The last time the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals faced off, Kevin Kolb got sacked nine times on Thursday Night Football in Week 5. While that game also marks the last time that the Rams have forced a turnover, starting any Cardinals in their newly-constituted offense this week would be a major risk.
That includes Larry Fitzgerald.
Arizona’s offensive storyline entering this game revolves around two things: rookie Ryan Lindley starting at quarterback and running back Beanie Wells’ return to the lineup. Of the two, Wells is the better start in a desperate situation—neither quarterback is a recommended fantasy start in this NFL contest—but the safer approach would be to wait and see how Wells looks in Week 12.
St. Louis has allowed five rushing touchdowns to running backs in the last three weeks, setting up a potential triumphant comeback for Wells. Nevertheless, as he’s fresh off the IR, Wells’ workload is a question mark.
Rams running back Steven Jackson has a relatively high fantasy floor. In his last two games, he has rushed 42 times for 182 yards and a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets. Arizona has surrendered three rushing scores in its last five.
The fantasy superstars of this matchup may very well be each team’s D/ST unit. Patrick Peterson has terrorized the Rams with a long punt-return TD in two of his first three meetings with St. Louis. Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has been good for at least one turnover in seven of his last nine games and St. Louis has averaged 15.0 PPG in its last eight contests.
Despite the possible return of center Scott Wells, No. 1 WR Danny Amendola is dealing with an injury that he suffered against the Jets and is missing practice time this week. Bradford may be a better start on a consistent basis when the Rams cultivate the rest of their young receiving corps.
The Rams defense gets an unknown entity at quarterback in Lindley, but has faced three rookie quarterbacks this season (RGIII, Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill). It forced those guys into four combined interceptions—though Tannehill did not throw one.
Still, St. Louis’ front four should be able to harass Lindley and force him into mistakes or enough sacks to be a fantasy force in Week 12.
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