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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
Ezekiel Elliott Jul 15 4:21pm ET

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott has privately said he intends to hold out of training camp unless he gets a new contract, according to Pro football Talk's Mike Florio via a league source.

David Johnson Jul 15 4:03pm ET

Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson's receiving skills 'should come back to the forefront' after being 'all but ignored last season,' in the opinion of Darren Urban of AZcardinals.com.

Fantasy Spin: This has been the assumption among fantasy owners since Arizona hired Kliff Kingsbury, but it always helps to get it confirmed from a scribe that covers the team like Urban does. Johnson's goal of a 1,000/1,000 season may be a bit too much to ask, but this figures to be the 27-year-old's best shot of hitting those marks since his incredible 2016 campaign. He's well worth a pick in the top half of the first round of most fantasy drafts.

Alex Smith Jul 15 3:33pm ET

Washington Redskins QB Alex Smith (knee) will no longer be required to wear the external fixator that he had worn for eight months since suffering his devastating knee injury in November of 2018.

Grady Jarrett Jul 15 3:03pm ET

Atlanta Falcons DT Grady Jarrett reportedly reached an agreement on a four-year contract worth $68 million on Monday, July 15. Jarrett had been designated as the team's franchise player.

Ezekiel Elliott Jul 15 2:23pm ET

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott has privately said he intends to hold out of training camp unless he gets a new contract, according to Pro football Talk's Mike Florio via a league source.

Fantasy Spin: Elliott still has two years left on his rookie contract, so this is a bit different than Melvin Gordon's situation. Unlike most of the running backs in the NFL in today's game, the two-time Pro Bowler has slightly more leverage here due to the lack of depth Dallas has at the position and how important he is to the Cowboys' offense. It's unlikely he'll hold out into the regular season though. However, if he does, rookies Mike Weber and Tony Pollard would likely split touches.

Robbie Gould Jul 15 12:50pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers agreed to a two-year deal with kicker Robbie Gould on Monday. The sides avoided a potential franchise tag controversy by guaranteeing Gould $10.5 million over two years with a team option for two additional seasons. There were rumors that Gould was unhappy in the Bay and preferred returning to his hometown Chicago, but that is now moot. Gould, 36, has been a steady boot throughout his career with an 87.7 field goal percentage and a 78 percent success rate on attempts of 40-plus yards. Since joining the Niners in 2017, hes converted 72 of 75 field goal tries (96 percent). With the 49ers offense expected to improve in 2019, Gould should be a solid fantasy kicker.

From RotoBaller

Josh Allen Jul 15 12:10pm ET

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had a higher interception rate than touchdown rate and a completion percentage of just 52.8% during his rookie year. Going into his sophomore season, Allen seems very aware of the mistakes he made as a rookie and is eager to fix them. During an interview on XM NFL Radio last week, Allen said, "I know theres a lot of things that I missed on last year" and he described these misses as "A lot of dumb plays." He then went on to describe his goal of "Learning from those and then going into next season and trying to apply what Ive learned onto the field." Allen is a popular sleeper going into the 2019 season and if he can indeed cut down on the miscues, there's a good chance he could tap into some of that sleeper potential. He's a great target in two-QB leagues.

From RotoBaller

Kendrick Norton Jul 15 10:13am ET

Miami Dolphins DT Kendrick Norton (arm) will have his sixth, and likely final surgery, Monday, July 15, after he lost his arm in a car accident. He could be discharged from the hospital by next week.

Grady Jarrett Jul 15 9:53am ET

Updating an earlier report, Atlanta Falcons DT Grady Jarrett has some hope in beating the 4 p.m. ET deadline to sign a long-term deal Monday, July 15.

Derrick Morgan Jul 15 8:53am ET

Free-agent LB Derrick Morgan (Titans) announced his retirement Monday, July 15.

Robbie Gould Jul 15 8:33am ET

Updating an earlier report, San Francisco 49ers PK Robbie Gould's deal includes a $3 million signing bonus and fully guaranteed salaries of $3.15 million and $4.35 million. The option clause must be exercised by the 17th week of the 2020 season, which would fully guarantee Gould $2.25 million and another $2.25 million April 1, 2021. If the option is picked up, the deal would include a $4.5 million base salary in 2021 and a $4 million base salary in 2022.

Robbie Gould Jul 15 8:23am ET

San Francisco 49ers PK Robbie Gould agreed to a long-term deal before the deadline for franchise tag players Monday, July 15. The deal is a two-year, $10.5 million fully guaranteed deal with an option clause that can turn it into a four-year, $19 million deal with $15 million guaranteed.

Fantasy Spin: Gould is a back-end PK1 that could have some upside if Jimmy Garoppolo continues to progress the way he was before the knee injury.

Jadeveon Clowney Jul 15 8:23am ET

Houston Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney will not get a deal done before the deadline Monday, July 15, for franchise tag players to sign long-term contracts.

Grady Jarrett Jul 15 8:23am ET

Atlanta Falcons DT Grady Jarrett is unlikely to sign a long-term deal before the deadline for franchise tag players to do so Monday, July 15.

Christian McCaffrey Jul 15 3:03am ET

Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey might see a little more help in the backfield, as head coach Ron Rivera searches for a secondary runner. '(McCaffrey) him touching the ball was no concern,' Rivera said. 'It was just the extra plays. So we have to look at that and find a way to take that load from him.' The team re-signed RBs Cameron Artis-Payne and Elijah Hood, they drafted RB Jordan Scarlett, signed Elijah Holyfield as an undrafted free agent and have RB Reggie Bonnafon in the mix as well.

Fantasy Spin: McCaffrey will remain a first-round fantasy selection who will be the bellcow in Charlotte, but a little more rest, particularly late in games with the outcome already decided would not be a bad thing for C-Mac's long-term health. Fantasy owners shouldn't be terribly concerned.

Robbie Gould Jul 15 2:43am ET

San Francisco 49ers PK Robbie Gould was offered the $4.971 million franchise tag on Feb. 26, but he still has not signed the deal. Gould, who requested a trade back in April, is unsure that playing for the 49ers is best for him and his family. The deadline for a multi-year deal is 4 p.m. ET on Monday, July 15, and he said he was not going to commit to making a decision by then.

Jadeveon Clowney Jul 15 2:33am ET

Houston Texans DE/LB Jadeveon Clowney was offered the $15.967 million tag on March 4, but he has yet to sign it. He has been looking for a long-term extension, and the deadline to sign franchise-tagged players to a multi-year contract is coming up on Monday, July 15 at 4 p.m. ET.

Nate Sudfeld Jul 15 1:40am ET

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nate Sudfeld is considered a lock to make the final roster according to the Newark Star-Ledger. Sudfeld is expected to start the season as the primary backup to starter Carson Wentz. The rest of the Eagles quarterback room is Cody Kessler and fifth-round pick Clayton Thorson. Neither player should push Sudfeld for QB2 duties, but if Sudfeld struggles in the preseason, the Eagles could end up with three quarterbacks on the roster.

From RotoBaller

Marquez Valdes-Scantling Jul 14 10:23pm ET

Green Bay Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling said he has been working out with retired WR Randy Moss four days a week to prepare of the upcoming season.

Fantasy Spin: Valdes-Scantling is in the mix to to be the No. 2 receiver in Green Bay, and if he ends up starting across from Davante Adams, he will immediately become a WR4 with upside.

Antonio Callaway Jul 14 9:23pm ET

Cleveland Browns WR Antonio Callaway has improved his game, according to QB Baker Mayfield, and Mayfield said he is 'very happy' with what he's seen out of Callaway during spring practices.

Fantasy Spin: Callaway has a good chance to open the year as the No. 3 receiver because of his ability to stretch the field, but he will be an all-or-nothing fantasy option in that role. He's a late-round lottery ticket, at best.