Chris Meaney reveals his 2017 Fantasy Football Running Back rankings. Is David Johnson the clear-cut #1 RB in fantasy drafts? After the consensus top four backs who lands at #5? Find out all that and more here! (Gurley at 5;00)
What a disappointment Todd Gurley was last year. After being a top 3 overall pick, Gurley had a really bad 2016 campaign, finishing as RB19 and having just one game with more than 20 fantasy points. Gurley had a terrible 3.2 YPC and scored just 6 times. Overall, the Rams were a mess last year, finishing last in total offensive yards and finishing 4-12. Now, they have a new head coach in Sean McVay and a rebooted offense. But, there can’t be any hope for Gurley, can there? Yes, Gurley has hope, and here’s why.
The Sean McVay Factor: Last year with Jeff Fisher at the helm, the Rams were going nowhere. The Rams ranked dead last in total yards by over 700 in 2016 and scored the least amount of points in the league. Gurley criticized Fisher in the latter half of the season, saying they were running a “middle school offense.” In comes Sean McVay. In McVay’s only year as the Redskin offensive coordinator, he transformed them from 25th in total yards in 2015 to 12th in total yards in 2016. Gurley and McVay have expressed a mutual interest in one another. Gurley recently stated that he’s “definitely been loving” the new offense. McVay has said that he wants Todd to be the focal point of the Ram offense. There are no signs of Gurley’s workload lightening in McVay’s offense.
New Weapons: In addition to retooling the coaching staff, the Los Angeles front office added many new players. In the 2017 draft, three of their first four selections were skill positions. Additionally, Los Angeles signed OT Andrew Whitworth, who was the second highest grade offensive tackle in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus. These acquisitions should help to take the load off of Gurley, as teams constantly stacked the box when playing the Rams because Gurley was essentially the only weapon.
It Can’t Get Worse: After averaging 3.2 yards per carry last year, it can’t get any worse for Gurley. Last year we saw him at his worst, we saw his floor. With the volume Gurley gets, it’s seemingly impossible that Gurley could perform even worse than last year. Every RB has a down year. Le’Veon Bell averaged just 3.5 YPC one year. With the new additions that I previously stated, there’s no way Gurley has a repeat season of last year.
Volume and Safety: One of the most important things to me is volume and job security when drafting in fantasy, particularly at the RB position. Gurley passes both of those tests with flying colors. In 2016, Gurley rushed the 5th most times of any running back. Additionally, Gurley has no worries about other backs cutting into his workload. Gurley’s 2016 backup, Benny Cunningham, only rushed the ball 21 times the entire year. The offense is centered around him, which is something not many backs around him can say.
Only Todd Gurley had a higher percentage of team rushers (74.1%) than David Johnson did last season (73.7%).
— Jeff Ratcliffe (@JeffRatcliffe) July 17, 2017
If you take a step back and look at the situation that Gurley is in this year, he’s a great pick in the back of the second. He’s got enough volume that he can be trusted to produce, and he most definitely has top 5 upside. All things considered, I’m predicting a top-8 finish from the running back out of Georgia.
Source: NFL News