2015 Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Grab This St. Louis Ram
OK. Let's be clear about something from the start: Your fantasy football team will be just fine in 2015 if it includes no St. Louis Rams.
This is a shaky offense with a shaky O-line, talented but largely unproven pass-catchers, a questionable QB and a stud rookie runner whose role remains unclear as he works back from an ACL tear.
That said, if you want to take a chance on someone in St. Louis without spending too much draft capital, Brian Quick should be your target.
Quick got off to an encouraging start in 2014. Through 6 healthy outings, he led the Rams in targets, drawing 16.9% of the team's total looks. He ranked among the top 36 PPR receivers in 4 of those 6 games, despite beating Kenny Britt in targets just 3 times over that span.
But Quick's season ended with a Week 8 shoulder injury. He needed surgery to repair 3 torn ligaments and the rotator cuff. The rehab kept him out of offseason workouts, but the 4th-year receiver proved healthy enough to avoid the PUP list for the start of training camp.
That gives Quick a clear shot at the top receiver role. In his absence -- from Week 8 on -- Britt reached 4 catches just 4 times last season and surpassed that number only twice (weeks 15 and 16). Stedman Bailey had a couple of nice weeks but didn't sustain his production. New OC Frank Cignetti said he plans to get Tavon Austin more involved, but the former top-10 pick reached 3 catches in a game just 3 times last year and got to 4 only once. (He never exceeded 4.)
Quick looks like the best bet to lead this team in targets, though that might not prove to be a lucrative role.
St. Louis spent the 10th overall pick on RB Todd Gurley and clearly want the run game to lead the offense. In 19 full years as an NFL HC, Jeff Fisher has had just 2 teams rank higher than 16th in pass attempts. Just 1 of his past 8 teams has ranked higher than 23rd, and that came last year. Nick Foles might prove to be an upgrade over Shaun Hill and Austin Davis, but Pro Football Focus graded him just 25th among passers in the league last year.
The good news for Quick is that he began 2014 looking like the player the Rams thought he could become when they made him a somewhat surprising 2nd-round pick in 2012. And he's heading into just his age-26 season. Quick's 6'3, 218-pound frame and decent 4.55-second 40 time (from the 2012 Scouting Combine) make him useful anywhere on the field. PFF also counted just 2 drops among his 27 "catchable" targets last year. That displayed improvement over Quick's 4 drops among 22 such looks in 2013 and 2 among 13 "catchable" throws in 2012.
Quick still has opportunity, albeit in a low-ceiling pass offense with plenty of competition for targets. His ADP hasn't climbed out of late-Round 11 range, which makes him a low-risk shot to take as a WR5. Quick looks fine as a fantasy reserve and has upside into WR3 range if passing volume helps him out.