PFT 2019 storyline No. 17: How much does Todd Gurley have left?
A notorious running back who knows a thing or two about playing in the L.A. Coliseum showed that he doens’t know squat about fantasy football by suggesting that Todd Gurley is in the mix to be one of the top picks this year. Really, anyone who has been paying even the slightest bit of attention to the situation realizes that Gurley is hardly the no-brainer touchdowns-and-yardage machine that he previously was.
Gurley’s torn ACL from 2014 seems to have caught up with him, and the Rams’ decision to handle him with extreme care this offseason underscores the reality that the 2017 NFL offensive player of the year abruptly has shifted past the workhorse phase of his career.
Officially, Gurley’s knee swelled after the Week One win over the Raiders, quickly healed, but then became a problem later in the year, knocking him out of a couple of regular season games and keeping him from being in the postseason the dominant force he has been. Unofficially, Gurley’s knee bothered him all year. Which suggests that it quite possibly will be bothering him this year and every year for the remainder of his career, especially given the multiple reports and acknowledgements of arthritis in the knee.
The questions will hover over the entire season for the defending NFC champions, with constant questions posed to Gurley, coach Sean McVay, and others regarding the distribution of the workload and the status of the knee -- especially in light of the perception (reality) that the Rams concealed the condition for most of the 2018 regular season. The issue of Gurley’s bum knee could quickly become a sore point for him, especially if he indeed isn’t and can’t be the guy he recently was, and if the Rams begin considering whether they want to escape after 2019 the big-money contract they gave to Gurley last year.
Then there’s the impact of Gurley’s status on the rest of the offense. Unless former Memphis tailback Darrell Henderson can perform like Gurley has performed at his best, quarterback Jared Goff will have to do more to get the Rams back to where they were in 2018. Throw in the murmurs that the league has begun to catch up with McVay’s offense, and Gurley’s situation could spark a regression for the defending NFC champs.