Both the NFL and fantasy football world are filled with excitement over the development of St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford who everyone agrees is destined for stardom. Bradford opened many eyes with his play as a very poised rookie in 2010 and even more is expected from the kid this season as he could very well finish as a top ten QB. With that being said, in order for Bradford to put up the stats required to earn that praise, he has to have someone to throw to which was a big time effort undertaken by the Rams front office once the lockout ended. After missing out on Plaxico Burress, Roy Williams, and Sidney Rice, the team settled on Mike Sims-Walker, late of the Jacksonville Jaguars. You might remember Sims-Walks as the fantasy football surprise in 2009 which was followed by the 2010 bust campaign. Since the new season is upon us, we must look forward and not back and this is why I think its likely Sims-Walker will be a very nice fantasy football sleeper. Lets take a look why.
First let us go back to that eye opening 2009 season. The former 6-2, third round pick used his size to snare 7 touchdowns along with 63 catches for 869 yards. Not Pro Bowl numbers for sure but keep in mind this was accomplished in Jacksonville where the team has thrown among the fewest amount of passes of any team over the last five years. Sims-Walker followed up with another 7 scores in 2010 in two less game as he fought through injuries but his nose for the end zone was confirmed. That surely will be his best asset again this season as he sees a nice upgrade in QB ability with Bradford throwing him the rock. When you think about how Bradford threw a rookie record amount of passes last season, its clear the team will once again look to throw the ball downfield. A win-win for Sims-Walker. So that alone could allow Sims-Walker to get close to even exceed the 10 TD mark along with some nice nice yardage. He also will see a spike in receptions which will go hand-in-hand with the volume increase in passing. Something close to 80 catches is certainly not out of his grasp. Finally the presence of new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels makes Sims-Walker even more intriguing since McDaniels earned his stripes by putting together one of the best passing offenses we have seen in recent memory in New England. Surely he has devised some plans with Sims-Walker in it.
All in all I think Mike Sims-Walker is a guy who has to be drafted late in all fantasy football formats due to his chance of filling the go-to-receiver void in St. Louis with Bradford as his passer. You could get a WR 2 campaign out of the guy for a bag of peanuts so take advantage.
2011 PROJECTION: 77 catches 927 yards 8 TD