The St. Louis Rams suffered a tough blow losing quarterback Sam Bradford for the entire 2014 NFL season, but the show must and will go on. St. Louis will have to rely on its savvy veterans during this challenging campaign, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. The Rams will lean heavily on the shoulders of their tight end Jared Cook in the passing game game, making him a possible stellar sleeper candidate in fantasy football.
Cook led the Rams in almost all receiving categories in 2013, which is incredibly rare for a tight end on any team that does not have Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski on the roster. Cook accumulated 51 receptions for 671 yards (13.2 YPR) and scored five TDs in what was clearly an underrated performance.
Although St. Louis added the veteran WR Kenny Britt and will likely still rely heavily on the running game, expecting Cook to see close to 95 targets (compared to 83 last season) is a fair assumption considering QB Shaun Hill is not an overly impressive downfield passer. Hill will be looking to make Cook his security blanket, particularly on hot reads as the Rams really don’t have a prototypical slot receiver. Cook projects to finish the season with 750 yards minimum and 6-8 TDs out of necessity for St. Louis, which also lacks credible red zone options.
Currently, Cook’s rarely being drafted except the deepest of re-draft leagues and will provide tremendous value, particularly on the waiver wire. He’ll also be a player to keep an eye on in DFS leagues, as he will be at or near minimum price and will obliterate value against certain defenses. Cook’s a big time 2014 ‘buy’ candidate in my book.