A few different titles were bounced around for this piece: “Will The Real Todd Gurley Please Stand Up,”T “You Play Ball Like a Gurley,” “Gurley Just Wants to Have Fun,” etc. The chosen title (as seen above) seemed to fit best. Gurley has been quite the enigma in his brief time in the NFL. Check out his stats below:

  • 2015 – 13 games, 229 rush attempts, 1,106 rushing yards, 21 catches for 188 yards and 10 total TD’s.
  • 2016 – 16 games, 278 rush attempts, 885 rushing yards, 43 receptions for 327 yards and 6 total TD’s

Hot take alert! Gurley was a bust last year. You probably haven’t read that anywhere else, so you heard it here first! Gurley was drafted in the 1st round of a majority of leagues last year and was expected to at least meet those same numbers… And to be honest, he kinda did.

To be fair to Gurley, he only had 82 less all-purpose yards in 2016 than 2015. Sure he played in 3 more games and produced less, but he compensated for the poor rushing numbers by adding a little more value in the passing game. No he wasn’t a RB1, but he finished as the 16th-ranked running back in PPR formats. Certainly he hurt owners more in standard leagues than PPR, but time to dig in further. In 2015, it was overall a down year for running backs when you take into account the total amount of injuries to star players as well as odd situations involving suspensions and players coming on strong to finish. Mark Ingram, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Le’Veon Bell, and Marshawn Lynch played less than 12 games in 2015. Charles, Bell, and Lynch played in less than 8 games. DeMarco Murray saw regression due to being mis-used in Chip Kelly’s offense. This led to DeAngelo Williams, Tim Hightower, Darren McFadden, Charcandrick West, and Jonathan Stewart finishing in the Top 10 running backs. Gurley was in the mix too with the numbers provided above. 2015 was just a weird season.

Now 2016 came and went. No doubt about it, he regressed. His ranking dropped from a Top 5 running back to just a RB2. But 2016 also saw a surprisingly low number of injuries at the running back position. Nowhere to be found in the Top 10 were the running backs listed above that finished so high in 2015. 2015 late-bloomer David Johnson finished towards the top as did Ezekiel Elliott, Le’Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray, and Devonta Freeman. Those are names you can expect towards the top of the leader board each year and they all had a better year than Gurley.

With that said, the numbers were crunched by looking at his game-by-game performances from 2015 and 2016 and his total fantasy points were calculated below:

2015 Standard – 179 total points in 13 games

2015 PPR – 199 total points in 13 games

2016 Standard – 143 total points in 16 games

2016 PPR – 185 total points in 16 games

Certainly the 8.9 points per game in standard formats in 2016 was a big drop off from the 13.7 points per game in 2015. The 11.6 points per game in PPR in 2016 aren’t great either as he averaged 15.3 in 2015. The drop off was real: less points in more games is no bueno.

Since Week 8 of 2015 Gurley has just 1 game over 100+ rushing yards. In that same time span he has 18 games with less than 70 rushing yards. The only reason his 2015 numbers were so great was because he had 4 great games from Week 4-7 in 2015 where he totaled 566 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. Gurley has played in 29 career games. In that particular four-game stretch he collected 28.4% of the total amount of rushing yards in his young career.

Now there’s still reason for optimism. He’s still very young. And despite the serious knee injury he suffered to end his college career, he’s stayed mostly healthy since missing the first two games of 2015. The offensive line has improved slightly, but don’t jump to conclusions that it’s much better. They dumped Greg Robinson and added two guys over the age of 30 (Andrew Whitworth and John Sullivan). 

The biggest reason to feel better about Gurley is that he saw a healthy increase in receptions and Sean McVay is excited to get him more involved in the passing attack, which will save his fantasy value. Both McVay and Gurley have expressed their excitement over a new offense that could make some noise in 2017. But that requires Jared Goff to make great improvements and they won’t be able to get the air game going unless they can establish the run.

As questions still swirl around Gurley heading in to 2017, he still holds an ADP putting him firmly in the 2nd-3rd rounds of mock drafts. There’s the notion that Gurley will “bounce back” which somewhat explains the ADP. Considering how he’s performed since midway through 2015, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to suggest that his early explosion could be a statistical outlier. For Gurley to get back to the breakout star player he was early in 2015 the whole team needs to be better and they’ll need to put better players around him. Currently defenses game plan for Gurley and there’s no reason to expect said game planning will change.