NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, October 23, 2015, 12:12 AM
The early returns on Rams first-round pick Todd Gurley are spectacular. St. Louis didn’t care that Gurley tore the ACL in his left knee on Nov. 15 while playing for Georgia last year. They still made him the 10th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and after being eased in during his Week 3 debut, Gurley has 49 carries for 305 yards. He’s done that less than a year from serious knee surgery.
The great news for fantasy owners? He should only improve as he gets stronger.
“You look around the league, it takes more than just a year to come back,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said this week. “Todd’s a year out, that’s why I say he’s not 100%. He’s going to continue to get better.”
Gurley is a fantasy star in the making, even if games of 30 carries like he had against Green Bay on Oct. 11 will be the exception to the norm as the Rams manage Gurley’s touches and look to get Tre Mason, currently dealing with an ankle issue, more involved. Gurley already has five runs of 20 or more yards, which is tied for second in the league (Le’Veon Bell, who also didn’t debut until Week 3 due to suspension, has six such runs.) Gurley is a must-start at this point against any team, and he has a perfect matchup this week against a putrid Browns run defense allowing an NFL-worst 149.8 yards per game.
If Gurley rushes for at least 140 yards on Sunday, he’d become only the second rookie in NFL history to hit that mark in three consecutive games. The only other one to do it was also a Ram: Eric Dickerson accomplished the feat in 1983.
Gurley has got a great chance to do it, because not only is the matchup great, but Nick Foles has been awful. The Rams ranked dead-last in the NFL with 82 completions and second-to-last in net passing yardage with 183.2. Foles is tied for 29th in passer rating at 77.6.
There’s one qualified player with a better yards-per-carry than Gurley and Seattle’s Thomas Rawls, who are tied at 5.7, and it’s a quarterback: San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick.
The only knock on Gurley from a fantasy perspective thus far is he has yet to score a touchdown. If he keeps his form, he’ll find the end zone in no time, perhaps on multiple occasions this Sunday.
Three weekly value options we like for Week 7
WR Martavis Bryant, Steelers: Came back from suspension with a bang on Sunday, even with third-stringer Landry Jones at quarterback. The Chiefs are giving up more fantasy points to wide receivers than any team in the NFL.
TE Antonio Gates, Chargers: Gates has been his usual amazing self since returning from suspension and he too has a great matchup. Oakland is giving up the most fantasy points to tight ends.
WR Stefon Diggs, Vikings: The fifth-round pick has broken out as of late and is a good option if you need a really cheap receiver.
DraftKings Lineup ($ 50,000 cap)
QB Carson Palmer, ARI $ 6,700
RB Adrian Peterson, MIN $ 7,600
RB Todd Gurley, STL $ 5,000
WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG $ 8,700
WR Allen Hurns, JAX $ 5,300
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT $ 4,700
TE Antonio Gates, SD $ 5,000
FLEX Willie Snead, NO $ 4,300
DEF Steelers $ 2,600
TOTAL: $ 49,900
FanDuel Lineup ($ 60,000 cap)
QB Carson Palmer, ARI $ 8,200
RB Adrian Peterson, MIN $ 8,900
RB Todd Gurley STL $ 7,400
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND $ 7,700
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT $ 6,900
WR Eric Decker, NYJ $ 6,200
TE Antonio Gates, SD $ 5,800
K Travis Coons, CLE $ 4,500
DEF Washington, $ 4,400
TOTAL: $ 60,000