Value Check: Todd Gurley
Based on his ADP heading into 2016, Todd Gurley has largely been a disappointment in standard scoring leagues through nine weeks of the NFL season. However, he has been able to maintain RB2 value in PPR formats due to consistent volume in the passing-game. Entering Week 10, Gurley has already managed to eclipse his 2015 rookie reception total, as he currently has 25 catches out of the backfield. Although he has received more volume as a receiver, Gurley’s rushing efficiency has suffered as a whole. To date, he holds a 3.1 yard per carry average, which is well below the 4.84 mark he posted only a season ago. Despite his early struggles and inability to produce behind a poor Los Angeles Rams offensive line, I actually find Gurley to be an ideal buy low target as the trade deadline approaches in most fantasy football leagues.
Given how many backfields in the NFL currently implement a committee approach to the running back position, Gurley certainly owns a weekly competitive advantage in terms of a guaranteed workload. According to Rotoworld, Gurley has earned 90.1% of the Rams’ running back carries in 2016. That being said, it is clear that Benny Cunningham is merely a change-of-pace back who is best suited for passing-down work. Yes, Gurley has been an ineffective running back in both the NFL and fantasy so far this season. However, he has received double-digit rushing attempts in every game this year, which is a luxury in today’s NFL. From a volume perspective alone, Gurley figures to produce at least RB2 numbers for the remainder of the year, making him an overlooked fantasy asset due to an underwhelming first half of the season.
Another important factor to consider while assessing Todd Gurley’s value for the remainder of the season is the Rams’ schedule. The team faces a brutal matchup this week against the New York Jets, who have allowed the fourth fewest points to running backs in 2016. Clearly, this does not bode well for Gurley’s short-term value. However, Gurley still has the opportunity to face off against the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers uninspiring defensive units to round out the fantasy regular season and playoffs. Owners that are willing to take a risk on Gurley could certainly be rewarded, as Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has recently admitted that the former Georgia product needs to see more carries on a regular basis.
Currently the RB19 in point-per-reception scoring, Gurley still has the opportunity to return RB1 value in 2016. Being an ineffective rusher has contributed to Gurley’s disappointing sophomore campaign, but his lack of touchdown output has arguably limited his value the most. According to ESPN, Gurley has only managed to score three rushing touchdowns so far in 2016, despite earning five carries inside of an opponent’s 1-yard line. Consider that at this time in 2015, Gurley had scored 4 rushing touchdowns, placing him as the RB9 in PPR formats.
It remains to be seen how Gurley performs this week, but for a closer look at his production as a rookie and sophomore through nine weeks of an NFL season, reference the table below:
|Year||Rushing Yards||Receptions||Receiving Yards||Touchdowns|
It is important to remember that Gurley missed the first two weeks of 2015 as he recovered from a torn ACL. Nonetheless, his rushing totals are rather close over the past two years entering the second half of the NFL season. Sure, Gurley has seen a decrease in total rushing yards and touchdowns. Conversely, he has doubled his overall receiving output and remains on track to surpass 1,000 yards rushing at his current pace. Invest in Gurley at your own risk, but with a consistent workload and favorable schedule down the road, it is possible that he will carry league-winning upside for those that are willing to buy low at his current value.