John Kelly Fantasy Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Latest on Rams RB’s Outlook

John Kelly

Getty Los Angeles Rams RB John Kelly

For all the fantasy football owners who are gearing up for their championship push, there’s a chance it could come without Los Angeles Rams star Todd Gurley. The NFL Most Valuable Player candidate was a big part of the fantasy success for many teams this season, but his Week 16 outlook is bleak at best.

Ahead of the Rams’ Week 16 matchup, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio cited Gurley has yet to run this week during practice, which the running back himself revealed.

Gurley has yet to practice this week. Asked by reporters on Thursday whether he could play if the game were today, Gurley said, “That’s a tough question. I haven’t tried to run. So, yeah, that’s a tough question.”

That’s less than ideal, especially when you consider the fact that Gurley’s current backup in Justin Davis joined him on the sidelines during Thursday’s practice. Although there had remained optimism until yesterday that Gurley would play, that no longer seems to be the case, which means it’s time to look at John Kelly.

The Rams would likely roll with the intriguing rookie out of the University of Tennessee as the starter in Week 16 in Gurley’s absence, so let’s break him down a bit.

Update: As ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry revealed, it will actually be CJ Anderson starting over Kelly if Gurley is out. This makes Kelly a tough name to consider in fantasy this week.

Update No. 2: After ESPN’s Adam Schefter first revealed that Gurley was expected to play against the Cardinals, the script got flipped just prior to the game. As ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry revealed, the Rams opted to rule him out against the Cardinals.

John Kelly Fantasy Outlook & Week 16 Matchup

Kelly is a bit of an unknown to some extent, and while he showed upside throughout the final two years of his collegiate career, he didn’t post monster numbers. His best year came in 2017, as he rushed for 778 yards on 189 attempts with nine touchdowns while adding 37 receptions for 299 yards with the Volunteers.

While Kelly isn’t a household name, if fantasy players who have Gurley in their starting lineup currently need a backup, he could still be an interesting name to target. The Rams draw a great matchup for running backs, facing an Arizona Cardinals team that ranks as one of the worst against the position.

The Cardinals have allowed 1,804 rushing yards on 384 carries with a league-worst 17 touchdowns to opposing running backs. They’ve also given up 71 receptions for 575 yards and two additional scores. It’s a good spot for Kelly if he’s going to get the bulk of the work, which is expected if both Gurley and Davis are out.

Should You Start or Sit John Kelly?

It goes without saying that Kelly isn’t even a fantasy option unless Gurley is ruled out. It would probably take Davis being sidelined in order for him to seriously be considered, but both of those seem like real possibilities. With that being said, Kelly is a fine streaming option in many spots, specifically those who have Gurley and need a replacement or just have a RB2/flex spot open in 14-team leagues or larger.

I’d even go as far as considering Kelly in 12-team leagues as an option due to the workload he’s expected to see with no realistic options behind him. There’s an obvious risk involved with starting a player who’s totaled just two carries for four yards in his NFL career thus far. The Rams offense helps provide additional upside, and the matchup is incredibly appealing as well.

Kelly would also make sense as a daily fantasy football option in Week 16. He’s a salary-saving option with a large workload, which is always appealing in DFS. The Rams running back comes priced at just $4,000 on DraftKings and $4,500 on FanDuel.

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