Daily Dr. Roto—May 31, 2017
The Argument against Todd Gurley
This morning on the Scout Fantasy Sports show with Adam Ronis on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, we had an interesting discussion about Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley. Gurley, as most Fantasy Football fanatics know, totally disappointed his owners last year when he rushed for 885 yards on 278 carries (3.2 YPC). This was down from his rookie year when he rushed for over 1,100 yards in 229 attempts. Why the fall from grace?
There are many reasons, the least of which is the fact that his offensive line couldn’t open any holes for the Gurley whatsoever. Moreover, the Rams started journeyman Case Keenum at QB for the first few games of the season leading to opposing defenses stacking the box with eight men. When the team turned the QB job over to rookie Jared Goff, Gurley did not fare much better as teams still put most of their efforts into shutting down the 2015 No.10 pick, forcing Goff to throw more than the Rams wanted.
As we move into 2017, things don’t look much brighter for Gurley. New Head Coach Sean McVay wants to install a short range passing game to help Goff out, but this will most likely hurt Gurley’s reception total. The team brought in RB Lance Dunbar in the offseason to help as a third down RB who can help stop blitzes and catch some balls out of the backfield.
Mcvay has said that he wants to use Gurley to pound the ball as his main ball carrier, but if teams know that Gurley is not a receiving threat, Gurley will continue to see a ton of eight men fronts on first and second down. So, we are looking at a YPC from Gurley that could easily be under 4.0 for the second year in a row.
This brings me to my main point—be very careful when you read rankings whether on Scout Fantasy or any other site that you may frequent. As we put our rankings here together over the coming months, you might see that I have Gurley listed as a top 15 RB. I will do this based on his overall ability and the opportunities that he will see in this offense (he should get over 300 touches this season). However, I cannot tell you in good conscience that I will take Gurley in any of my drafts this season. I still feel that the Rams OL needs improvement, Goff needs to work on his rapport with his receivers, and I am worried that Gurley will lose targets in the passing game.
So what does this mean to you, the Fantasy owner? It means that you need to look at rankings as a general basis to see where players are being selected, but also realize that more goes into drafting than just taking the next player on a rankings list. As I said this morning on the radio, I would much rather take Danny Woodhead in the 6th round in a PPR league than Todd Gurley in the 2nd round. You would never know this from looking only at my rankings. Therefore, reading articles, listening to podcasts, and doing your research is vital to winning your Fantasy Football league.
For what it’s worth, I am still open minded about Gurley and am hopeful that he can shake off his sophomore slump and play like he did in 2015. That Todd Gurley, the rookie, was a joy to watch as he broke numerous tackles and used his speed to make big plays. I didn’t see that Gurley last year. Hopefully for Rams fans, he will return in 2017.
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