One win and a near upset of the undefeated New Orleans Saints and all of the sudden the St. Louis Rams aren't so easy for fantasy players to ignore. The team still lacks reliable, every week fantasy players outside of RB Steven Jackson. At this point, guys like Donnie Avery, Brandon Gibson and Daniel Fells offer respectable, sneaky bye week options. This week's game against the Arizona Cardinals will go a long way toward answering whether or not those players could move beyond bye week fill-ins to guys worthy of keeping on your roster. The first question we need to ask is whether or not we are seeing real progress from the Rams offense? Three things indicate that the answer is yes.
- The offensive line is playing well. Signing C Jason Brown and drafting Jason Smith represented a major investment for the team and provided the basis for the rebuilding project as Spagnuolo builds from the foundation up. Smith is anchoring the right side of the line, overcoming any preseason questions about his adjustment to the three-point stance. The Rams favor the middle and right side for their running game, and Jackson continues to rack up more and more yards thanks to the entire offensive line functioning well as a unit.
- Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is finally opening the play book. Besides a stellar job in run blocking, the OL is giving Marc Bulger time in the pocket, and the passing game is now throwing the ball downfield to Donnie Avery, forcing defenses to respect his speed and ability to get behind safeties.
- The WR situation may be resolved. Maybe. Last week, Bradon Gibson, acquired from Philly in the Will Witherspoon trade, made a real impression, pressed into service for the injured Keenan Burton. One week wonder or not? It's hard to say, but against the Saints Gibson showed great hands and the athleticism to get yards after the catch, exactly what the Rams have been missing from the wide receivers this season. If he's the real deal, the Rams might have an effective enough passing game to score some points.
Obviously, Steven Jackson is a must start this week or any week. The Cardinals gave up 123 yards to Justin Forsett against the Seahawks last week. In week 8, DeAngelo Williams picked up 158 yards.
Donnie Avery looks like a good player to start this week too. The Cardinals allow 253.4 yards passing on average, and have allowed the fourth most, 32, passing plays of 20 yards or more.
Brandon Gibson is a risky start because he's still relatively unknown. If he has another good week, definitely grab him off the waiver wire.