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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
Christian McCaffrey Aug 14 11:20pm ET

Elite Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey didn't hesitate to say his own name when it came to selecting the first pick in fantasy drafts, per ESPN. The 24-year-old's claim is backed up by an incredible 2019 season which saw him garner 1,387 rush yards, 4.8 rush yards per carry, 15 rush touchdowns, 116 receptions, 1,005 receiving yards, and four receiving touchdowns. The Panther also finished with the second most fantasy football points in the history of the game at 471 points. It should be no shock that the RB would consider himself the top pick for 2020 and with a role as the focal point of the Carolina offense, along with coming off an astounding fantasy season, there is no disputing that.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Gibson Aug 14 10:50pm ET

Washington Football Team running back/wide receiver could fill the role planned for recently-released running back Derrius Guice. Gibson has been practicing as both a running back and a wide receiver, but with Guice no longer in the backfield, Gibson could be the best bet in a still-crowded running back room. Adrian Peterson, Bryce Love, Peyton Barber, and J.D. McKissic will also be battling for playing time. Gibson is a huge upside/gadget player floor choice right now.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Aug 14 10:50pm ET

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said that he is "optimistic" about coming to an agreement with the team on a long-term contract extension after this season. It seems the two sides never got too close to a deal in the offseason, as Prescott wanted more money and fewer years than the Cowboys were offering. He'll play under the franchise tag this year and could be tagged again next year if the two sides still can't agree, although next year's tag would cost the team $38 million.

From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Aug 14 5:10pm ET

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said he's "finding out how to get back to the basics" after a disappointing sophomore campaign in 2019. "I lost myself in that and I wasn't able to be who I am for these guys on the team. I told them that," Mayfield continued. "I told them that if I'm not doing that, hold me accountable." Head coach Kevin Stefanski's zone-run and play-action scheme should fit Mayfield better, but some fantasy owners may still be skeptical. Mayfield was being taken as a top-five fantasy signal-caller in 2019. That won't happen in 2020 drafts, but the 25-year-old from Oklahoma could surprise some as a QB1 with an improved supporting cast.

From RotoBaller

Dalvin Cook Aug 14 5:00pm ET

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook plans to be a full participant at training camp while he seeks a long-term contract extension. "I'm out there full go, 1,000 percent," Cook said. The RB1 in fantasy should be present for workouts on Monday for the start of camp. The 25-year-old second-rounder was a top-five running back last year despite missing two games due to injury. With the Vikings passing game less of a certainty now that Stefon Diggs is in Buffalo, Minnesota could lean even more on Cook, both on the ground and through the air. Fantasy managers probably won't view the former Florida State running back as elite because of injury concerns, but he's been pretty money in his short career when he's on the field.

From RotoBaller

Marcus Mariota Aug 14 4:50pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said that quarterback Marcus Mariota "really fired me up today" at training camp on Friday. He has turned a corner with his ankle (injury) and he is a dazzling playmaker. He had a very nice day. It might just be coach speak, and we all know that Gruden typically loves almost every player he's laid eyes on in the NFL, but it's worth noting nonetheless. Incumbent Derek Carr could easily be on the hot seat early in 2020 if he doesn't impress the coaching staff with his production, and Mariota, despite his failures in Tennessee, remains athletic and is one of the highest-paid backup QBs in the league. If Mariota winds up making starts this year, he'd be a low-ceiling, low-end QB2.

From RotoBaller

Trevor Siemian Aug 14 4:43pm ET

Free-agent QB Trevor Siemian (Jets) worked out for the Detroit Lions Friday, Aug. 14.

From TheHuddle

Bronson Kaufusi Aug 14 4:33pm ET

New York Jets RB Kenneth Dixon (hip), DE Bronson Kaufusi (hamstring) and LB Jabari Zuniga (quadriceps) did not participate in practice Friday, Aug. 14.

From TheHuddle

Cordarrelle Patterson Aug 14 4:30pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has been meeting with the running backs at camp, instead of the wide receivers. This could be an indication that head coach Matt Nagy is planning to use the speedy receiver out of the backfield more this year. This is Patterson's second year with the Bears. Last year, he caught 11 passes for 83 yards while adding 17 rushes for 103 yards. It's certainly an intriguing development, but we'll need to see it play out quite a bit more before we start to get excited about Patterson for fantasy purposes.

From RotoBaller

Mychal Kendricks Aug 14 4:03pm ET

Free-agent LB Mychal Kendricks (Seahawks) received interest from the Las Vegas Raiders, but the two sides were not able to reach a contract agreement, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

Romeo Okwara Aug 14 4:03pm ET

Detroit Lions DE Romeo Okwara (undisclosed) was activated from the Active/Non-Football Injury list Friday, Aug. 14. The team also waived S Jeremiah Dinson.

From TheHuddle

Jahleel Addae Aug 14 3:53pm ET

Free-agent S Jahleel Addae (Texans) is scheduled to work out for the Minnesota Vikings, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

Kevin Stefanski Aug 14 3:50pm ET

Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter underwent knee surgery on Thursday according to head coach Kevin Stefanski. The veteran lineman reportedly had the surgery to remove loose bodies from the knee. Stefanski would not elaborate on how long Tretter would be out but the NFL Network reported that he will probably only miss a couple weeks. In Tretters absence, rookie center Nick Harris will get a chance to show what he can do. Tretter is a key piece to a revamped Cleveland offensive line this year.

From RotoBaller

Leonard Williams Aug 14 3:33pm ET

New York Giants DT Leonard Williams (undisclosed) was activated from the Active/Non-Football Injury list Friday, Aug. 14.

From TheHuddle

Frank Gore Aug 14 3:23pm ET

New York Jets RB Frank Gore (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Aug. 14, because of a hamstring injury. Head coach Adam Gase said Gore was held out as a precaution.

Fantasy Spin: Gore likely will be the No. 2 running back for the Jets and see a handful of carries each game. He could be a handcuff to Le'Veon Bell in fantasy leagues but probably will not have a big fantasy impact.

From TheHuddle

Pierre Desir Aug 14 3:23pm ET

New York Jets CB Pierre Desir (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Aug. 14.

From TheHuddle

Baker Mayfield Aug 14 3:13pm ET

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield said Friday, Aug. 14, he 'lost myself' in 2019 and started doubting himself after a couple of sub-par performances. Mayfield, though, said Friday that's in the past. 'In a much better state, mentally, physically. Just ready to roll,' Mayfield told reporters at training camp. 'Back to where I need to be to be the leader.'

Fantasy Spin: Drafted as a breakout No. 1 QB last season, Mayfield stumbled badly, throwing for five fewer touchdowns and seven more interceptions than he did as a rookie in 2018. He should bounce back the other way some in 2020, but he's still figures to wind up as a QB2 when all's said and done.

From TheHuddle

Lamar Miller Aug 14 2:53pm ET

Updating previous report, New England Patriots RB Lamar Miller received a one-year, $1.05 million contract that includes $200,000 in guarantees with $1.5 million also available in 'achievable' incentives.

From TheHuddle

Jordan Reed Aug 14 2:53pm ET

Updating a previous report, San Francisco TE Jordan Reed signed a one-year, $1.05 million contract. The deal also includes up to $750,000 in playing-time incentives.

From TheHuddle

Aaron Rodgers Aug 14 2:50pm ET

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre told the 'Load Management' podcast that he would "love to see" Aaron Rodgers on the Chicago Bears one day. History could be repeating itself after the Packers traded up to draft quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of this year's draft. Many have speculated and assumed that this was not happy news for Rodgers, prompting many to wonder how much longer Rodgers will be in a Packers uniform. Despite a dip in production in the second half of 2019, Rodgers still passed for 4,002 yards with 26 touchdowns and only four interceptions. The 36-year-old still has plenty of ability but currently finds himself towards the end of many fantasy top-10 QB lists. The former MVP will be a reliable option but will be drafted in the later rounds for the first time in his career.

From RotoBaller