With our lives in a void of uncertainty, there has been nothing more exciting than the first week of the new NFL year. After trades that saw superstar receivers like Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins change teams, more news continues to hit. This time around, its Todd Gurley who just as abruptly was released, found a new home. Late Thursday afternoon, news broke the Rams were moving on from the former highest-paid running back. Gurley was set to earn $10.5 million in guarantees if he remained on their roster past 4pm ET. Fortunately for Gurley, he didn’t have to wait long as the Atlanta Falcons swooped in to grab the former Georgia Bulldog.
How does this news impact Todd Gurley and his fantasy outlook? Cody and Justin break it down.
As a 5-year veteran, Todd Gurley has had three seasons of at least 1,100 yards. However, in 2019, there was a significant drop off as he finished with 3.8 yards per carry and less than 900 yards. Gurley failed to reach 100 yards in a single game for the first time since 2016. Many contribute this downfall to a knee injury suffered at the end of the 2018 season.
Despite the drop in production, Gurley still had a few shining moments throughout the season. Gurley rushed for more than 5-yards per carry three times last year including two of them over six. Not completely certain if it was a combination of the injury scare or poor performance, however, the Rams clearly were limiting his touches. TG30 had fewer than 255 carries and 55 targets for the first time since his rookie season. Gurley who shined for most of his career just couldn’t get things going.
New year, new team. Gurley is getting a chance to redeem himself in an offense with a significantly better run-blocking unit. In 2019, the Rams had the 26th best run-blocking team and the 13th best rushing grades according to PFF.com. However, the Falcons were the 30th best rushing team with the 11th best run-blocking unit. The Atlanta Falcons ran the ball 340 times in 2019 with 90% of the carries coming from four different halfbacks. Gurley is likely not going to see the 260+ carries by himself again, but with a beefed-up offensive line, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley keeping secondaries honest, Gurley should bounce back in a big way next season.
I actually think Todd Gurley rises up fantasy draft boards with his new home. With the Falcons being a better run-blocking unit and a more experienced QB with arguably the best WR in the game, Gurley should be fine. If his injury can heal, and he can get back to his old self, he’s going to be a monster. For me he is a borderline 2nd round pick, with value anything thereafter. FF Calculator currently shows him as the 13th running back off the board in the 3rd round.
What an incredible fall for Todd Gurley’s dynasty value. Just a short 14 months ago, Gurley was being drafted with an ADP of 2.83, per Dynasty League Football. Today? He has nearly fallen outside of the first four rounds of mock startup drafts (47.5). While I’m not as optimistic as Justin, the plus-side is this move won’t make his trade value skyrocket. Frankly, there wasn’t going to be any situation capable of making fantasy players forget about the main issue at hand: his arthritic knee. Unfortunately, we won’t have the foresight to know exactly when his play is going to completely nosedive.
In terms of his dynasty ADP, I’m not expecting a significant change from where he’s currently being drafted. The only caveat to this is if Atlanta’s doctors take a look at his knee and news comes out it’s worse than what they had been expecting. He’s only on a one year deal worth $6 million, so it’s a relatively low-risk, high-reward move for the Falcons. Depending on your risk tolerance and how you build your teams, Gurley could be a value if he drops to the early fifth-round of drafts.
For trades, if you’re a contender and you want to take a cheap upside shot, Gurley could pay off handsomely if his knee is able to hold up this season. The Falcons’ offensive line represents an upgrade for Gurley (if they as a unit can remain healthy) which is needed due to his drop in play. If you’re holding Gurley on a team with no playoff hopes for 2020, I would wait for the first piece of positive news out of Atlanta and sell as quickly as possible. If you’re selling now, I’d look to trade Gurley for a young asset whom you believe in, but maybe hasn’t popped just yet. Guys like Christian Kirk, David Montgomery, and Marquise Brown are all currently being drafted after Gurley in DLF’s March startup ADP. Those names are in addition to players who have shown us something, like Michael Gallup, Tyler Boyd, and Mark Andrews. The best part about those several names mentioned is you may be able to get the player with a little on top in return for Gurley.