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Can TE Randy McMichael rekindle past glory in the Rams new offense?

My fantasy credentials aren't going to get me invited to any champions league with a six figure kitty or anything like that, but working with a community of Rams everyday, I think we have a pretty good idea about our team. For that reason, I'm pretty high on TE Randy McMichael as guy worth having on your fantasy roster. Yeah, he's not going to have the kind of stats that a top tier TE will, but he'll be a nice get if you opt to hold off, take a RB or WR when the TE run starts in your draft or a solid back up if you have enough space to play the match-ups.

If he can stay healthy, he's going to make an impact, and there's no reason to think he won't be among the top three Rams players for receptions when the season's over, thanks to the West Coast offense and some unknowns behind Donnie Avery at WR. 

A fantasy prediction at KFFL gives this range estimating McMichael's fantasy stats:

Receptions: 43-53
Yards: 478-578
TD: 2-4

Nothing to sneeze at. Prior to joining the Rams, MicMichael put up solid numbers in Miami, topping 580 yards every season between 2003-2006. In all but one of those seasons, 2003, he had more than 60 receptions. Of course, McMichael was younger then, and not coming off a year where he broke his tibia (leg).

Obviously, that's a serious injury. McMichael, however, practiced at full speed in the spring. Prior to last season, he played in all 16 games since his rookie year in 2002.

Football Outisders predicts 51 receptions, 531 yards, and 5 TDs for the Rams starting TE. More importantly, in their 2009 Almanac, they predict a catch rate of 67%. That last number is an important one. Catch rate for receivers (or tight ends in this case) is as important to their predictability and performance as completion rate for a QB. Since joining the Rams, McMichael's catch rate has been under 60%. In 2006, his last season before becoming a Ram, he had a 66% catch rate.

One other factor complication McMichael's fantasy value is Daniel Fells, last season's waiver wire addition that showed potential filling in for McMichael and an expert level grasp of the playbook in camp this spring. If McMichael succumbs to injury or loses a step, Fells could become a sleeper similar to what happened with the Eagles Brent Celek when he was filling in for L.J. Smith.

That at least gives you some food for thought come fantasy draft time.