Todd Gurley #30 RB
If you’ve been sleeping on St. Louis Rams rookie running back Todd Gurley, it’s time to wake up.
Heading into his fourth career NFL game, Gurley is poised to become the Odell Beckham Jr. of 2015: an enormous young talent hampered by a nagging injury for the first few games of his career before exploding onto the scene. With the gruesome ACL tear he suffered last season at Georgia seemingly behind him (so much that he has openly contemplated playing without his protective knee brace going forward), Gurley has firmly established himself at the top of every group in which he belongs. He has clearly surpassed last year’s rookie star Tre’ Mason as the Rams’ RB1 and is obviously the dominant back of the unusually strong 2015 rookie class that also included Melvin Gordon, Tevin Coleman, and Ameer Abdullah. The only other top spot he hasn’t claimed after three games? Best back in the league.
Just because he’s young, don’t be so quick to count him out—his campaign for the Alpha RB1 of the NFL really begins in Week 7. After games against Pittsburgh, Green Bay, and Arizona (with 320 yards in those last two games alone), Gurley will be unleashed on the league-worst rushing defense of the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland has yielded 149.8 rushing yards per game to its opponents thus far at a 5.0 YP/A clip, and with the Rams content to ride Gurley (he had 30 carries in Week 5 vs. Green Bay), most of those yards will belong to him, with his 5.7 YP/A against stiffer opponents a fine predictor for success against the Browns.
The only knock against Gurley for point-hungry DFS players thus far? Despite his eye-popping numbers, he’s been kept out of the endzone. Don’t worry—that should change this week. Gurley is second in the league with five runs of 20 yards or more, with 55 and 52 yard highs in each of his last two games. With that type of explosive running style, along with possible red zone grind-it-out scenarios against a weak rushing D, Gurley will hit paydirt this week. Once he scores his first TD, I’m guessing they’ll start piling up.
Even as his cap costs rise, put him in your lineups. This train is just starting to get rolling—you won’t want to be left behind.