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One and Done - FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Drafting Todd Gurley

Thu Jun 13 2:58pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Gurley is tough call for owners


Every season there seems to be a player or two that is a tough call for fantasy teams, a polarizing figure. Well, this year that player is Todd Gurley. He was third overall in fantasy running back scoring last year but saw his playing time decrease down the stretch and in the playoffs because of a sore knee, a knee that has been surgically repaired in the past. There are questions surrounding his health and workload for the coming season, making where to draft Gurley a tough call for fantasy teams. 

So I thought it would be interesting to get some insight from some top fantasy experts. My question to them: Where do you feel comfortable drafting Todd Gurley this year and why? 

Here are the results: 

"I don’t hold out a lot of hope for Todd Gurley returning to his perch as a top running back this season. The Rams needed him the most down the stretch and he was completely ineffective. Their silence during the playoffs and the offseason only lead me to believe things are worse than they seem. If the Rams still have him in their offensive plans, I’d expect they’ll limit his touches to make sure he can handle a reduced workload.

Running backs have the shortest shelf life of any skill position so it’s possible he may never be back to what he was early in 2018. For that reason I’m avoiding Gurley in fantasy drafts this season…unless he falls into huge value territory, possibly in Round 4 or 5."

-Steve Gardner (USA Today)

“While I wouldn’t take Gurley in the first round, I’d feel comfortable drafting him in the second. Yes, his workload is going to decline this season. However, he still plays for an electric offense and should be among the league leaders in red zone rushing attempts, so I don’t think touchdowns will be all that hard for him to come by.”

-Mike Barner (RTSports)

“I am 100 percent comfortable drafting Gurley in the second round IF I have a running back in the first round.  He goes right before Joe Mixon for me.  He has had 1,800-plus yards from scrimmage each of the last two years and averages 15 touchdowns.  The knee is a HUGE worry, so you have to have a running back in Round 1 and then take him as a RB2.  If you draft DeAndre Hopkins in the first, you have to take a more sure thing.  I think he has 10-12 touchdowns this year and 1,600 scrimmage yards with 50-plus receptions.  That is 300-plus points in a PPR. BOOM.”

-Rick Wolf (Fantasy Alarm)

“Depending on draft slot, late third or early forth round, which means he will probably not be on any of my teams.  I think the top three draft picks are critical to a successful season, and at this point, I can’t trust Gurley to be productive or even playing.  I think the Rams will be cautious with him this year, and when he does play, he won’t be the ‘bell cow’ he’s been in the past.”

-Charlie Wiegert (RTSports)

“Given the information we have at the moment, I would not hesitate to take Gurley early in the second round and perhaps as early as No. 10 overall. Even if we trim 25 percent of his production (touches, yards, touchdowns, etc.) across the board in each of his two years under HC Sean McVay, he still would have finished as the RB8 in 2018 and RB5 in 2017. Yes, there is substantial risk in investing significant draft capital into a running back with a knee ‘condition’ like Gurley has, but how does his risk make him all that different from just about every fantasy back going in the same area (Mixon, Chubb, Cook) or right after him (Damien Williams, Devonta Freeman, Fournette)?” 

-Doug Orth (FF Today)

“For me personally, the draft would have to fall ‘perfectly’ in order for me to take Gurley at 2.08 with the list of guys I’ve made out, I feel like you’re risking too much for guys who are proven (Mike Evans, Zach Ertz) but I would take Gurley over the likes of Dalvin Cook or Nick Chubb due to the question marks of their own (Cook injury history, Chubb effectiveness in the passing game + Kareem Hunt factor once his suspension is up).”

-Stephen Hawley (’17 Fantasy Championship winner and #5 ranked fantasy player on RTSports)

"There's definite concern over the knee, but if I'm drafting at the tail-end of the first round, I would consider grabbing Gurley, especially if I'm on the wheel and can guarantee another solid running back with my second pick. The only problem I have is how Darrell Henderson is a must-handcuff and you probably have to reach before you would normally draft him to ensure you get him. It's one of those situations where those who don't believe in Gurley will make their move in the middle rounds just to screw you over; just like those who didn't own Le'Veon Bell made it a point to target DeAngelo Williams."

-Howard Bender (Fantasy Alarm)

“Every pick carries some risk but avoiding risk early in drafts is always a strategy I like to employ. I know many will say go big or go home, but I think playing it a little safe with your early picks is the smart move when it comes to injury, playing time, etc. So for me, I would not take Gurley until the mid to late second round of drafts this year. I can’t invest early in a running back with a potentially bad knee and a decrease in playing time from past seasons. And if I’m picking early, I want to make sure I have already used my first-round pick on a running back before grabbing Gurley. That would make me much more comfortable with selecting Gurley for my team.” 

-Jeff Paur (RTSports)

Hopefully, this article helps your decision making when it comes to Gurley for the coming year. There doesn't seem to be a right answer when it comes to drafting him, but maybe hearing from some of these experts will help make a decision for you when it comes to Gurley. He is shaping up as a make or break fantasy player for the coming year, a critical player in fantasy drafts. Good luck in navigating all your drafts. 

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Zach Zenner Aug 24 8:50pm ET

Detroit Lions running back Zach Zenner had just four carries for 21 yards in the Lions third preseason game against the Bills. It appears that Zenner will likely fall behind running back Ty Johnson on the depth chart, into the fourth position. Regardless, Zenner is a talented special team player and should still make the final squad. Zenner is not fantasy relevant.

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Jameis Winston Aug 24 8:32pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was scrambling for his life most of the night in the preseason game against the Browns on Friday, but he managed to continue building chemistry with wide receiver Chris Godwin, hooking up with him four times for 52 yards. Winston finished 9-for-19 for 88 yards and a 60.9 passer rating. He scrambled well and didn't make bad decisions or risky throws, which is what he needs to cut out of his game in a contract year. Winston has all the things in place to have his best season to date in head coach Bruce Arians' offense, making him a low-end QB1/high-end backup for fantasy owners. Godwin should see heavy targets as well, making him a popular breakout candidate in 2019.

T Y Hilton Aug 24 8:31pm ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is likely out until the start of the season. Head coach Frank Reich stated that it would be unlikely to see any starters during the team's Week 3 matchup against the Chicago Bears. Hilton has not played any snaps during the team's first two preseason games, and he doesn't appear slated to play any this week. The strategy of keeping your best player's healthy when you can is usually the right decision. As he's not battling any injuries, this isn't an issue to be worried about as he will play when the games count.

D'Onta Foreman Aug 24 7:53pm ET

Indianapolis Colts RB D'Onta Foreman (biceps) was waived from the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Aug. 24, after the two sides reached an injury settlement.

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Lamar Miller Aug 24 7:33pm ET

Houston Texans RB Lamar Miller (leg) was carted off the field after suffering an apparent leg injury during the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 24.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to monitor the situation to determine the severity of Miller's injury. Duke Johnson likely would take over the starting job if Miller misses an extended period of time and could be a No. 2 running back in all fantasy leagues.

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Lamar Miller Aug 24 7:30pm ET

Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller was carted off the field after a first quarter hit in Saturday's preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys. Miller hadn't played in a preseason game before this one. A Pro Bowler last year, Miller is expected to see the bulk of Houston's offensive touches this year with Duke Johnson coming in on passing downs, but a potentially serious knee injury would lead to huge changes in this Houston offense. Monitor the situation over the next few days.

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George Kittle Aug 24 7:20pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (calf) will not play Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Kittle suffered a calf injury a couple weeks ago but has been practicing and assured his fantasy enthusiasts hell be ready for Week 1. Kittle deserves top-3 tight end consideration in all leagues this season. Other notable inactives include Jerick McKinnon (knee), Trent Taylor (foot), and Nick Bosa (ankle). Both McKinnon and Taylor are at risk of starting the season on the PUP list while Bosa continues working his way back from an ankle sprain. None of the latter three players merit fantasy consideration until theres clarity on their health.

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Jarrad Davis Aug 24 6:43pm ET

Updating previous reports, Detroit Lions LB Jarrad Davis (ankle) has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, according to a source. He is starting to feel better but probably will miss time early in the regular season.

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Justin Evans Aug 24 5:23pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers S Justin Evans (hamstring) passed his physical Saturday, Aug. 24, and was activated from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.

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Giorgio Tavecchio Aug 24 5:20pm ET

The Atlanta Falcons signed free-agent kicker Blair Walsh on Saturday. The 29-year-old is a former All-Pro that was taken by Minnesota in the sixth round in 2012. He hit 84.2 percent of his kicks in five years with the Vikings and was last with Seattle in 2017, where he made 72.4 percent of his kicks. Current kicker Giorgio Tavecchio has struggled this preseason, so Walsh will push him for the job as Week 1 approaches. Atlanta's kicker position could yield nice fantasy points in 2019, but this is a situation to avoid in fantasy until we have more clarity.

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Dalvin Cook Aug 24 5:13pm ET

Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook rushed for 88 yards and one touchdown on two carries in the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 24.

Fantasy Spin: Cook is scheduled to receive a majority of the carries for the Vikings this season and can be a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues if he is able to stay healthy.

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Paul Worrilow Aug 24 5:13pm ET

Baltimore Ravens LB Paul Worrilow was officially released Saturday, Aug. 24.

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Kirk Cousins Aug 24 5:10pm ET

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Lance Kendricks Aug 24 5:10pm ET

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Kirk Cousins Aug 24 5:03pm ET

Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins went 3-for-13 for 35 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions in the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 24.

Fantasy Spin: Cousins is coming off a very good 2018 season and will have a solid group of pass catchers to work with but probably should be considered a No. 2 fantasy quarterback.

From TheHuddle

Dalvin Cook Aug 24 5:00pm ET

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook rushed twice for 88 yards and one touchdown in the third preseason game Saturday. On one of his rushes, he started left and cut back to the right, breaking tackles on his way to an 85-yard touchdown run. Cook is showing he's all the way back from his torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He's a midrange RB1 that has the potential to be one of the best backs in the game.

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Jarrad Davis Aug 24 4:43pm ET

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Kyler Murray Aug 24 4:40pm ET

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray went 14-for-21 for 137 yards in the third preseason game Saturday. He didn't throw a touchdown or an interception, and he avoided taking a sack. He rushed four times for nine yards. The team has emphasized getting the ball out quickly with Murray, which hasn't led to many big gains. This dink-and-dunk approach limits his fantasy value in single-year formats. However, it could prove beneficial in the long run. Murray is an upside backup quarterback in fantasy, but he is a budding chip to have in dynasty formats.

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Lance Kendricks Aug 24 4:33pm ET

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Blair Walsh Aug 24 4:33pm ET

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