Gurley put a bitterly disap-pointing 2016 season in the rearview mirror with a tour-de-force performance in 2017. He led all running backs in fantasy scoring with 319.3 points, finishing 62.7 points ahead of second-place Le’Veon Bell. It was the third-highest fantasy point total by a running back over the last 10 years, behind only Chris Johnson in 2009 and David Johnson in 2016. Gurley put teams on his back in the fantasy playoffs, amassing 180 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns against the Seahawks in Week 15, then piling up 276 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns against the Titans in Week 16. Gurley finished second in rushing behind league leader Kareem Hunt and was second in receiving yardage among running backs, trailing only Alvin Kamara. Involvement in the passing game was the key to Gurley’s resurgence. After failing to catch a TD pass in his first two seasons with the Rams, he had six TD catches last year, and he more than doubled his receiving yardage from the year before. It appears that we can trust second-year Rams head coach Sean McVay to maximize his star running back’s abilities, which wasn’t the case two years ago with Jeff Fisher. And the Rams have gone from having one of the worst offensive lines in the league to one that graded out third in Football Outsiders’ run-blocking metrics last season.
It’s become clear that Gurley’s subpar 2016 season was system related, not player related. Perhaps the only concern is how Gurley will hold up after a season in which he averaged 22.9 touches per game.
Gurley should once again thrive in a system that maximizes his elite talents. We won’t think less of you if you use the No. 1 pick in a redraft league on Le’Veon Bell, but Gurley would be our choice.