Throughout the 2012 offseason, we will be taking a look at each NFL team from a keeper/dynasty perspective. Keeper leagues are very unique, with widely varying formats, but the following are observations based on reasonable draft positions in 2011. Further discussion of different keeper/dynasty decisions and trades is welcome in the comments below. We start by taking a look at the Offseason Odyssey of the St. Louis Rams…
Finish: 2-14 (4th NFC West)
2012 Draft Order: 2nd Overall Pick
2011 Leaders: QB- Sam Bradford- 2164 pass yds, 6/6 td/int RB- Steven Jackson- 1145 rush yds, 5 td, 333 rec yds, 1 td WR- Brandon Lloyd- 70 rec, 966 rec yds, 5td TE- Lance Kendricks- 28 rec, 352 rec yds, 0 td
On the Fence? KEEP him: Steven Jackson- I must admit, I have steered clear of old Steven Jackson the last few seasons, expecting him to slow down as the tread wears off his tires. In 2012, I plan on hopping back on the S-Jax train. This guy is an animal, perfectly illustrated by his SEVEN straight years of 1000+ yards rushing to go along with a boat load of catches out of the St. Louis backfield. You’ve gotta love that production and the new Jeff Fisher offense should feature lots of rushing attempts and short yardage fantasy feasting for the Ram’s main man. It may seem like a stretch, but even if it comes at a high cost, hold onto Jackson.
On the Fence? CUT him: Brandon Lloyd- What will you be doing on July 5th this year? Nursing a hangover and sweeping fireworks off your roof? Well, while you’re busy with that, our boy Brandon Lloyd will be turning 31 years old. 31 isn’t ancient, but it doesn’t exactly make Brandon Lloyd a spring chicken…or fall chicken, or any type of chicken. Although Lloyd has been solid the past two years and could potentially land in an interesting spot as a 2012 free agent, spend you keeper slot on a younger player with less risk of hitting the old veteran wall.
Dynasty Vault: Lance Kendricks- Kendricks isn’t the type of player to build a dynasty team around, but there is reason to hang onto this youngster. Keep in mind that Kendricks’ 28 grabs for 352 yards and zero touchdowns came in a 2011 Rams passing offense that was horrendous. How bad? Ram QB’s threw a total of nine touchdowns. Nine. Also known as two less than Laurent Robinson caught by himself. Give Kendricks another shot to live up to his potential.
Dynasty Dump: Brandon Gibson- Aside from Brandon Lloyd, the Ram wide outs were a mess in 2011. Gibson led the non-Lloyd wide receivers with a whopping 36 catches last year, so do not catch yourself believing that this guy is a future star. Gibson won’t have nearly the opportunity for work in 2012, as 2011 sleeper special Danny Amendola will be returning, and even if Brandon Lloyd takes off via free agency, the Rams will undoubtedly make a move for another wide receiver. Let another owner view Gibson’s 2012 semi-emergence and age as signs of potential.
Dynasty Target: Sam Bradford– Bradford’s 2011 season was doomed by poor performance and injuries…just like your last game of pick-up hoops. The shine is gone off this young quarterback, but is that really fair? Even if Bradford was completely healthy for the entirety of 2011, what was he supposed to do with a crusty O-line and an even worse crew of wide outs? Even the late arrival of Brandon Lloyd couldn’t pull this batch of offensive weapons above water. Remember that Bradford showed enormous potential as a rookie and even in Jeff Fisher’s run heavy offense, Bradford can still blossom into a helpful fantasy quarterback. Acquire this youngster while he’s cheap.
Offseason Interest: What to do with #2? The second overall pick would be a great spot for the Rams to draft a young franchise quarterback like Robert Griffin III, except for the fact that St. Louis already has one in Bradford. The big debate will be whether to simply draft stud O-lineman Matt Kalil (which would be a big help to their underwhelming offensive line), or attempt to trade the pick to a QB hungry team and receive a huge haul of picks in return. The latter could be a smart move, as this team needs a lot more than one player. This will be interesting to follow as the NFL draft approaches.