With Steven Jackson in camp, the St. Louis Rams offensive potential took a major upswing. No secret there. But with fantasy drafts getting ready to slow down servers everywhere over the next week, Jackson's return has implications in that realm as well. Here's a quick, two cents worth of analysis on the fantasy prospects of individual Rams players...and one unit.
Using tiny floating Linehan heads as stars in a tier-like ranking system that seems to be sweeping fantasy analysis...
Steven Jackson, RB - Jackson's back, and he's going to produce in Al Saunders' offense. Two cautionary notes that wouldn't have be here w/out Jackson holdout: 1) he won't see as much work as normal in the first and probably the second game of the season. Plan accordingly. 2) Any long holdout automatically gets an injury risk asterisk next to it. There's not really a direct correlation between holdouts and injury, but not having seen contact ups the possibility. Still Jackson's only 25 and has a reduced workload playing just 12 games last year.
Torry Holt, WR - Holt's usually a 5 star (or head) fantasy contributor, but his age and the offensive learning curve for the new playbook drop his stock somewhat. He could also lose some catches to an increased role for McMichael.
Randy McMichael, TE - The Rams top three receivers this year will be Holt, Jackson and McMichael. That's order I'm safely predicting, but you could have a long debate that the team leaderboard will shape up differently. Either way, McMichael's looked great in preseason and will see a lot of balls thrown his way.
Marc Bulger, QB - Bulger's had a baaaad preseason, at least in the two games thus far, struggling with his timing and getting over some gunshyness after being sacked 764 times, or something like that, recently. Still, it's preseason, and Bulger's a solid veteran. If the o-line holds, he'll be a decent option, thanks in no small part to Steven Jackson's magial receiving abilities.
Rams DST - Yeah, this is a surprise, but I'm fairly optimistic about this group. Return man Dante Hall looks born again, and extra emphasis on the special teams units looks like, through preseason, it could pay off, finally. The defense looks good, except for some questions about depth. Leonard Little leads a front seven that will make some noise this year. The schedule makes this a tough call for three stars (heads), but if you're one of those people who draft defense last, you could do a lot worse.
Drew Bennett, WR - Here's a guy who needs a really big year, or could find himself on the chopping block after the season. He has his doubters.
Keenan Burton, WR - Burton has the size and skeelz to be a good possession receiver. How quickly he adjusts to the pro game and a giant playbook will determine his impact this year. If he seizes the opportunity and Bennett falters, Burton could be a nice waiver wire pick up.
Antonio Pittman, RB - Forget Brian Leonard, if Jackson misses time and the o-line is clicking, Pittman will get the numbers for the Rams...just not enough to make him a feature back on your team since he'll be sharing work with Leonard and Travis Minor. He's still the second best runner on the team.
Keep your eye on: Donnie Avery, WR; Dane Looker, WR; Trent Green, QB.