Who’s the sleeper wideout in St. Louis?

When certain offensive coordinators take a new job around the National Football League, the radar of fantasy writers and fans alike is instantly activated.

The most obvious example is Mike Martz. After running the “Greatest Show on Turf” in St. Louis, we all thought that whatever Martz touched would turn to fantasy gold. While in Detroit, the stock of Jon Kitna and some of his offensive teammates rose. When Martz went to San Francisco, some considered J.T. O’Sullivan a sleeper.

J.T. O’Sullivan!

Now the coordinator who has fantasy radars popping is Josh McDaniels.

While McDaniels was the offensive coordinator in New England, Tom Brady broke the single-season mark for touchdown passes in 2007. That same year, Randy Moss set a new standard for single-season greatness with 23 touchdown catches. OK, so it’s not hard to believe that guys like Brady and Moss could put up monster totals.

But what about Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd?

In Denver, McDaniels proved that he didn’t need superstars to have an explosive offense. Orton, who was never a fantasy star earlier in his career, was one of the most productive quarterbacks in the entire league for most of the 2010 season. McDaniel’s system also turned Lloyd from an afterthought into the top-scoring fantasy wideout.

Believe it or not, but Lloyd’s 1,448 yards were 588 more than he produced in the previous four years combined! It was the statistical equivalent of turning Cliff Clavin into a ladies man.

Now that McDaniels is the main offensive man in St. Louis, it’s pretty obvious that Sam Bradford’s value is trending upward — he’ll be a major sleeper in 2011. The question we have to ask ourselves is, which wide receiver will be the Rams’ version of that nerdy “Cheers” mailman?

Well, the early favorite would have to be Mark Clayton.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the team wants to work out a contract extension with the veteran wideout, though it’s uncertain if a new deal can be consummated before March 4.

Clayton was on pace for a career season in 2010, catching 23 passes for 306 yards in five games before he suffered a torn right patellar tendon. He also has some similarities to Lloyd — both wideouts were highly touted coming out of college, earned sleeper appeal earlier in their careers before becoming mostly irrelevant.

If Clayton isn’t back with the team, the names Donnie Avery, Laurent Robinson, Brandon Gibson and Danario Alexander are going to be listed as potential sleeper candidates — everyone will know their names.

(Yes, I watched a “Cheers” marathon last night).

While a lot will change between now and the start of the 2011 season — hopefully one being a new CBA — one thing is certain: Fantasy owners should be keeping a close eye on the Rams wide receivers during the summer.

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