The Los Angeles Rams and fantasy football players alike suffered a scare in Week 15. Running back Todd Gurley left Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles with an apparent knee injury and did not immediately return. Fortunately, after roughly a drive or so he was able to rejoin his teammates and saw a decent workload, specifically as a pass-catcher.
As we now head into Week 16, Gurley finds himself with a status that still remains up in the air. Although there’s been somewhat of a positive outlook to this point, there’s no clear-cut decision made on the Rams star heading into the final stretch of the season. With a lot on the table for both the team and those fantasy players in their championship (or semifinals), Gurley’s status is worth monitoring.
Fortunately, there have been some positive updates on the 24-year-old to this point, so let’s take a look at the latest on his injury and fantasy football outlook.
Latest on Todd Gurley’s Injury for Week 16
One of the first pieces of news that came to light on Gurley was Monday afternoon following the game. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport revealed that while Gurley returned to the game, there’s the sense that he’ll be on the field in Week 16.
Early on Tuesday morning, ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry reported that Rams coach Sean McVay called Gurley day-to-day with the injury. The coach did also make a comment that leaves some reason for concern on the running back’s status.
“If he’s able to go, we want him to be able to go,” McVay said. “But if it’s something that whether you’re playing for the playoffs or whether you’re not, we’re always going to be smart with a player like Todd.”
It’ll be worth monitoring Gurley’s status as the week rolls on to see whether or not he practices. He obviously wants to play, but the Rams’ chances of grabbing the No. 1 seed are slim, as they’d need the New Orleans Saints to lose twice, assuming they win out. That could point to McVay and the coaching staff playing it safe with the MVP candidate.
On the opposite side, the Rams now have the Chicago Bears (10-4) hot on their trail, and Matt Nagy’s squad holds the tiebreaker over Los Angeles. For the Rams to earn a first-round bye, there’s a good chance they’ll need to avoid a slip-up.
Unfortunately, there was some bad news revealed on Gurley’s knee injury Thursday, as Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio cited the running back stating he’s yet to run this week.
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.”
Update: After ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Rams were planning to play Gurley barring a setback in pregame warmups in Week 16, it seems something happened. As ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry revealed, the Rams have ruled Gurley out for the game.
Todd Gurley’s Backup & Fantasy Outlook
From a fantasy football standpoint, preparing for all situations with Gurley would be wise. McVay also revealed that Rams backup running back Justin Davis is day-to-day with a shoulder injury, per ESPN. If scanning the waiver wire, it could be wise to still add him this week, but adding rookie runner John Kelly as well is likely the preferred route to go.
Kelly stepped in for the brief period Gurley missed on Sunday but had just two carries for four yards. The rookie from the University of Tennessee has only played in two games this season but flashed upside over the final two seasons of his collegiate career. In 2017, Kelly rushed for 778 yards on 189 attempts with nine touchdowns while adding 37 receptions for 299 yards with the Volunteers.
The good news is that whoever starts in the backfield for the Rams draws an appealing matchup with the Arizona Cardinals. On the season, 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.