Four Downs: Rams offense looks sharp 

November, 11, 2012
One of the few defenses fantasy owners are conditioned to be wary of for their offensive players is the San Francisco 49ers, a team that entered Sunday's home game with the St. Louis Rams having held its opponents to six or fewer points in four of the past five games. Really, there was little reason to be excited about Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, running back Steven Jackson or the wide receivers this Sunday.

Now, after the Rams managed to move the football quite well (458 yards) in San Francisco and produce 24 points in the season's first tie game, it appears to be time to rethink things. After all, Bradford threw for 275 passing yards and two touchdowns, a generally ignored 19-point fantasy effort since he was active in a mere 4.8 percent of ESPN standard leagues. Certainly it helped having not only underrated wide receiver Danny Amendola back after he missed a month because of a shoulder injury, but also a running game. And while the Rams do have a rematch with San Francisco looming, they also have friendlier matchups on the schedule (Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers), which should pique the interest of fantasy owners. Bradford has three really good fantasy games this season, and Sunday was a positive step. He'll move up a few spots in Tuesday's end-of-season rankings to just outside top-20 range.

[+] EnlargeSam Bradford
Tim Fuller/US PresswireSam Bradford is not yet to safe-starter territory, but Sunday was a step in the right direction.
Amendola was officially targeted 12 times Sunday, catching 11 passes for 102 yards, converting seven first downs. He also broke free for an 80-yard pass play on the first play of overtime, but the play was called back because of a penalty. On Sunday, he went right back to looking like the breakout player he appeared to be when he suffered the injury in Week 5. Put simply, this is a valuable weapon for Bradford and fantasy owners, one owned in roughly half of ESPN's leagues. Bradford managed double-digit fantasy performances sans Amendola, but on Sunday, with deep threat Chris Givens inactive due to a violation of a team rule, Amendola saw twice as many targets as any other Ram, and has a 44.1 first down percentage on his targets this season. All other Rams are at 34.4 percent. Amendola is a difference-maker.