Steven Jackson left the game and did not return last week against the Redskins for reasons many thought were related to a penalty. However, the Rams denied that was the reason and denied a benching at all saying Jackson left the game with a groin injury. Almost a week later, that appears to be true and Jackson is reportedly going to be a game time decision. The good news for his fantasy owners is that the game is a 1 PM start so you’ll have your full lineup of options available if you find out before the game that he can’t go. Backup Daryl Richardson, who rushed for 83 yards on 15 carries in Jackson’s absence last week, should be owned in all formats and makes for a possible flex play if he starts, even against a tough Chicago defense.
Jackson isn’t the only injury St. Louis has to worry about. Eerily similar to what happened last year, the Rams are getting killed with injuries on the offensive line. Scott Wells is probably done for the season. He was signed to a 4 year, 24 million dollar deal this offseason to solidify the center position. Robert Turner, an unproven starter, moved from left guard to center to fill the void and then Turner’s replacement at left guard, 5th round rookie Rokevious Watkins, also got hurt. He will miss this week again, so veteran journeyman Quinn Ojinnaka will once again start in his absence. Meanwhile, oft injured left tackle Rodger Saffold will miss this week and a few more with a knee problem, meaning Wayne Hunter, who was awful with the Jets at right tackle last year, will start at left tackle.
The good news is that Sam Bradford was 8 of 13 with a touchdown under pressure last week, in spite of 2 drops. Good quarterbacks can succeed in spite of poor offensive lines. Bradford couldn’t do it last year, but the 2010 #1 overall pick really looks like a different quarterback this year. If that’s true, the Rams will remain competitive, as they have been so far this season. Bradford gets his toughest test yet this week against the Chicago Bears. One other injury note, rookie 1st round pick Michael Brockers will once again miss this week. He’s yet to play this season with a high ankle sprain and the Rams rank dead last against the run without him. Michael Bush, who will be the every down back in place of the injured Matt Forte, makes for a very intriguing fantasy option this week.