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Offseason Primers: St. Louis Rams

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Rams didn't exactly inspire a lot of confidence in Fantasy owners with the moves they made this offseason. It's hard to explain that the team got better when they let their No. 1 running back in Steven Jackson and No. 1 receiver in Danny Amendola leave via free agency without any quality replacements in return.

St. Louis did upgrade at one spot with the addition of tight end Jared Cook from Tennessee, but the Rams are clearly rebuilding on offense with the exception of quarterback Sam Bradford. And even he has a lot to prove after three inconsistent seasons as the starter.

2012 Touches Leaders
742 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
Steven Jackson 295 (257 car., 38 rec.) 39.7%
Daryl Richardson 122 (98 car., 24 rec.) 16.4%
Danny Amendola 65 (2 car., 63 rec.) 8.7%
Brandon Gibson 51 rec. 6.8%
Chris Givens 45 (3 car., 42 rec.) 6.0%
All Others 164 22.1%

We'll likely find out during NFL Draft weekend how the Rams plan to replace Jackson -- drafting Alabama's Eddie Lacy is a strong possibility -- and it appears like Chris Givens and Brian Quick will have the chance to emerge as starting receivers for the Rams (they also lost Brandon Gibson as a free agent to Miami). Cook also has the chance to be a starting Fantasy tight end, especially in deeper leagues.

You probably won't find many starting Fantasy options on the Rams roster this year (the Rams DST and Greg Zuerlein are possibilities as well), but Givens, Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead have some sleeper appeal. And if Bradford can continue to improve, even with a scaled-down receiving corps, he might find himself as a quality bye-week or injury replacement.

But the look of this roster on offense coming into the season, especially in the tough NFC West led by defensive stalwarts San Francisco and Seattle, could make it hard to trust many of the "weapons" for the Rams this year.

Chris Givens -- Sleeper

2012 Target Leaders
557 pass attempts
Danny Amendola 101 18.1%
Brandon Gibson 82 14.7%
Chris Givens 80 14.3%
Lance Kendricks 64 11.4%
Steven Jackson 53 9.5%
All Others 177 31.7%

Givens has the chance to be the No. 1 receiver for the Rams this year with Amendola gone and if no significant receiver is brought in for competition. In 2012, his rookie year, Givens posted moderate stats with 42 catches for 698 yards and three touchdowns, but he played well during the five games Amendola was out, which was Weeks 6-8 and 13-14. Givens had at least eight Fantasy points in four of those five games and benefitted from the increased targets. He should be considered a late-round flier in all leagues this season, even if he's the No. 1 option in the passing game. But Givens has plenty of upside, so keep him on your radar on Draft Day.

Jared Cook -- Bust

Cook wanted out of Tennessee, but he wanted to be reunited with former coach Jeff Fisher. It made sense for him to sign with the Rams because St. Louis is desperate for help in the passing game with Amendola gone and a lack of talent at the position with Lance Kendricks mediocre at best. But is Cook really going to blossom into an elite-level Fantasy option? Consider that his best year so far in the NFL was 2011 when he had 49 catches for 759 yards and three touchdowns. He had just one game with double digits in Fantasy points in 2012. And the Rams haven't exactly featured the tight end in Bradford's tenure with Kendricks' stats last year (42 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns on 64 targets) the best in three seasons. We hope Cook uses this opportunity as a stepping stone for his career, but we're not buying into him as a No. 1 option. At best, leave him undrafted in most standard leagues, and if he starts off the season playing well then add him off the waiver wire.

Daryl Richardson/Isaiah Pead -- Remember the names

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Sam Bradford Undrafted
Daryl Richardson 106-114 overall
Isaiah Pead 126-133 overall
Chris Givens 130-139 overall
Brian Quick Undrafted
Austin Pettis Undrafted
Jared Cook 143-150 overall

When the expectation was Jackson was leaving the Rams (he signed with the Falcons in case you missed it) the thought was Richardson and Pead would have the chance to compete for the starting job. That still might be the case, but Fisher told me at the NFL owners meeting in March that the Rams want to add a "big back" to the mix. That probably leaves Richardson and Pead in complementary roles. Still, if the Rams miss on Lacy or another rookie or fail to sign a quality veteran, we could be looking at Richardson and Pead as the main options in the backfield. In 2012, Richardson's rookie season, he was the No. 2 running back in St. Louis with 98 carries for 475 yards and 24 catches for 163 yards. Pead, meanwhile, was a bust as a rookie with 10 carries for 54 yards and three catches for 16 yards. We'll see what happens between now and training camp, but keep an eye on Richardson and Pead all offseason. If either is named the starter they could emerge as a No. 3 Fantasy running back with upside.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
DeAndre Hopkins ready to assume Texans' No. 1 WR role
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(10:53 am ET) Third-year receiver DeAndre Hopkins is now the focal point of the Texans' WR corps, and he is comfortable with the responsibility of being the top target with veteran Andre Johnson gone, per the Houston Chronicle

Hopkins caught 76 passes for 1,210 yards last season despite working with four quarterbacks. The Texans' QB situation remains unsettled, but Hopkins is eager to make an impact. 

"I'm going to demand the ball and make them (coaches and teammates) think I'm the (go-to) guy. That's always been my mentality every time I step on the field," Hopkins said.


Broncos sign WR Corbin Louks
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(10:05 am ET) Faced with a season-ending injury to wide receiver Kyle Williams, the Broncos responded by signing receiver Corbin Louks on Monday, the team announced. 

Louks has spent time on the practice squads of the Chiefs and Seahawks after playing college ball at Utah and Nevada. 


Bills name OL Richie Incognito one of team's starters
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(9:55 am ET) Bills coach Rex Ryan has been happy with what he's seen from offensive lineman Richie Incognito, so much so that he has named the veteran the starter at left guard, per the Associated Press

Incognito, who saw his career halted due to his role in a bullying scandal while a member of the Dolphins, signed with the Bills in February for a second chance.

"One thing's for sure, Richie's a starter," Ryan said. "He looks about as good as any of them. He really does."


Report: Ravens SS Matt Elam (biceps) out for season
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(9:43 am ET) Ravens safety Matt Elam, who was injured during practice Saturday, is reportedly out for the season with a torn biceps, per The Baltimore Sun

Elam is expected to undergo surgery and will miss four-to-six months. The former first-round pick was fighting for a starting job and apparently suffered the injury while covering a receiver during practice.

"I haven't heard on the MRI yet, but I'm not real optimistic right now," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.


Chiefs waive DT Jerel Worthy
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(9:29 am ET) The Chiefs announced Monday they have waived defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, whom the team signed to its practice squad in October. 

Worthy played in 14 games in 2012 with the Packers, but tore his ACL in Week 17 of that season and has only played in two games since then.


Redskins RB Matt Jones suffers knee injury Sunday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8/2/2015) Redskins running back Matt Jones is being evaluated after sustaining a knee injury during Sunday's practice, reports The Washington Post.

Jones was a third-round draft pick in the 2015 draft and is expected to compete for the starting running back role.


Redskins WR DeSean Jackson dealing with finger issue
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8/2/2015) Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson suffered a dislocated finger during Saturday's practice and is having the injury further evaluated Sunday, reports The Washington Post

Jackson caught 56 passes for 1,169 yards and six touchdowns last season.


49ers DT Darnell Dockett is 'ready to go'
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8/2/2015) 49ers defensive tackle Darnell Dockett did not participate in Saturday's practice, but coach Jim Tomsula said the team was just being cautious, reports ESPN.com.

"He's ready to go," Tomsula said of Dockett. "There's no limitations on him from the training room."

Tomsula added that the plan is to limit Dockett's work during team drills to protect his surgically-repaired knee, which cost him the entire 2014 season.


Report: Broncos LB Von Miller no longer in NFL drug program
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8/2/2015) Broncos linebacker Von Miller was recently released from the NFL's drug program, a source told The Denver Post.

With Miller not failing a drug test over the last two years along with a new drug policy, Miller has been removed from the program and will no longer require multiple tests each week.

Miller violated the league's drug policy in 2013 and was suspended for six games.


Eagles limit running back DeMarco Murray in Sunday's practice
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8/2/2015) Despite not being listed with an injury, Eagles running back DeMarco Murray did not participate in any of the team drills during Sunday's practice, reports ESPN.com.

Murray participated in the early portion of the practice, but then watched the rest from the sideline. Coach Chip Kelly did not mention any injury to Murray before the practice began.


 
 
 
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