Todd Gurley Fantasy Value Impacted by Emergence of Malcolm Brown

Max Staley
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Week 1 was a bit of a mixed bag for Todd Gurley's fantasy owners. On one hand, he ceded goal-line work to Malcolm Brown (who scored two touchdowns) and was barely involved in the passing game, finishing with just one reception.

Still, when he did get the ball, he looked far more explosive than he did in last year's postseason. Gurley only needed 14 carries to pile up 97 rushing yards, averaging a healthy 6.9 yards per carry against a stout Carolina Panthers defense.

Todd Gurley Fantasy Outlook

The snap counts tell a similarly encouraging story. Gurley played 54 of a possible 77 snaps, while Brown played just 21 and Darrell Henderson, who many thought would be Gurley's handcuff, only got in the mix for two.

Gurley was on the field for roughly 70 percent of the Los Angeles Rams' snaps. It's a steep decline from his numbers last year, as he played at least 80 percent of the snaps in 11 of his 14 games, but it's still a pretty clear indication that this is Gurley's backfield, with Brown playing just 27 percent of the team's snaps.

Even though the snap count is generally encouraging, Gurley's value could be capped by losing work in the passing game and in the red zone.

Gurley has led the NFL in rushing TDs in back-to-back seasons, and has recorded at least 55 receptions both years as well. In 2018, there were only five games in which Gurley didn't score a rushing TD. He largely made up for it by recording at least three receptions in each of those contests.

If the trends from Week 1 continue into the rest of the season, Gurley will have a hard time replicating the success of years past. He has finished as the overall RB1 in fantasy football in back-to-back seasons, but he won't reach that level without being more involved in the passing game and the red zone.

While Gurley likely won't reclaim his status as the best player in fantasy, Week 1 proved he's still an explosive threat with the ball in his hands, and can be confidently fired up as a low-end RB1 going forward. Even so, Gurley's injured knee can flare up at any moment, so if you own him, make sure to pick up Brown, who has clearly established himself at the No. 2 back in Los Angeles.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.