Many fantasy owners will look at the scoreboard today and smile when they see their team in the lead, thanks in large part to a nice day from Todd Gurley.
He was in the top six running backs heading into Monday night after a solid fantasy day — 20.6-point day in points-per-reception leagues. But let’s take a step back and look at the actual numbers behind that pleasant fantasy outcome.
He had five catches for 56 yards. This is nice, a good sign. We’re happy so far. He gets a bright, shiny checkmark.
On the ground, he scored a rushing touchdown. Great, we’re not complaining. We like our fantasy players to score touchdowns, but we also know TD production is volatile. Gurley had a seven-week stretch last season when he scored just one total TD. But he scored one Sunday, so we’re happy. Not worthy of a checkmark, but it does get an approving nod.
And then we look at his rushing totals. Sunday, against a porous Colts defense, he ran 19 times for 40 yards. … Wait … is that 40? Like forty? With a four and a zero? There’s no “one” missing in front of that? That “4” shouldn’t be a “9” or something?
Sadly, no, it is not a misprint. An impossibly disappointing 40 yards on 19 carries against an awful defense. That is 2.1 yards per carry — worse than the 3.2 he averaged last season. And let us remind you, Gurley’s fantasy season last year was among, if not the most, disappointing fantasy seasons that did not involve an injury in the history of disappointing fantasy seasons that did not involve an injury.
This blight in the boxscore obscures that approving nod we gave for the TD. It erases the checkmark he got in the passing game. What does this kind of ground-game inefficiency out of an early-round draft pick deserve? It gets something more severe than a scolding glare. A big red X on his stat sheet does not suffice. Forget any warnings, discard patience, do not pass “Go,” just send him straight to the trading block.
Right now, today, he has some projected value. There are fantasy owners out there who still expect a rebound to something closer to his 2015 rookie season. Some will think Gurley’s Week 1 numbers support this. Find that person in your league. Frame an offer in a manner that doesn’t reveal your primary intention to unload Gurley, otherwise the trade partner could get skittish.
Find that overly optimistic owner, sucker them in, and get Gurley off your roster.
Carson Wentz QB, Eagles
This isn’t about his numbers, though he was the third-best fantasy QB in Week 1 heading into Monday. It is more about how he looked. And he looked great. Drop Eli Manning, Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer, etc., for him.
Cooper Kupp WR, Rams
We’re not as bullish on Kupp as some, but obviously he doesn’t need to be on the waiver wire. And what if … gasp! … QB Jared Goff isn’t terrible? Is that even possible?
Kenny Golladay WR, Lions
Stepped right into the Anquan Boldin role (two TDs). But temper expectations. Expect Detroit receiving TDs to get more evenly distributed over the long haul.
Corey Davis WR, Titans
Led the team in targets (10) and made a couple of impressive catches on his way to 6-for-69. Acceptable but not incredible numbers. Don’t worry, this guy is going to be the real deal.
Kerwynn Williams RB, Cardinals
There is no replacing David Johnson. Expect entire offense to nose dive. But who would you rather pick up? Buck Allen?
Sweat It Out
Eddie Lacy RB, Seahawks
Five carries for three yards … dramatically outperformed by rookie Chris Carson … with Thomas Rawls out …in Lacy’s first game against his former team. Locate your site’s “drop” button. Use it.
Christian McCaffrey RB, Panthers
Got a much larger chunk of action than expected, but posted just moderate numbers (85 total yards, five catches). Expect volume to decline — Panthers were way ahead and virtually ignored Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen.
Alex Smith QB, Chiefs
That was some great game he had Thursday. But he has an 11-year track record that shows this was an aberration.
Jesse James TE, Steelers
Has upside in third year, but not ready to drop, say, Cameron Brate for him.