Quickly now, name the only National Football League club that has failed to crack the 20 points per game scoring plateau for five consecutive seasons? It wasn't the Cleveland Browns as they did it with 25.1 PPG in 2007. It also wasn't the Kansas City Chiefs, who scored 22.9 PPG in 2010. If your answer was the St. Louis Rams - you are correct. While the 2010 arrival of QB Sam Bradford was thought to be a light at the end tunnel, there is still a lot of work to be done under the dome in the Show Me State
St. Louis Rams Quarterback Fantasy Options
Once recognized as the "Greatest Show on Turf," the Rams have averaged just 14.4 points per game dating back to the 2007 NFL season. With offensive scoring having a direct correlation on fantasy football success, the Rams have been a total disaster. Things were supposed to change at the Edward Jones Dome with the arrival of Bradford via the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. However, a lack of surrounding offensive talent has shackled the former Sooner who has flopped like a fish on the shores of the mighty Mississippi.
Heading into the 2012 NFL season, Bradford will be working with his third different offensive coordinator in three years. I'm certainly not sold on OC Brian Schottenheimer, who guided the New York Jets to an average of 21.7 PPG game over the past six seasons in a run based offense. With 18 TD and 3,512 passing yards in his rookie season, Bradford showed signs of promise. An injury plagued 2011 season (10 games played) saw those numbers drop to six TD and 2,164 PY in 2011.
Rams QB Analysis: Understanding that you can't create a Picasso without paint, one has to give Bradford a break. Rams quarterbacks were sacked an average of 3.4 times per game in 2011. That number was good for a tie with the Seahawks for the most in the league. Bradford was the victim of 36 of those sacks (34 in 2010) and Ndamukong Suh, along with the vaunted Lions defensive, are first up in 2012. If you select Joe Flacco or Matt Schaub as your starting QB, Bradford could work as a fill in during their Week 8 bye.
St. Louis Rams Running Back Fantasy Options
As the lone beacon on the Rams fantasy horizon in recent years, RB Steven Jackson has to be respected as one of the toughest hombres in the NFL. Working without any semblance of an offensive line or a supporting cast at the wide receiver position, S-Jax has racked up over 1,200 total yards for seven consecutive seasons. While he hasn't come close to his 16 total TD scored in 2006, Jackson has averaged double digit weekly scoring every year since 2005.
While the changing of the guard at the running back position may be still be a year or two away in St. Louis, RB Isaiah Pead appears to be the heir apparent under the Arch. The Rams' 2012 second round draft pick (18 OA out of Cincinnati) was a bell cow back in college as the former Bearcat posted 237 rushing attempts in his senior season. At just 5'11 and 200 lbs, it's going to be interesting to see if Pead can make it on the big stage in the NFL.
Rams RB Analysis: Currently ranked as the RB12 here at FFTB, and with Rams new head coach Jeff Fisher promising a ground and pound game plan in St. Louis, Jackson should crack the top ten in RB fantasy scoring during NFL 2012. Though his durability is questioned in some circles, Jackson has only missed two games over the past three seasons. After drawing the first overall pick in my draft, I would be thrilled if S-Jax was still on the board when my second selection (24 OA) rolls around. Pead will be the undisputed backup for Jackson and should be snagged as his handcuff.
St. Louis Rams Wide Receiver Fantasy Options
Oh how Rams fans have longed for the days of Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. That dynamic dual posted 2,664 yards and 16 TD in 2004 – the last time St. Louis was fantasy competitive. Since that season, the Rams have posted a 29-83 record and have not had a top ten fantasy WR since Holt posted 1,188 yards and10 TD in 2006. One has to scroll all the way down to the WR57 position on the FFTB WR cheat sheet to find the top Ram wide out.
That's where you'll find Rams rookie WR Brian Quick . At 6'4" and 220 lbs, this former Mountaineer has the physical attributes of an NFL wide receiver; how he makes the leap from tiny Appalachian State University remains to be seen. Traveling the FCS independent school route (formerly Division 1-AA) worked out well for former fantasy studs like Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss. St. Louis is hoping that Brian is quick to make his NFL mark.
After an uneventful season with the "Dream Team" in Philadelphia, WR Steve Smith lands in St. Louis and currently sits in the WR1 spot on the Rams depth chart. After a career year in 2009 (1,220 YD and 7 TD) Smith has managed a total of just 653 yards and four TD over the past two seasons. The WR1 role has basically been given to the former USC Trojan star as WR Danario Alexander and WR Brandon Gibson are both dealing with hamstring injuries.
Rams WR Analysis: Gibson and Alexander better get healthy soon or they may find themselves without a job. Rookie WR Chris Givens and sophomore WR Austin Petitis have both been making some noise in training camp. There are more questions than answers on the Rams wide receiver depth chart heading into 2012. Remember, this will be a run first offense. That doesn't bode well for anyone catching a lot of balls in St. Louis.
St. Louis Rams Tight End Fantasy Options
When it comes to fantasy tight end scoring, St. Louis has been a black hole dating back over a decade. TE Ernie Conwell posted 67.1 FP in 2001, making him the highest scoring Rams TE in the past 12 seasons. That could change in 2012 though as along with the new grind it out game plan, the Rams will also be looking to the TE position for scoring.
Sophomore TE Lance Kendricks is currently listed as the top tight end in St. Louis. Still looking for his first NFL TD, the former Wisconsin Badger posted 352 yards in his rookie season. Thankfully we won't have to spell out the name TE Michael Hoomanawanui very often this season, as "Illinois Mike" will be used primarily as the blocking tight end in the Rams offense.
Rams TE Analysis: Though not the same size as the new proto-typical NFL tight end (Kendricks is only 6' 3") there is some sleeper value here. Kendricks should get somewhere in the range of 90 or so targets in the Rams RB and TE friendly game plan this season. While we aren't suggesting he should be your "go to TE" watch where Kendricks falls and consider him as a snatch and stash candidate during your Draft Day.
St. Louis Rams Fantasy Bottom Line: Despite playing in the weakest division in the NFL, it's going to be another long season for Bardford & Co. in St. Louis. Although he's approaching 30 years of age, with a ton of wear on his tires, consider Jackson as a low end RB1. The rest of the Rams are best left out to pasture as you stock the top end of you 2012 fantasy squad.