“Todd Gurley is done”, “Todd Gurley will never be the same”, “my grandfather has better knees than Todd Gurley.” These are just some of the statements that hovered around social media during an offseason littered with question marks surrounding the Los Angeles Rams running back.
However, if week one is any indication of Gurley’s abilities moving forward, the Georgia product still has a lot left in the tank. Yet that may not be the biggest question lingering over the tailback’s head at the moment.
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Todd Gurley Fantasy Outlook vs. New Orleans Saints
It’s extremely evident that the Los Angeles Rams want to cut down on the number of unnecessary hits and usage on Gurley’s body moving forward. You don’t have to look too far to find evidence of this. Gurley’s backup Malcolm Brown carried the ball just four times less than Gurley in the team’s victory over the Carolina Panthers in week one. Brown was also the more viable fantasy option on the day, outscoring Gurley by 6.2 points.
The chatter amongst box-score watchers following the Rams-Panthers contest was that the Rams have a potential running back committee on their hands. However, if you dig deeper, you realize that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
While Brown’s fantasy points were bolstered by two rushing touchdowns, it was Gurley who was the main man in the backfield last Sunday. Gurley was on the field for 70% of the snaps vs. Carolina, out snapping Brown 54-21. The Rams controlled the game between them and the Panthers with ease for the majority of the game. However, when Carolina began to fight back, the Rams unhinged the chains on their all-pro running back. Eight of Gurley’s 14 rushing attempts on the day came in the fourth quarter.
NOLA’s Defensive Struggles
The New Orleans Saints defense was dreadful at defending the run in their opening game of 2019. The Saints defense allowed Houston Texans’ running back tandem of Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson to combine for an average of 7.3 yards per carry last Monday night.
The Saints will likely find it hard to clog the running lanes once again this coming week as defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins has already been ruled out for the week two showdown.
Even if Gurley was completely washed at this point, chances are you’d still take him over the likes of Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson, right?
I’ll answer that question for you with a resounding yes.
Should You Start or Sit Todd Gurley in Week 2?
Gurley’s health once again grabbed headlines on Friday. The running back was held out of Rams practice for health maintenance reasons. However, there is no need to be alarmed, Gurley is expected to be a full go on Sunday.
The Rams are trying to get back the best bang for their buck. They want to protect their investment. Long gone are the 45+ fantasy points for Gurley in the same game that Los Angeles hammers their opponents by 30. There’s simply no reason for it from the Rams’ perspective.
Think of Gurley as a franchise quarterback. If the team’s up by double-digits in the fourth quarter, you’ll likely find Gurley’s behind parked on the bench. However, if the game is a tightly contest matchup, as should be the case on Sunday, the Rams won’t hesitate to use Gurley early and often.
Los Angeles knows that the Todd Gurley of today is still their best football player. When it’s crunch time and the Rams need a play to be made, Gurley will be the running back called upon.
Start Todd Gurley in all leagues this week. Gurley has the floor of a high-end RB2 vs. New Orleans. However, don’t be surprised if he’s one of the highest point-getters at his position this coming week.