When the Los Angeles Rams signed free-agent running back CJ Anderson, it seemed to be insurance for Todd Gurley’s injury. Even still, the expectation remained that if Gurley was unable to play, that rookie John Kelly would get the starting nod, assuming backup Justin Davis was also out.
Apparently, that’s no longer the plan. As ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry revealed, the Rams will start Anderson if Gurley can’t suit up in Week 16.
It’s an eye-opening decision, as Anderson was signed and then released by the Oakland Raiders in the span of just one week roughly 10 days ago. He’s only been a member of the Rams for two days also, likely meaning his role will be somewhat unknown heading into this weekend’s game.
Unfortunately, that makes for a tough fantasy football outlook, but at the very least we know how Sean McVay and company will approach the initial gameplan.
CJ Anderson’s Week 16 Fantasy Outlook
The big question will be how much playing time Anderson could receive sharing the backfield with Kelly. There’s a very real chance that the Rams could opt to play it by ear and see which running back has the most success early on and then ride the hot hand.
The good news for Anderson (and Kelly, for that matter) is that the Week 16 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals is an appealing one. So much so, that if we get a better idea of how the workload is split, either player could be worth considering.
To this point in the season, the Cardinals have allowed 1,804 rushing yards on 384 carries with a league-worst 17 touchdowns to opposing running backs. Along with that, Arizona has given up 71 receptions for 575 yards and two additional scores through the air to the position.
Update: After ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Todd Gurley was expected to play, things took yet another turn. ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry detailed that Gurley has surprisingly been ruled out against the Cardinals.
Should You Start or Sit CJ Anderson?
Although I think there’s a benefit to taking calculated risks in fantasy football, this is one spot I have a hard time jumping on board with. Even if Anderson does wind up starting, his snaps are unknown, the knowledge of the playbook could prove to be a major concern and Kelly is the “safer” play.
Across the board, there are just better options this week to stream in fantasy leagues than Anderson. Even in daily fantasy football, it may be worth looking at some of the other value over the Rams running back. Maybe Anderson just learned the team’s offense incredibly fast, but I can’t bet on that.
I’d only use Anderson as a flex play in 14-team leagues or larger, and even that is likely pushing it.