Guest of the League
Appleton Papermakers Blue Est. 2004
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
Ben Roethlisberger Aug 4 1:10pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told ESPN reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala that his arm "feels really good" in a Zoom call on Tuesday. Roethlisberger missed almost all of the 2019 season after tearing three flexor tendons in his right elbow. The veteran quarterback also stated that he has thrown way more than usual during the offseason and is in tremendous shape entering his age-38 season. Many signs point to a revitalized Pittsburgh offense this season with Roethlisberger back under center, although there is at least some concern as he's entering his 17th NFL season and has a long injury history. That being said, he's still a huge upgrade on offense over Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges from a year ago. Draft Big Ben as an upside QB2 in fantasy drafts this month.

From RotoBaller

Andrew Billings Aug 4 1:00pm ET

Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Andrew Billings has opted out of the upcoming 2020 season. Billings is the third Cleveland player to opt out, joining guard Drew Forbes and tackle Drake Dorbeck. The 25-year-old left the Cincinnati Bengals as a free-agent to sign a one-year deal with the Browns during the offseason and, while not in line to start, was expected to join the team's rotation at the DT position. Billings' vacancy should be a positive for third-round rookie Jordan Elliott, who will see a larger role on defense now.

From RotoBaller

Trent Taylor Aug 3 10:33pm ET

San Francisco 49ers WR Trent Taylor (foot) passed his physical and is healthy heading into training camp.

From TheHuddle

Ben Roethlisberger Aug 3 7:43pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) threw passes during practice Monday, Aug. 3.

Fantasy Spin: Roethlisberger missed most of the 2019 season because of an elbow injury but appears to be on track for Week 1. He posted terrific numbers in 2018 and should be considered a low-end No. 1 or a No. 2 quarterback in standard leagues.

From TheHuddle

Alex Tanney Aug 3 7:03pm ET

New York Giants QB Alex Tanney (undisclosed) passed his physical Monday, Aug. 3, and was activated from the Active/Non-Football Injury list.

From TheHuddle

Rashaad Penny Aug 3 6:53pm ET

Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (knee) was placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, Aug. 3.

Fantasy Spin: Penny is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and may not be ready for the start of the regular season. Fantasy players can keep an eye on the situation but may want to avoid Penny until he returns to practice. Chris Carson will receive most of the carries and should be a weekly starting option in all leagues.

From TheHuddle

Dalvin Cook Aug 3 6:50pm ET

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook arrived at camp last Tuesday despite previously stating that he would not report unless he received a new deal. However, under the new collective bargaining agreement, the 24-year-old ran the risk of becoming a restricted free agent beyond 2020 by not showing up, something he ultimately did not want to do. Cook had a breakout season in 2019, finishing with 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. He also added 53 catches for 519 yards and was also one of the most prolific runners after contact. He is slated to make $1.3 million if an agreement isn't reached. Nonetheless, with the team vowing to work to get a new deal done, fantasy managers can feel a bit more confident by selecting Cook in the first round of fantasy drafts for the upcoming campaign.

From RotoBaller

Ben Gedeon Aug 3 6:43pm ET

Minnesota Vikings LB Ben Gedeon (undisclosed) was placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, Aug. 3.

From TheHuddle

Jerome Baker Aug 3 6:23pm ET

Miami Dolphins LB Jerome Baker was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Aug. 3.

From TheHuddle

Marquel Lee Aug 3 6:13pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders CB Jordan Brown, TE Paul Butler, PK Dominik Eberle, C Erik Magnuson, LS Liam McCullough and WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams were waived Monday, Aug. 3. The team also waived LB Marquel Lee with a failed physical designation.

From TheHuddle

Anthony Barr Aug 3 5:33pm ET

Minnesota Vikings DE Ifeadi Odenigbo and LB Anthony Barr were activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Aug. 3.

From TheHuddle

Quincy Enunwa Aug 3 4:43pm ET

New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa was released Monday, Aug. 3.

From TheHuddle

Trenton Cannon Aug 3 4:43pm ET

New York Jets RB Trenton Cannon, LB Wyatt Ray and OG Benjamin Braden were waived Monday, Aug. 3.

From TheHuddle

Jerell Adams Aug 3 4:33pm ET

Free-agent TE Jerell Adams (Saints) signed with the Baltimore Ravens Monday, Aug. 3. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Eric Saubert Aug 3 4:13pm ET

Chicago Bears TE Eric Saubert and DT John Jenkins were activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Aug. 3.

From TheHuddle

Richie James Aug 3 3:53pm ET

San Francisco 49ers WR Richie James (hand, thumb) was transferred from the Reserve/COVID-19 list to the Active/Non-Football Injury list Monday, Aug. 3.

From TheHuddle

Kentavius Street Aug 3 3:53pm ET

San Francisco 49ers WR Sean Poindexter (undisclosed) and DE Kentavius Street (undisclosed) were activated from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, Aug. 3.

From TheHuddle

Garrett Gilbert Aug 3 3:53pm ET

Cleveland Browns QB Garrett Gilbert was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Aug. 3. P Jamie Gillan was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list. S Karl Joseph (foot) was also placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list and RB Brian Herrien was waived.

From TheHuddle

Moritz Boehringer Aug 3 3:23pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals WR Moritz Bohringer was waived Monday, Aug. 3.

From TheHuddle

Josh Ferguson Aug 3 3:13pm ET

Washington Football Team DE Cameron Malveaux, DB Maurice B. Smith and TE Caleb Wilson were waived Monday, Aug. 3. The team also released RB Josh Ferguson.

From TheHuddle