The Rams make it two in row with a solid 24-21 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars and head into the bye week at 4-4. Last week the Rams sealed the game with a late defense TD, this week they open the scoring with a blocked punt returned for a TD by Brandon Chillar. Steven Jackson has become a stud since Vitt has taken over the coaching position and Fairchild is calling the plays. As long as the Rams keep winning they do not need to change a thing. It is looking more and more like Martz has coached his last game for the Rams so without making too much about it, I would like to thank Coach Martz for giving us his best effort and providing us with many exciting, sometimes frustrating, always entertaining, and over all successful teams these past few years. Whatever happens from here will not change the fact that Martz was a major cog in the success and offensive firepower Rams fans were treated to starting with the magical 1999 season. I enjoyed many Sundays thanks to Coach Martz’s aggressive offenses. Best of luck Mike Martz, I am sure we have not heard the last of you and I will be looking to draft offensive players from whatever team you end up on! Ok, back to the task at hand. DO NOT PLAY ANY RAMS THIS WEEK! If you do not know that the Rams are on their bye this week (#9), you should not be playing Fantasy Football so stop reading this article and go work in the yard or something. For you real players, here is a review of last week’s game.
QB: Martin had moderate success with the opportunities he was given, hitting 13 of 21 passes for 200 yards and 2 TDs. If it weren’t for his 3 terrible INTs, he might have had the chance for a huge day. Almost half of his yards came on an 83 YD bomb to Curtis. These past two weeks Martin got the job done to get the victory; however, he did not do enough Fantasy wise to warrant much praise. Thankfully Bulger is expected back after the bye and hopefully he can boost the passing numbers. With the new found success of the running game, it is safe to assume that that there will be continued balance from the offense. Even with less attempts, Bulger should be able to post strong numbers.
RB: S. Jackson (25-179 rushing, 2-21 TD receiving) was dominant against the Jags and had the best game of his young career. As long as he stays healthy and does not fumble the ball, Jackson has the potential to be a top 5 Fantasy back. Ride this horse the rest of the season like the Rams will do. Faulk (6-23 rushing, 1-3 receiving) is no longer a factor and recently has been dropping passes. I am a huge fan of Faulk, but I have to recommend keeping him on your bench unless Jackson is injured.
WR: The Rams hope to get Holt and Bruce back after the bye. In their absence, Kevin Curtis (3-105 TD) has become a reliable starter. He was open for a few other long gainers against the Jags, but Martin could not connect with him. I am really eager to see what the Rams do on offense when Bulger, Holt, and Bruce return. Their injuries have allowed Jackson and Curtis to blossom so hopefully everyone stays healthy as the Rams make their move during the second half of the season. McDonald and Looker are capable subs but that is it.
TE: Manumaleuna (2-7) had his normal kind of game. I hope you do not rely on a Ram’s TE for your Fantasy team.
K: Wilkins hit a 41 yard FG and 3 XPs against the Jags which is good, but nothing special. I think his numbers will improve when the offense is back at full strength.
DEF: Another Def/Special Teams TD makes the Rams a good play. No big IDP stats from the Jags game so hopefully you did not play any Rams IDPs. Little is scheduled to return after the bye so that should not only help his stats, but also his teammates as he usually draws the double teams. I was mistaken last week when I said the Rams needed to contain F/ Taylor to win. Taylor got off to 165 yards and a TD, yet the Rams still won. There seems to be a little bit of toughness and aggression being instilled to the Def/Special Teams since the coaching change and hopefully that will translate into better success on the field.
The Rams are .500 at the midpoint of their season and enter the bye with optimism. The potential is there with the return of their injured starters. The game in Seattle after the bye will tell a lot about what kind of team the Rams will be the rest of the season. Unlike the Rams, I failed to get to .500 and could not stop my Bro from staying undefeated. Oh well, hopefully I can get a rematch in the playoffs. I want to send props to the KinMan for his support and success with his team. Aloha!
The Rams are coming off their bye week and should get their injured starters back in time for a big showdown in Seattle. Torry Holt (probable) and Isaac Bruce (questionable) were the only players listed on Wednesday’s injury report. Also back from missing the last two games is DE Leonard Little. Hopefully the bye week did not stop the momentum gained in their last two victories. I think Coach Vitt will have the Rams prepared and ready to go on Sunday. This game will be critical in determining how the ’05 season plays out. A win in Seattle and the Rams have a good chance at taking the NFC West crown. A loss to the Seahawks will leave the Rams scrambling for a wild card spot. Not much to report this week except for expectations in Seattle. The Seattle D is a little above average, but can be scored upon. I am expecting both teams to let it all hang out and would not be surprised to see a shoot out with both teams combining for over 50 points.
QB: Bulger looks to be back from his shoulder injury and should have a good game. The new found running game should continue to flourish and keep some pressure off Bulger. A consistent ground attack will keep Seattle off balance and allow Bulger to work off whatever rust he may have from the layoff. I think you could see 20+ completions for 250+ yards and a couple of TD’s this week, hopefully with no INTs.
RB: The S. Jackson show should continue to roll in Seattle and will hopefully let the Rams control the clock and keep Alexander on the sidelines. Coming off the biggest game of his young career, Jackson got to rest up during the bye week in preparation of carrying the load in the second half of the season. The new offensive scheme has emphasized the run like never before during the Mike Martz era, part in plan and part due to necessity (missing offensive starters). It will be interesting to see how Fairchild and Vitt call the game with all of the offensive weapons back in place. Faulk is still around to give Jackson a breather and help out on passing situations. Jackson should get at least 25 “touches” this week and I expect him to go over the century yard mark for the second consecutive game with at least one rushing TD.
WR: Holt is scheduled back and Bruce could also see action. I think Holt and Curtis will start with Bruce working his way back into the fold. It will put added pressure on the Seahawk defense if Bulger can get into an early rhythm with his WRs. I think Holt and Curtis both get close to 100+ yards receiving and I think each could score a TD. If Bruce plays, he could get one of the TDs. McDonald goes to #4 but is a dangerous #4 as the Seahawks well know (McDonald caught the game winner in Seattle last year).
TE: Manumaleuna might catch a pass or two, but his blocking will be needed more than his receiving. Cleeland could also be back to lend a hand.
K: Wilkins has been pretty consistent and will need to be at his best because every point will be important in this game.
DEF: The Rams will need to do a better job of stopping Alexander than they did trying to stop Fred Taylor. If the Rams can contain the Seahawk running game and win the turnover battle, I think victory will be theirs. After an emotional three week layoff, I predict Little explodes for a big game and gets at least two sacks. The new LB crew will have to earn their pay this week as Alexander is a horse. Arch and Pisa should have good games and deserve IDP consideration along with Little.
It is the start of the second half of the season and the stars are aligned for the Rams to come on strong. Like the Rams, my Fantasy team is .500 (4-4-1) and welcomes back Bulger and Holt. Special props go to Las Vegas Sky for being the last undefeated team to go down in our league. Happy Birthday to my Mom and Sister, you too are key players on my team. Aloha!