The L.A. Rams spent a 5th-round pick on Virginia LB Micah Kiser on Saturday, before picking up 2 more LBs. Seventh-round pick Travin Howard averaged 115 total tackles over 3 seasons at TCU, including 20.5 tackles for loss. He also defensed 7 passes in his final campaign. Undrafted free agent Tegray Scales tallied 214 total tackles, including 36.5 for loss and 13 sacks over his final 2 seasons at Indiana. The 230-pounder also contributed 8 career INTs. Kiser, though, is the best bet to take over the spot vacated when the Rams traded ILB Alec Ogletree to the Giants. Kizer racked up 393 tackles over 3 full starting seasons at Virginia. That included 33.5 tackles for loss and 19 sacks. Kizer added 12 passes defensed at 8 forced fumbles over that span. He then tested fairly well, including a 62nd-percentile speed score at 6'0, 238 pounds. Keep Kiser in mind as you prepare for the rookie draft in your IDP dynasty league.
Rams S Lamarcus Joyner will sign his franchise tender Monday and begin offseason training with his teammates, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. In his 1st season as a full-time starter, Joyner finished 2017 as Pro Football Focus' #3 graded safety, despite losing 3 early games to a hamstring injury. He snagged 3 INTs and defensed 9 passes. Joyner spent much of his 1st 3 seasons at CB, including extensive work in the slot. IDP owners should keep an eye on him in DB2 range come draft time this summer.
Rams LB Mark Barron (knee) is active for today's game against the Jaguars. He missed the 1st 2 days of practice but returned for a limited workout Friday. Barron didn't miss any snaps last week, though, and is fine to keep in IDP lineups. DB Lamarcus Joyner (hamstring) is inactive for the 3rd straight game, though, despite returning to limited practices every day this week.
Pro Football Talk reports that Rams DE Aaron Donald has returned to the team and passed his physical. He will not play Sunday, according to Adam Schefter, but Donald should be ready for IDP lineups in Week 2
The Rams have ruled DE Aaron Donald out for Week 1. It's no surprise, given that he has yet to report. But it officially pushes his holdout into the regular season. Missing Donald obviously hurts the Rams' D. But matching up with the Andrew Luck-less Colts keeps them a strong Week 1 fantasy option
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that a league source told him Rams DE Aaron Donald's contract holdout could last into the regular season. Donald is in the final year of his rookie contract but seeking new money after making the Pro Bowl in each of his 1st 3 campaigns. We'll see where this goes. The closer we get to the regular season without Donald getting back on the field, the further we have to drop him on IDP draft boards, though. Donald's absence from real games would chip away significantly at the upside of the Rams' team D as well.
The Rams opened their 1st full week of training camp Monday without DE Aaron Donald. The 4th-year player is holding out in search of a new contract. DT Michael Brockers told the Los Angeles Daily News that teammates are behind him and that Donald promised that he's continuing to workout and will be in shape whenever he reports. IDP owners are already waiting to see how a slight position change might affect Donald's production/value. The potential for a prolonged holdout is more concerning, though. If Donald gets contract resolution soon, he'll return to play under longtime (but new to the Rams) DC Wade Phillips in a scheme that promises continued 1-on-1 matchups. The only ding to Donald's fantasy football value will likely be in leagues that split DEs and DTs. Of course, missing its best player will also be a knock against a Rams D that should present some fantasy upside in 2017.
Rams OLB Robert Quinn sat out team drills at minicamp this week with a cast on his right hand following minor surgery, according to multiple reports. HC Sean McVay said Quinn will be ready for training camp, and this injury could certainly prove to be no big deal. But he has lost time to knee, hip, back and shoulder injuries over the past 2 years. Quinn needs to get and stay healthy and then prove he remains 1 of the league's top pass rushers. If he does so this summer, he'll hold plenty of upside in sack-friendly IDP leagues -- despite a move from DE to OLB. If he doesn't, a potentially solid Rams D might suffer.
The Rams hired Wade Phillips this offseason to be their new DC, after switching from Jeff Fisher to Sean McVay in the head job. That move likely startled some IDP owners who wondered how it might affect DT Aaron Donald's role and production. According to ESPN.com, however, Donald expects to do the “same thing. I’m still going to be a 3-technique; still a penetrate, get-up-field type of guy. I got to come here during the offseason and got to sit down and talk with him. I like his game plan and how he’s going to use us, and the position he’s going to put us in to have success.” Phillips is a 3-4 maven, but he's also a smart, career-long defensive coach. He's not likely to apply the Rams' best defensive player in a way that mutes Donald's effectiveness. We'll see what the numbers say come the season, but don't worry too much about Donald's IDP outlook as we move toward fantasy football draft time.
The Rams will switch their base defensive front to a 3-4 under new DC Wade Phillips, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. That could mean significantly different roles for a number of front-seven players. The most affected in fantasy terms will likely be Robert Quinn, who figures to move from DE to OLB. If that designation changes for 2017 on most fantasy sites, then his IDP ceiling will come down considerably. Aaron Donald will move from his 3-technique DT spot, but he'll retain DL eligibility. Phillips told the Daily News that if Donald doesn't fit your system, then your system isn't working. We'll trust the seasoned veteran DC to put the stud lineman in position to make plays. LBs Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron will face a big change as well, which could include taking on a lot more blockers in the run game. This will be a key defense to look at as we head toward the summer, regardless of your fantasy football format.
The Rams have hired Sean McVay as their HC. The 30-year-old becomes the youngest HC in NFL history. He already has 8 seasons of experience in the league, though, including the past 3 as Washington's OC. The 2016 Redskins finished 3rd in total yards and 12th in points, led by the #2 ranked passing attack. McVay's 1st order of business in Los Angeles will be Jared Goff, who is coming off a disappointing rookie campaign.
Rams DE Robert Quinn is out for more than just tonight's game against the Seahawks. Los Angeles has placed him on IR with the concussion that cost him the previous 2 games. Quinn has dealt with multiple injuries this year, though, dating back to offseason back surgery. As IDP owners, let's hope his 2017 offseason -- and ensuing regular season -- proves healthier.
Rams DE Robert Quinn (concussion) is doubtful for tonight's game against the Seahawks.
The Rams have fired HC Jeff Fisher. He finishes his 5-year stint with the team with a 31-45-1 record. None of his teams won more than 7 games or sniffed the playoffs. Most damning is that the Rams never showed any signs of progress under Fisher's watch. We'll see who Los Angeles tabs as its interim HC, but this will remain an offense best avoided in fantasy lineups the rest of the way. The Rams travel to Seattle to face a pissed-off Seahawks squad on Thursday night.
Update: Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel has been promoted to interim HC. Fassel has only been a HC for DII New Mexico Highlands University.
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