The Rams expect 2nd-year LB Micah Kiser to step in for Mark Barron this season, according to the team website. L.A. released Barron after last season, jettisoning an ILB starter who played 74% of the snaps over his 12 games. Kiser sounds headed for a similar role. “It’ll be in those first and second-down plays for sure,” DC Wade Phillips said, via Myles Simmons of the team website. “Cory [Littleton] is such a good coverage guy and then we’ve got a lot of safeties that can come in and help us on third downs, so I think his main role certainly right now will be first and second down as a base defensive player.” We'll see if Kiser can grow beyond that, but he entered the league as a thumper who rated poorly in coverage. Missing sub-package situations will obviously limit his tackle upside. Kiser's realistic IDP ceiling for 2019 likely sits in LB4 range. He'll begin the year as a waiver-wire watch.
The Rams spent a 2nd-round pick on S Taylor Rapp on Friday night. The former Washington Husky should get a shot at replacing S LaMarcus Joyner, who left for Oakland in free agency. Rapp started for most of his 3 years at Washington, stepping into the lineup and grabbing 4 INTs as a true freshman. He earned 1st-team all-conference honors each of the past 2 years and ranked 2nd on the team in sacks last year with 4. Rapp totaled just 74 solo tackles over the past 2 seasons, though, and might not be in a great spot for tackle collection with the Rams. He looks like a potentially decent IDP option rather than a future stud.
The Rams have tendered restricted free agent ILB Cory Littleton at the 2nd-round level. That means any team looking to sign away the 2018 breakout would need to send the Rams a 2nd-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Perhaps some suitor will value Littleton to that degree, but we'd bet on him returning to L.A. Littleton scored across categories in his 1st turn as a full-time starter and should land in LB1 territory in our 2019 IDP rankings.
The Rams have reached a 1-year, $14.5 million deal with OLB Dante Fowler to keep the 24-year-old off the open market. It's an interesting contract. On one hand, it's a surprisingly large salary for a former #3 overall pick with just 16 total sacks through 3 seasons. (Fowler missed his rookie campaign with an ACL tear.) The money indicates that both sides expected Fowler to garner at least solid interest on the open market. At the same time, the fact that Fowler went for just a 1-year offer on the verge of his age-25 season points to it being somewhat of a "prove it" contract. Fowler contributed just 2 sacks in his 8 games with the Rams in 2018. Pro Football Focus rated the Rams version of Fowler just tied for 110th among edge players in pass-rushing productivity. (The 2018 Jaguars version tied for 28th.) IDP owners shouldn't pay Fowler much attention yet, especially because sticking with L.A. makes him a LB rather than a DE.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Rams will sign S Eric Weddle, whom Baltimore released earlier this week. Weddle -- who turned 34 in January -- still checked in 10th among safeties in Pro Football Focus grading last season. He's expected to step in for S LaMarcus Joyner, who will hit free agency next week.
The Rams have ruled S Lamarcus Joyner (ankle) out for Sunday's finale against the 49ers.
Rams LB Mark Barron (Achilles') is active for today's game against the Seahawks. He's set to start in his season debut after missing the 1st 4 games -- and all summer. If you've waited, he's available. But we'd prefer to wait a week before using him in an IDP lineup.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Rams LB Mark Barron is expected to start today against the Seahawks. Barron missed the 1st 4 games while dealing with an Achilles' injury. Rams DC Wade Phillips said early in the week that he expects to watch Barron through the game to determine how many snaps he can handle. IDP owners would probably be best off waiting to use Barron in lineups.
Rams LB Mark Barron is questionable for Sunday's game against the Seahawks. Rams coaches reportedly remain hopeful that he'll make his regular-season debut. HC Sean McVay said early in the week that Barron would return to starter status. DC Wade Phillips cautioned Friday that they'll need to watch Barron during the game to see how much of a workload he can handle in his 1st action, according to Rams Wire. You'd be best off keeping Barron out of your Week 5 IDP lineup while we see how ready he is.
Rams CB Marcus Peters (calf strain) is active for tonight's game against the Vikings. Using him in IDP lineups remains risky, though. We wouldn't recommend it.
Reports this week have pointed to a 2-to-4-week recovery timeline for Rams CB Marcus Peters from the calf strain he suffered Sunday. He's officially questionable for Thursday night's game against the Vikings, though, suggesting he might not miss any more time. We still would try to plan on a different DB for IDP lineups. But if you're hoping to use Peters, we'll see about his status Thursday evening.
Rams HC Sean McVay said during his press conference Tuesday that CB Aqib Talib will have surgery on his left ankle Thursday. McVay said they don't yet know how long Talib will be out and that doctors will determine the recovery timeline after surgery. Talib was initially diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain. His absence doesn't affect IDP owners but will be worth watching for any potential affect on the Rams' team defense and opposing WRs.
Rams CB Aqib Talib will miss at least a month after suffering a high-ankle sprain in Sunday's win over the Chargers, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. That doesn't impact IDP lineups, but it takes a good starting corner out of the Rams' defense for a while. Combine that with CB Marcus Peters' calf strain and the quick turnaround to play the Vikings this Thursday night, and the L.A. defense faces a decent challenge. That'll be good news for Kirk Cousins owners. We're not downgrading the Rams' team D for fantasy purposes on this news, though.
The Rams lost CB Marcus Peters and CB Aqib Talib to injuries in Sunday's win over the Chargers. We'll see about the status of each starter this week, but a quick turnaround to play the Vikings on Thursday night won't help them.
Update: Peters is expected to miss 2-4 weeks with a calf strain, according to Ian Rapoport. Talib is having surgery on a high left ankle sprain.
Rams ILB Mark Barron missed practice Thursday and said he's "not certain" whether he'll be ready to play Monday night, according to Rich Hammond of the Orange County Register. Barron is listed with an ankle injury, but Hammond tweeted that Barron's "still coming back from injuries." He participated little in training-camp practices and sat out the preseason. We saw Barron put in limited practice work all last year, too, but he would play full time on Sundays. We'll see where this situation goes, but you're best off going in another direction for your Week 1 IDP lineup. Corps mate Corey Littleton gets an upside boost if Barron sits out. Ramik Wilson would likely start in Barron's place after filling in during the preseason.
Rams DE Aaron Donald has finally gotten his new contract. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Donald's 6-year extension includes $135 million in total money and $87 million in guarantees. Donald spent training camp and the preseason holding out each of the past 2 summers. In 2017, he missed the regular-season opener but made the other 14 before a healthy scratch in Week 17. We'll see about his readiness this time around, with 9 days until the season begins.
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.
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