2013 Team Outlook: Saint Louis Rams
WR Tavon Austin, STL - 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.
WR Austin Pettis, STL - Deep-league Only
Pettis is a complementary player and unlikely to play a heavy number of snaps. He was the no. 4 WR for the Rams last season and the talent ahead of him has improved since then.
WR Stedman Bailey, STL - Dynasty Only
Bailey was Tavon Austin's West Virginia teammate and actually had the better receiving stats in college. Nevertheless, his small stature and mediocre speed are likely to place him at fourth or lower on the initial WR depth chart. He'll be a contributor in the return game.
WR Chris Givens, STL - Sleeper (undervalued)
There was a five game stretch last season during which Givens recorded a catch of 50 yards or more in every contest. His over-the-top speed is superb, but it was his late-season development following the Danny Amendola injury that showcased the versatility Givens possesses. This season he'll be a starter on the outside and could benefit in the matchup game as defenses focus on stopping fellow burner Tavon Austin.
Update: Chris Givens continues to catch the deep ball with ease. There's arguably not a better deep ball receiver in the league right now. Torrey Smith comes to mind, but Givens seems to do it with such consistency; the only factor holding him down is amount of targets. We think Bradford knows now that Givens is the most reliable target on the field and will begin to use him as such. He's a nice pick, especially as your 4th wide receiver.
TE Jared Cook, STL - Solid/Safe Pick
The Rams won the bidding war for one of this year's most sought after free agents. Cook's $35-million dollar contract puts him among the elite at his position, though he has yet to prove he can be an elite fantasy commodity. The speed, size and skill are givens; now it is just a matter of St. Louis being able to use him more effectively than Tennessee did.
Update: 8/15 - So, apparently Jared Cook has looked better than anyone in the entire NFL this pre-season (according to Peter King). We've heard this story before, however it doesn't take much to see that Jared Cook can be a Top 10 tight end in this league. This is the year we here at FFToolbox are saying, "Go Get Cook" as your starter, just don't pay a crazy price to do it. If you're not getting Jimmy Graham, Witten, Gronkowski or Gonzalez, Cook falls into the next tier of tight ends that's about 10 deep. Feel free to pick him off the board right after the names listed above are gone.
TE Lance Kendricks, STL - Deep-league Only
Kendricks is a big, fast receiver who displayed improved hands last season and became a matchup challenge for opposing defenses. Unfortunately for him, the Rams went ahead and signed a bigger, faster TE with impecable hands. Kendricks will take a backseat to Jared Cook, but should still see some playing time in this pass-focused offense .