Last offseason the Rams finally gave up on Sam Bradford and traded him to Philadelphia for Nick Foles. The Rams were hoping that Foles would become their franchise quarterback and revert back to the form he showed in 2013, his second year with the Eagles. That year, Foles threw for 27 touchdowns with only two interceptions and had a completion percentage of 64 percent. Unfortunately for the Rams, Foles did not become that quarterback, and continued to struggle, similar to how he did in his last season in Philadelphia. In 11 games, Foles passed for 2,052 yards, completed only 56.4 percent of his passes, and only passed for seven touchdowns with 11 interceptions. For some reason, before Foles played a snap for the Rams, they rewarded him with a three-year, $27 million contract extension. During the year he was benched in favor of Case Keenum, and the Rams were happier with what they saw from Keenum, naming him the starter as they headed into the offseason. Even though the Rams have stated that Keenum will enter the offseason as their starter, I have to believe Foles will be given a chance to compete with him to be their starter next season. At this point, Foles has little to no fantasy value, besides in super deep two quarterback leagues, where every starting quarterback has value.
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When the Rams acquired Keenum last March it was expected to be as their backup quarterback. As Foles struggled during the year, Keenum got a chance to be their starter. The former Houston Texan, Keenum, played in six games, completing 60.8 percent of his passes, throwing for only 828 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Keenum is best suited to be a backup or third-string quarterback, but the Rams seem to have very little faith in Foles, stating Keenum would head into the offseason as their starter. Similar to Foles, Keenum has no fantasy value, except in leagues where every starting quarterback is rostered.
With Foles and Keenum both best suited to be backup quarterbacks, there may be an opportunity for last year’s third-round pick, Sean Mannion. Many in the draft community were surprised when the Rams used a top 100 selection on Mannion, choosing him with the 89th overall selection, in the third round. As a player, Mannion has the size NFL teams look for at the quarterback position and reminds me of Mike Glennon of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mannion is an interesting stash in two quarterback dynasty leagues or an interesting buy low, as he may get an opportunity to start this year, if the Rams do not address the quarterback position in the draft or free agency.
While the expectations were sky high, Gurley did not disappoint in his rookie season, after the Rams selected him with the 10th pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. While many people thought he would be limited in year one coming off his serious injury in college, Gurley ended up missing only three games. In those other 13 games, Gurley rushed for 1,106 yards, with 10 touchdowns, earning him the NFL offensive rookie of the year. Gurley is the total package, as he has the size, speed, vision, balance, and explosion to be the top running back in all of football. I consider Gurley the top dynasty running back in all of fantasy football, and he would be in my overall top five dynasty rankings.
Following his rookie season, where he rushed for 765 yards and four touchdowns, with an additional 16 receptions for 148 yards receiving, I was very high on Mason. I thought he had the chance to be a really good player and produce RB1 stats for fantasy. Unfortunately for him, once the Rams selected Gurley, everything changed. Mason had the opportunity to start the first few games of the season as Gurley came back from injury, but was unable to do very little with that chance. In addition, Mason dealt with injuries throughout the year and never looked like the player we saw in his rookie season. He finished the year with 207 yards rushing, one rushing touchdown and 18 receptions. Right now, his fantasy value is nothing more than a handcuff to Gurley owners. He is still really young and I like his talent, so I do believe if given a chance he can produce RB2 numbers and might be someone to keep on your radar long term, when he gets an opportunity with a new team in a few years.
Cunningham was signed as undrafted free agent following the 2013 NFL draft and had a productive season in 2014, when he secured 45 receptions for 352 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing for 246 yards and three additional touchdowns. When it looked like Mason was going to be the starting running back, it seemed like Cunningham was going to be the perfect complement to Mason, since he was solid in pass protection and receiving, two areas where Mason struggled. Unfortunately the drafting of Gurley also hurt his value and playing time. This past season he only caught 26 passes for 250 yards receiving, and rushed for 140 yards. He enters this offseason as a restricted free agent and is expected back, but probably as nothing more than an occasional third down back and special teams player. Unless there was an injury to Gurley, Cunningham has no fantasy value.
One under the radar name to keep an eye on is Brown. Brown was a former big-time recruit to Texas but never produced as much as expected in college. He went undrafted last year and the Rams signed him as an undrafted free agent. He looked solid in the preseason, both rushing and receiving. At 5-foot-11 and 224 pounds, he is strong and powerful but has good speed for his size. If given the chance I do believe he can be an effective NFL runner as a backup. If the Rams keep Mason and Cunningham this offseason, make sure to see if anyone signs Brown off the Rams practice squad if they try and put him back on there.
After the Rams selected Tavon Austin with the eighth pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, Austin had a disappointing first two seasons in the league. It seemed like Austin did not have the size to be an every down wide receiver and the Rams struggled with creative ways to get the ball into his hands. This past season, the Rams finally found a way to maximize Austin’s talents and he had his best season of his career, as he was a playmaker in a variety of ways for the them. He caught 52 passes for 473 yards and five touchdowns. In addition, Austin had 52 rushing attempts for 434 yards and four additional rushing touchdowns. While Austin will never be a prototypical number one or two, wide receiver, he is explosive with the ball in his hands and can still win vertically down the field with his speed. For fantasy purposes, I think Austin is a WR 4 that is inconsistent from week to week, based on the number of touches he gets and game flow.
Britt signed a two-year deal last offseason to stay with the Rams. He started and played in all 16 games this past season. He caught 36 passes for 681 yards and three touchdowns. With the offensive game plan built around feeding Gurley and getting Austin touches, Britt was third in the pecking order. If the Rams were to improve their quarterback play, there is a chance Britt could put up better statistics but he is never going to live up to the potential he once showed for the Titans, early in his career. Britt has now played seven seasons in the league and has never caught more than 50 passes or had 800 yards receiving. Britt has little fantasy value and should be on the free agent list in most dynasty leagues.
When the Rams selected Brian Quick in the early part of the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft from Appalachian State, they expected him to develop into a future number one wide receiver. After struggling his first few years, Quick showed signs of development in the early part of the 2014 season, when in eight games he caught 25 passes for 375 yards and three touchdowns. It looked like Quick was finally going to deliver on all that potential that his size, speed and athleticism offered. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious shoulder injury that required surgery and ended his 2014 season. This past season, Quick struggled to get fully healthy and back into the rotation on a regular basis. He finished the season with only ten receptions for 102 yards. He enters the offseason as a free agent and I do not expect him to be back with the Rams. It will be interesting to see where he lands, as I still believe there is some potential to turn his career around and have some fantasy relevance.
Stedman Bailey was expected to show some growth last season as he entered his third season in the league but unfortunately a suspension, followed by a tragic off the field incident changed that. Bailey played sparingly in the first eight games of the year and caught 12 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown. Bailey was then suspended for failing the NFL substance abuse policy. While serving that suspension, Bailey was involved in an off the field incident where he was shot in the head in a drive by shooting in Miami. While many expect him to never play in the NFL again, Bailey is committed to try and prove people wrong and make it back to the league.
When Cook signed a huge free agency deal three years ago, the expectations were that with his size and athleticism he would become one of the elite pass catching tight ends in football and be one of the focal points of the Rams offense. While he has been productive during his first three seasons with the Rams, he has not lived up to the big contract he was given. This past season, he caught 39 passes, for 481 yards and zero touchdowns. With two expensive years still left on his contract, I would expect the Rams to either release the veteran tight end or ask him to take a significant pay cut. If he stays with the Rams, he will be no more than a low end TE2.
When Kendricks was a free agent last year, most expected the Rams to let him leave, with Cook under contract. Kendricks was in high demand, and was close to signing with the Atlanta Falcons, but the Rams came in late and kept him with a four-year, $18.5 million dollar contract to be their number two tight end. Kendricks continued to be an effective real life role player, securing 25 receptions for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Unless Cook was to be cut or gets injured, Kendricks has no fantasy value.
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Great write up to put it into perspective. So basically, besides for Gurley and maybe Austin, the St. Louis Rams are a fantasy sadness factory. Nothing to see here folks.
Don’t you mean Los Angeles Rams?