Fantasy football managers came into the season with high expectations for rookie running back Cam Akers. Akers appeared as a stable value in the mid-rounds for running back depth, sliding into the lead role on a high-scoring offense.
However, it has been a slow start for the rookie out of Florida State. It has been a slow start so far through two weeks, and now Akers is facing an uphill climb to see the field in Week 2. Fantasy managers will need to keep a close eye on Akers’ availability while also deciding who will likely be the running back to step up for the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3.
Cam Akers fantasy status remains up in the air due to rib injury
With only 17 rushes for 52 yards, the Log Angeles Rams hoped for Akers to find his groove in Week 3. However, both a difficult matchup and nagging injury seem to have derailed that momentum before it had time to get started.
Akers suffered what is being referred to as separated rib cartilage injury during the Rams 37-19 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2. During his press conference on Thursday, head coach Sean McVay said that Akers’ rib injury “isn’t coming along as quickly as he anticipated,” per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.
Unless we see a rather drastic change in attitude on Friday, it appears most likely that the Rams, and fantasy managers, will not have Akers available for Week 3. However, be sure to check the latest injury reports to see the latest news on his status.
The Rams, even without Cam Akers, will use a committee approach against the Bills
The larger issue for fantasy is that McVay held true by his preseason statement that this would be a timeshare in 2020. Through two weeks, touches have been distributed to all three backs. Malcolm Brown with 32, Akers at 18, and Darrell Henderson receiving 17 total touches.
Each running back getting a sizable workload is enough to lower the rest’s ceiling, but neither is getting enough to be a high-floor weekly start either. For at least one week, this should be a two-player committee.
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With two weeks in the books, Rams’ running backs combined are averaging 33 touches per game, enough for two running backs to be productive. In Week 2, Henderson was the running back who saw the largest jump in production, having the best day of his young career.
Henderson rushed 12 times for 81 yards and a touchdown while also seeing some passing work, catching two of his three targets for 40 yards and another touchdown. Henderson’s career-day was aided by not only the loss of Akers during the game but also that of Brown, who fractured his left pinky. Brown was a full participant on Thursday, so there should be no worries about him suiting up against the Bills on Sunday.
While the Bills rank as one of the toughest defensive matchups, especially against the rush, we need to use some context. In Week 1, they opened the season against the New York Jets and then played the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. No one should be shocked to see any team highly-ranked after opening up against those teams. The Bills are dealing with their own injury concerns heading into this game as both Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano were limited in practice this week after missing their last game.
If Cam Akers is ruled out, who becomes the running back to start in fantasy?
I think it has to be Henderson who will be the biggest benefactor this week if Akers is ruled out as we expect to happen. Henderson comes in a lower-end RB2/high-end flex play for me this week, with Brown gaining mid-flex consideration. Maybe it is partially recency bias, but Henderson looked like the player we thought we were getting last year. It also doesn’t hurt that he is the only one not banged up for this game.
Once Akers returns, the Rams’ running backs return to their hard to predict fantasy status, but for at least one week, we can enjoy what appears the best offense Los Angeles has had in a few years.
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