 197 yards entering Week 7 speaks to his viability as a downfield target.
Can Chris Givens emerge as a consistent fantasy starter?
The sub-4.4 speed Givens brings to the table can take away a safety and open up the rest of the offense for running back Steven Jackson and crafty underneath receiver Brandon Gibson, the only other decent receiver at Bradford's current disposal.
Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch documents the assessment of Bradford by Football Outsiders, which stated that Bradford may be the worst starting QB in the league. Part of that is due to having poor protection and virtually hero help around him.
Although Bradford doesn't have the strongest arm in the league, he has proven to be accurate down the field nonetheless. That was one of his most coveted attributes as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, and Givens finally gives him the opportunity to utilize that part of his skill set.
As well as the Rams' defense has played this season, Sunday's matchup against the Green Bay Packers showed that they can't contend with an elite offense. The previous three QBs the top-five pass defense faced were Russell Wilson, Kevin Kolb and Ryan Tannehill, all who still have much to prove in the NFL.
In a home tilt with Aaron Rodgers and Co., it was clear that the Rams were overmatched.
So, too, was the Packers' secondary when Givens got opportunities to make plays. In addition to a 14-yard run, Givens hauled in a 56-yard catch in tallying three catches for 73 yards.
Despite the perceived inconsistency, a noteworthy stat posted by the St. Louis Rams' official Twitter indicates that Givens has especially come on strong over the past month:
A 56-yard catch and run by WR Chris Givens marks his fourth straight game with a catch of 50-plus.
— St. Louis Rams (@STLouisRams) October 21, 2012
The rapport between Bradford and his explosive rookie receiver should only continue to improve as the season progresses, and Givens has established himself as the most legitimate big-play threat St. Louis has through just seven weeks.
Without any other receivers truly emerging, expect Givens to continue improving and emerge as a surefire flex fantasy play to help keep the Rams competitive in the NFC West.