NFC West Dynasty Capsule: St. Louis Rams

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NFC West Dynasty Capsule: St. Louis Rams
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The lights have officially gone out on “The Greatest Show on Turf.” The Rams used to feature one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history with fantasy heroes like Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, and Torry Holt. They now boast a team who scored a league-worst 10.9 points per game last season.

The dynasty value for the players on this team is really up in the air and it will likely be years until St. Louis has many desirable players from a dynasty-based fantasy football perspective. The future of this franchise rests squarely on the shoulders of Sam Bradford. Owners of Rams skill position players just hope those shoulders hold up. Let’s take a look at the Rams in our latest edition of the dynasty capsule.

Players in their Prime

Steven Jackson RB
You really have to feel for Jackson. He’s an absolute workhorse and one of the last remaining featured backs in the league. Unfortunately, he’ll be the focus of the opposing defense every week again this year. It’s pretty amazing he was able to produce 1,416 yards and four touchdowns on a team this inept offensively.

Put him on a team like the Patriots or the Colts and you have a player who could lead all of fantasy in scoring. It’s not going to happen in St. Louis, though. Consider the fact he’ll be 27 by the beginning of the season and it’s time to consider him a player you only want if you feel you’re competing for a league title now. If you’re not, he’s a sell candidate in dynasty leagues.

Rising Players

Sam Bradford QB

This former Oklahoma star will likely be thrown into the fire very quickly. With only AJ Feeley ahead of him on the depth chart, the Rams' patience will be tested early. It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see him start the season at the helm. His poise, arm strength and accuracy are tough to question. However, his durability is a major concern.

While he’s fully healed from his shoulder injury at this point, St. Louis fans have to be holding their breath. Bradford's been on the shelf the last two times he was hit. After seeing Marc Bulger thrown around the past few seasons, it’s a legitimate worry. All things considered, Bradford has the talent and ability to merit being the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft and he should be taken in the late first-round of rookie-only dynasty drafts.

Donnie Avery WR
Many fantasy owners expected Avery to have a big year after he posted 53 catches for 674 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie. His 2009 totals of 47 catches for 589 yards and five touchdowns didn’t exactly meet their expectations. The combination of nagging injuries the past two years and poor offensive execution haven’t helped him much.

He’s arguably the most talented of the Rams receivers and is a pretty good “buy low” candidate in dynasty circles right now, though. While it may be a few years before he has a chance at a 1,000 yard season, he does have talent.

Laurent Robinson WR
Robinson is said to be right on the heels of Avery and should start week one opposite him. He’s shown flashes of ability, but also the tendency to get injured in his three-year career. Is this the year he puts it all together? You could do worse for a fantasy football waiver wire pickup this Summer.

Mardy Gilyard WR
After a great Senior Bowl week, Gilyard’s value was said to be soaring. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t translate to the NFL Draft where the Rams were more than happy to select him in the fourth round. Gilyard is a speedy receiver and explosive return man who could develop into a good weapon for Bradford. He’s a high upside third or fourth-round rookie-only draft pick in dynasty leagues this Summer.

Players with Falling Values

AJ Feeley QB
I wouldn’t be jumping to the waiver wire to grab Feeley. While he very well may start some games this year, your fantasy team is in total disarray if you’re playing him. I’d recommend using a roster spot on a sleeper or developmental player rather than Feeley.

Randy McMichael TE

It doesn’t seem like so long ago when McMichael was an up and coming tight end in Miami. He likely won’t be with the Rams next year after not having his contract renewed and he really shouldn’t be on your roster, either.

Samkon Gado RB
He burst onto the scene in 2005 with Green Bay. He’s been an afterthought ever since with stints in Houston, Miami and St. Louis. If you’re hoping for a rebound as a sleeper, you’re going to find yourself very disappointed.

Sleeper


Kenneth Darby RB
Steven Jackson really has no clear backup at this point. It could be either Chris Ogbonnaya or Kenneth Darby. Regardless, he’d be in a time-share at worst in the event of a Steven Jackson injury.

Darby is one of those guys you’d like to pick up off waivers in a fantasy league, then trade away later for a late-round rookie pick the second he has value. The way Jackson runs, there’s always the chance of injury. Regardless, he’s probably the most talented running back on the roster outside of Jackson.

Super Sleepers

Fendi Onobun TE

This DLF forum favorite is a converted basketball player and major project at tight end. At 6’6” and 249 pounds, he has the size and athleticism you need in a tight end. Combine that with a great opportunity on a depleted team talent-wise and you have the consummate super sleeper.

Michael Hoomanawanui TE
He may not make the team, but any player with this many syllables should be considered dangerous. At the very least, he and Chris Ogbonnaya make for some serious scores in Scrabble.

Summary

The Rams' offense faces an uphill challenge in a lot of ways. They have an incredible anchor in Steven Jackson, but question marks at all other positions. The pressure will be on Sam Bradford to produce early and often. If he can, the dynasty prospects of the Rams’ skill position players will increase accordingly. If he can’t, it’s going to be some time before this team produces any other valuable commodities.

That completes the dynasty capsules for the NFC. We’ll now turn our focus to the AFC, where we’ll take an extended look at the short and long-term futures of the fantasy players from the other sixteen NFL franchises.

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