NFL Training Camps are open, and you know what that means, right? IF you are not diving into fantasy football information, you are already behind!
There will be a great deal of fantasy football information regarding who to draft and when. However, what about the players to skip?
In the fifth part of the Players to Avoid series, I tackle the NFC West in preparation for the 2019 fantasy football season. Fantasy owners looking for the first four parts of the Player to Avoid series can click below:
- Players to Avoid in the AFC East
- Players to Avoid in the NFC East
- Players to Avoid in the NFC North
- Players to Avoid in the NFC South
Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Todd Gurley won't play a snap in the preseason. After training camp videos & 3 weeks of preseason games with Darrell Henderson/Malcolm Brown, to what round will Todd Gurley's fantasy ADP drop?
— Andrew Fleischer (@afleischer) July 18, 2019
The Los Angeles Rams’ offseason moves suggest a workload reduction for Todd Gurley in 2019. The Rams drafted Darrell Henderson in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft and re-signed running back Malcolm Brown to a two-year, $3.25 million contract.
The concerns about Gurley’s arthritic knee will be a crucial factor for fantasy owners during 2019 fantasy football drafts. Henderson and Brown will present a time-share for touches more than any time in Gurley’s four-year career.
Henderson was excellent at Memphis, where he attacked the outside zone to the tune of 10.7 yards/carry and seven yards after the catch. Henderson will bring a different element to the Rams offense. Sean McVay stated that Henderson has a specific skill set that really can do some unique things offensively. Henderson has that hybrid run/pass threat of an Alvin Kamara or Christian McCaffrey.
Another aspect that should be unsettling for potential Todd Gurley owners is the Rams offensive line. The Rams parted ways with center John Sullivan and allowed Rodger Saffold to leave to sign with the Tennessee Titans.
Their replacements are younger players Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen. Both players will be heading into their sophomore seasons, and their inexperience could be a factor, especially early in the season. The offensive line issues could thwart any confidence fantasy owners may have in Gurley returning to elite levels.
The Rams are already looking to alleviate the burden on Gurley’s knee with his participation in offseason activities being limited to this point.
Of course, Gurley is the unquestioned featured back in the Rams’ offense despite his potential knee issues. Henderson will be the change-of-pace and receiving back while Malcolm Brown will serve as the backup to both backs.
If Gurley were not injured, he would be the consensus number one overall pick and all fantasy football analysts would be arguing over who to select second.
Gurley ended 2018 playing in only 14 games, but he still accumulated 1,251 rushing yards, an incredible 17 rushing touchdowns, and 11 runs for twenty or more yards. He also added 59 receptions for 580 yards and four touchdowns.
Which Todd Gurley do we see in 2019? The MVP form of early 2018 who dominated the fantasy football landscape or the late season and playoff Gurley who looked like a just another guy?
Given the uncertainty around Gurley’s knee and the moves to lessen his workload going into the season, fantasy owners should not consider selecting Gurley in the first round.
The changes in playing time and touches should drop Gurley into the late second or even early third round. It’s unlikely that fantasy owners will be able to select him that late in their drafts. The high-risk volatility is enough for me to avoid him in my 2019 fantasy football drafts.