The Rams haven’t been to the playoffs since 2004, but that could change this season. Not many people expected that to happen with a rookie quarterback, a second-year head coach and lots of questions on both sides of the ball at various positions.
But here we are in Week 13 with the Rams in a fight for the NFC West title. They benefit from playing in the worst division in the NFL, but they also have shown plenty of talent, something Fantasy owners have realized as well.
One of those talented players is wide receiver Danny Amendola, who is proud of what the Rams have accomplished thus far and excited for the chance to play in the postseason. He hopes St. Louis can win the division, and he’s ready for a key game Sunday at Arizona.
“At the beginning of the season there was a lot of uncertainty,” Amendola said in a phone interview this week. “Through time we found out we can compete. We’re trying to feed off each other and keep it rolling.”
Steven Jackson was the one player Fantasy owners knew they could count on for the Rams. After that, nothing was guaranteed, especially with rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, but we’ve seen several players have moments throughout the year. And right now, Amendola likes what he sees on offense.
He said the Rams are starting to come together at the right time. Remember, the receiving corps has been decimated by injuries. Donnie Avery (knee) was lost before the season, and Mark Clayton (knee) went down after a hot start. Laurent Robinson and Danario Alexander have battled injury problems all year, and St. Louis just lost rookie tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (ankle) for at least a month.
Amendola has been one of the few constants for the Rams with 64 catches for 534 yards and three touchdowns. He’s also added 81 rushing yards and has been a solid option for Fantasy owners in point per reception leagues along with deeper standard formats.
For someone who went undrafted out of Texas Tech in 2008 to earning a role off the practice squad, Amendola is thrilled to be a significant contributor on a potential playoff contender.
“I didn’t set any goals for myself,” Amendola said. “I’m not big on numbers. The only thing I wanted was to have a role on this team.”
Amendola said the receiving corps for the Rams is playing well after overcoming the injuries to Avery and Clayton. Alexander has the potential to be a quality Fantasy option down the stretch if he can stay healthy with his knee problems, and Brandon Gibson has also been a useful Fantasy receiver at times.
This isn’t the “Greatest Show on Turf,” which was led by Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, but they are getting the job done.
“We have a bunch of guys that want to step up and make plays,” Amendola said. “They’re young and hungry and trying to hustle. Everyone is contributing, and it’s nice to see.”
The catalyst of the offense, however, has been Bradford. He has improved tremendously throughout the year, and he’s playing well heading into the game with the Cardinals. Fantasy owners could even consider Bradford a starting option in deeper formats.
Bradford is coming off the best game of his rookie season with 308 passing yards and three touchdowns at Denver in Week 12. In his past six games, Bradford has 11 touchdowns and one interception with an average of 19 Fantasy points over that span.
“Sam’s a great player,” Amendola said. “He doesn’t act like a rookie. He has leadership qualities like a veteran. With experience, it’s going to be scary how good he can be in the future. He really has a good grasp of the offense. He’s doing a great job.”
And then of course there’s Jackson, who is having another quality year. He is a Top 15 Fantasy running back in standard leagues, and the only thing missing from his impressive resume this season is scoring touchdowns with just three.
That stat bothers Fantasy owners, but Amendola doesn’t seem to care.
“It’s obviously nice to have a Pro Bowl running back and workhorse like Steven back there,” Amendola said. “He’s the type of guy we like to rally around. He’s our leader. His presence on the field is unlike any other.”
The Rams would give fans in St. Louis a feeling unlike any other if they could make the playoffs this season. Amendola said there is a buzz in the city about the team that has the players excited.
They want to make the postseason and shock the world. It’s something most people didn’t expect to happen when the year started.