For the second year, looking at who will be the wide receiver to own in St. Louis is one of the most interesting positional breakdowns i
all of fantasy football. Last year, it obviously didn’t matter with the total ineptness of the Rams offense. With the addition of Jeff Fisher as head coach, I would be willing to wager the offensive line will hold up enough to allow Sam Bradford an opportunity to throw. Bradford has the talent to be a top 5 quarterback in the NFL and to find his go-to wide receiver at a bargain can do wonders for your fantasy team. So here is a look at all of the wide receivers that matter in St. Louis.
Quick is the first guy we will take a look at because he is the one that everyone expects to be the number one wide receiver. Everything out of St. Louis says they expect him to be a big part of their offense immediately. That very well may happen but to expect that out of a small school rookie is a bit much in my opinion. Quick has the size, speed, and all the attributes to be a big time playmaker but you have to expect a transition period. If he can be had at a value, you should buy him. I wouldn’t recommend counting on him though.
Pettis was drafted in the third round last year and was part of the Rams retooled offense. He rewarded their investment with 27 catches for 256 yards. Pettis just doesn’t have any skill that makes him stand out. He has pretty good hands but doesn’t get open or make plays once he has the ball. Pettis is no more than a third or fourth WR on the depth chart in the NFL at best. He has no fantasy value.
Last year there was a ton of buzz about Danny Amendola. He was coming off a 85 catch year and Josh McDaniels was going to turn him into the next Wes Welker. What people failed to see was Amendola caught all those passes but only averaged 8.1 YPC. A lot of these passes were dump offs but Amendola still failed to create plays. He has good hands but even with good hands, his 74% catch rate was out of whack. He may find his way on the field again but I have my doubts. Even if he does though, he won’t see 114 targets in his career again.
Salas is one of my targets this year. He can be had at a very low price but the upside is WR3 numbers this year. He is a very underrated wide receiver. Salas was labeled as a slot receiver by many “experts” prior to the draft. At 6’1” and 209 lbs, he is physical and has the ability to make plays all over the field. Salas hit his stride in week 2 last year and in a 5 week span before his broken leg he has 26 catches for 241 yards (those numbers across 16 games would mean 86 catches for 771 yards). The yards per catch are very low I see but that is a product of quick throws to make up for a horrible offensive line. Salas has upside and is a bargain at his current price.
Talent, potential, and injuries. That sums up Danario. He teases fantasy owners with great games. After one healthy game though, he is on the injury report for 5 weeks and doesn’t do anything. At this point he is worth a stash in leagues with huge rosters but that is all. With his injury history, he is hardly a lock to make the Rams final roster.
Givens is the “other” rookie. He doesn’t have Quick’s size/speed ratio but at 5’11” and 198 lbs, he is big enough to get the job done. Givens put up crazy numbers at Wake Forest in 2011 with 83 receptions, 1330 yards, and 9 touchdowns. I would argue that Givens is more NFL ready than Quick. If Quick doesn’t produce as fast as the organization expects, Givens could have an opportunity to carve out a roll in this offense. Opportunity plus execution equals happy fantasy football owners.
Smith is another one of my targets this offseason. Foolishly, Steve turned down a sizeable 5 year extension with the Giants before a nasty knee injury. Before the injury, Steve was one of the most reliable wide receivers in the NFL. He always got open, found soft spots in coverage, made big plays when needed, and most importantly caught the football. He was Eli Manning’s security blanket and if the knee is healthy he alone could work wonders for Sam Bradford’s confidence and development. This is the most overlooked guy amongst the Rams wide receivers. Pay attention to the medical reports on him. If they are good, he is worth the risk.
There are a lot of possibilities in this offense. There are enough question marks to have countless debates over this. As a fantasy owner you have to treat situations like this purely on a risk/reward basis. Is there enough upside in player X to warrant paying price Y?
Brian Quick is obviously the most expensive of these wide receivers and while the upside is incredibly high, don’t get carried away with the escalating price tag. Don’t expect immediate production. I do think Quick is an outstanding prospect, but make sure you treat him as just that: a prospect. The better risk/reward candidates for production at their current prices are Greg Salas, Chris Givens, and Steve Smith.