On the Saturday night before the Super Bowl, the NFL handed out its year end awards. The recipient for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award went to former Georgia great Todd Gurley. There's no doubt that Gurley deserved the award. Going into his rookie season off of an injury, Gurley wasn't expected to do much. He didn't even play until the third game of the season. In that game, facing a tougher than it looked at the time Pittsburgh run defense, Gurley managed 9 yards on 6 carries. His per carry average was 1.5 yards.
Bust? Sure, there were whispers about Gurley being a bust. It turns out that those whispers were flat out wrong. In Week 4, Gurley had a 146 yards off of 19 carry performance against the Arizona Cardinals. Todd Gurley, a rookie, rushed for 7.7 yards per carry against one of the top rush defenses in the entire NFL. Other huge games would follow. At the end of the season Gurley had amassed 1,106 rushing yards. He had scored 10 rushing touchdowns and he had done it all in 13 games. He had also become one of the top running backs in the NFL while playing with the absolute worst passing offense in the NFL.
All of it could add up to Gurley being the top pick in the draft. But, before diving in, there are a few things we Fantasy Football Players need to consider:
1. The Rams Move to Los Angeles – It shouldn't mean anything, you're right. But, it could. Gurley played in a dome in St. Louis. Not only that, but he played in front of adoring fans. Since I live in Los Angeles, I can tell you that a lot of people aren't going to make the drive out to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Why would we? It's not like any of us are real Rams fans. Most people I know in L.A. loved the Raiders. So, Gurley goes from a dome with adoring fans to La-La Land where most fans will go only if the tickets are free. That's one of the reason the Rams left in the first place. Will that become an issue for Gurley?
2. The Rams' QB Situation – The rumor is that L.A. might go after RGIII. As an FF Player, you have to ask yourself…would that be a good or bad thing? The Rams have to do something with their QB situation. The Rams averaged 173.3 passing yards per game. That's ridiculously bad. I'm not sure if RGIII is the answer. What the Rams really need is a top flight WR and a serviceable QB like Josh McCown. That would really help open up things for Gurley.
3. TG's Durability – Gurley was absolutely amazing in his rookie season. But it may have come with a price. Remember, TG went into his rookie season off of an injury that he suffered while at Georgia. He carried the football 30 times versus Green Bay in Week 5. He carried it 24 times versus Minnesota in Week 9. Coach Jeff Fisher ran Eddie George into the ground every year it seemed like so that George wasn't nearly as effective towards the end of the season as he was in the beginning. He might do the same with TG, which means that the top RB in your league might be a liability come playoff time.
4. The NFC West Division – The NFC West will be loaded again. Seattle is one of the favorites to win the 2017 Super Bowl. So are the Arizona Cardinals. The Rams could be playing behind when they face Seattle and Arizona, meaning that Gurley's excellent rushing ability may go for naught since the Rams will have to make up huge deficits. Also, Arizona and Seattle and San Francisco, for that matter, know that the Rams have to lean on TG. They won't surprise him this season.
Todd Gurley was phenomenal as a rookie last season. He was so good that he might end up taking Adrian Peterson's place as the first RB taken in Fantasy Football drafts this season. But there are questions about whether or not Gurley will have the same sort of success in 2016 that he had in 2015.