2013 Team Outlook: Saint Louis Rams
QB Sam Bradford, PHI - Sleeper (undervalued)
Bradford's arrow is pointing up after the Rams finally committed to getting him some pass protection and receiver help. The improvements began in 2012, while this offseason saw the big name additions of Jake Long, Jared Cook and Tavon Austin. Coaching consistency helps too. This year, for the first time since he turned pro, Bradford won't have to learn a new offense under yet another new coordinator. With Steven Jackson now plying his trade in Atlanta, this is Bradford's team.
QB Austin Davis, --- - Not Draft Worthy
Davis looks to have passed Kellen Clemens for the no. 2 job. He has yet to throw a regular season pass but, for what it's worth, was impressive last preseason. He would face a steep learning curve if he's forced to see action this year.
RB Daryl Richardson, PIT - Quality Backup
Richardson did a fine job backing up Steven Jackson last season. The lightly regarded 7th-round pick rolled up 475 yards on just 95 carries while pitching in 24 grabs for 168 yards. Though he's the RB on the roster with the most NFL game experience, he's probably best suited to a 3rd-down role. We expect him to be locked into an eventual time-share with the team's more rugged between-the-tackles rushers like Isaiah Pead and rookie Zac Stacy.
Update: 8/10 Daryl Richardson has been named the team's starter and looks every bit the part as he's flashed extremely well in camp. We could be looking at a breakout candidate if this continues through the preseason. Keep an eye on him in Week 2 and 3 of the preseason. If he continues to shine, his stock will continue to rise to somewhere in the mid 6th or 7th round. Intriguing prospect to take a flier on, especially if you started wide receiver heavy in your draft.
RB Isaiah Pead, MIA - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Despite a disappointing rookie season, there's reason to be optimistic about Pead's fantasy prospects. He's a better interior runner than Daryl Richardson and his extra year of experience gives him a leg up on Zac Stacy. Pead will have a chance to earn a major role in the now wide-open Rams backfield competition. His Week 1 suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy is a minor setback.
RB Zac Stacy, --- - Dynasty Only
St. Louis traded up in the draft to grab Stacy, now a popular fantasy dark horse. Vanderbilt's record-holder could force a messy training camp battle for the rights to the team's top running back duties. At the very least, he'll be in line for shares in a backfield committee.
WR Tavon Austin, LAR - Gamble (high risk)
His pure athleticism is nearly unparalleled and he will undoubtedly be the star of numerous highlight reels this season. When watching him in person, his speed is hard to believe. The question is: can Tavon Austin possibly live up to the immense hype in his rookie year? Those managers buying in will need to burn a top pick in order to find out just what the undersized dynamo can do when he faces professionals for the first time. It will likely take Austin very little time to adjust to life in the NFL. Take him as your WR4 with confidence.