Last November Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley was lying on the turf in Sanford Stadium holding his left knee. Fresh off suspension with high hopes to boost his draft stock, Gurley was suddenly looking at a long rehab and an uncertain future. With all that adversity, Gurley was still the first running back drafted in Round 1 of the NFL Draft since 2012. That is a testament to his ability and the impact he made on NFL scouts in his relatively brief college career.
All that is behind Gurley, as he was impressive in his conditioning test and is on the St. Louis Rams active roster in training camp. Gurley’s fantasy football draft status will most likely be in the late 4th or 5th round just on potential. I believe the Rams will be cautious introducing Gurley into the lineup in the early going. Even with that, he will still be drafted and left on the bench until he is on the field on a regular basis.
Once the time comes, Todd Gurley will be a solid RB2. He could potentially be a RB1 by the middle of the season. His combination of speed and power will be effective, but one thing to keep in mind is the Rams will play quite a few teams that had stout run defenses in 2014. The Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks should again be among the stiffest run defenses in the league, and even with a large number of key losses, the San Francisco 49ers could also spell trouble for Gurley.
That being said, in season long fantasy leagues he is worth the later round pick based on his strengths and potential. He will just be getting started when other injuries and the like will be taking its toll on NFL running backs. In DFS fantasy football leagues his name will be more common later in the season and depending on his price he could be a terrific weekly play with the right matchup. Overall, it’s all about recovery and role.
Early signs suggest Gurley could make a positive impact as a rookie, but the height of that impact may not be felt toward closer to the middle of the year. Regardless of whether or not your draft the star rookie rusher, be sure to pick up Tre Mason if the price is reasonable. Mason could begin the year ahead of Gurley and would be a great handcuff if Gurley were to ever go down with another injury.