RB Todd Gurley | Los Angeles Rams | 3rd Year
2016 Stats: 278 carries for 885 yards, 6 TDs; 43 receptions for 327 yards
After a terrific 2015 rookie season (1,106 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns over 13 games), Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley was among the first handful of running backs off the board in fantasy drafts last year. But he disappointed big time, with zero 100-yard rushing games while averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. Over his last 24 games, he has topped 100 yards on the ground just once.
If a team and an offense ever needed a coaching change more than the Rams, it would be hard to find. In Jeff Fisher’s place is 31-year old Sean McVay, and he brought former Falcons’ quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur in as offensive coordinator. With McVay’s success as Redskins offensive coordinator also in mind, Los Angeles can’t help but produce more in 2017.
Besides playing all 16 games last season, Gurley also 43 receptions on 58 targets. That increased involvement in the passing game helped him put up 70 or more total yards in a game 13 times, and he was top-24 in standard scoring leagues (RB2 range) on almost a weekly basis.
The Rams’ offensive really line can’t get much worse than it was last year, but they made notable upgrades at left tackle (Andrew Whitworth) and center (John Sullivan) during the offseason. First-round bust Greg Robinson was also traded, so he won’t even hang on with the Rams as a misplaced and overmatched guard. But there is data out there suggesting Gurley left yards on the field last year too, and an improvement in communication with the offensive line was noted during offseason work.
The addition of Lance Dunbar may lead to a reduction in Gurley’s passing game role, but any real reduction in his 2016 snap share (73.8 percent) would be a shock. Gurley is a legit workhorse, and as long as he’s healthy 300-plus touches is a certainty.
Gurley’s ADP right now has him in low-end RB1 range in 12-team leagues, but he has legit top-five upside. With downside (Jordan Howard, Jay Ajayi, DeMarco Murray) and name value (Marshawn Lynch) the four backs immediately above him in ADP (via Fantasy Football Calculator), give me Gurley all day long and twice on Sunday.
Todd Gurley 2017 Projection: 285 carries for 1,220 yards, 10 TDs; 36 receptions for 285 yards, 1 TD
Bounceback Percentage: 85%
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