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Disaster Recovery Week 14: Worried About Gurley?

Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds.

This isn't a place to find out why you should have benched a player for somebody on your bench. Disaster Recovery is to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about benching, and deciding if you should be panicking at all about their value moving forward.

This season we'll be covering one dud per week. There will be two major qualifiers: the player must have performed well below expectations without an injury, and the player must be considered a must-start in most formats.

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Rankings System

I'll also be implementing a new panic meter ranking system this year. It goes as follows:

  1. This week was a fluke. Don't panic!
  2. I still have full faith in this player, but there are some red flags. Be cautiously optimistic moving forward.
  3. There are genuine concerns here. Consider selling on name value, but don't panic too much unless you receive an offer you can't refuse.
  4. This player will not be the player you expected him to be. Regardless, his value may be too low to trade, and his ceiling is going to be better than anything you can get in return. Panic, but hold tight.
  5. Absolutely abandon ship. We're not coming back from this.

For what feels like the first time in ages, Todd Gurley has finally had a bad game. Let's talk about it.


Running From The Run

Todd Gurley's Week 14 stat-line: 11 rushes for 28 yards along with three receptions for 30 yards.

Todd Ain't God

Well, it's official: Todd Gurley isn't human. Gurley was completely bottled up on his limited touches against the Bears on Sunday Night Football. It was a defining moment for the Bears. They manhandled a Rams offense that many consider to be the NFL's finest. Maybe defense isn't dead after all?

Gurley's two best runs of the day went for twelve and nine yards respectively. Take those two runs away and he had nine rushes for seven yards. Gurley struggled to get anything going. He shares a small portion of the blame, but most falls on the shoulders of what was happening around him.

Where are the Touches?

It's hard to find a reason why the Rams decided to run Gurley just 11 times in what ended up being the worst game of Jared Goff's career. Sure, they were playing from behind, but the Bears never even had a double-digit lead. The defense was playing well enough to trust them to get the stops Los Angeles would need to win.

The truth is that Sean McVay loves throwing the football. He can't get enough of it. And for the most part this season, that hasn't been a problem. The Rams have shredded teams through the air, and Jared Goff was an early MVP candidate. They're going to continue to throw the ball a ton. This team works best when they can balance both the run and the pass.

That's what was so surprising about the Bears game. They didn't even attempt to have a balanced offense. In Goff's two other duds this season, the Rams were able to overcome his poor play and claw their way to victory thanks to Gurley. Against Denver and Detroit, the two games where Goff struggled most up until this week, Gurley had a combined 51 carries for 340 yards and two touchdowns. The Bears run defense is much better than those two teams, but the Rams really didn't give themselves a chance to get the run going. That's a slight concern.


Path to the Finals

The Matchups Ahead

If you survived Week 14 with Gurley's dud, congratulations. You must have a hell of a team around him. And if you can make it to Week 16, Gurley should lead you to the promised land. The Cardinals have been decimated by running backs all season long, and game flow should benefit Gurley greatly. He's going to eat in that game. 

This week's matchup against the Eagles is the only real concern. Gurley should be fine. McVay should give Gurley a ton of carries to make up for last week's bizarre gameplan. He should put up enough yards and touchdowns to lead you to the fantasy promised land.

But let's play devil's advocate for a second here. Jared Goff is coming off the worst game of this NFL career. He's coming off back-to-back poor performances. The Eagles secondary has been decimated by injuries this season. They don't have the bodies to keep up with the Rams passing attack. Dak Prescott just threw for 434 yards against them. Amari Cooper finally completed his transformation from Laquon Treadwell to Jerry Rice in this game. The Eagles simply have no answers in the secondary right now... the Rams should actually throw the ball a ton in this game, right? It's the perfect "get right" game for Goff. He should be able to pick apart this defense. Expect big games from Goff, Robert Woods, and Brandin Cooks. McVay loves his passing offense, and this is a chance to get at the level it belongs.

Panic Meter: 2/5

Please note that this meter is on the scale of "should I be worried that Todd Gurley won't do Todd Gurley things?" and not "should I consider benching Todd Gurley?"

The truth is that it shouldn't matter if the Rams throw the ball enough. Honestly, we should be hoping they do.

Gurley has been so dominant this season because he's the Rams go-to option in the red zone, and they are always in the red zone. He's scored 18 of his 19 touchdowns in the red zone. His yardage totals have been great, but the touchdowns are what made this such a memorable fantasy season. The Rams love giving him the ball in the red zone. If Goff is the one getting them that far, so be it. Gurley should be able to find plenty of scoring opportunities if the Rams passing game bounces back.

The small number on the panic meter is just incase the Rams don't bounce back in the passing game. Goff has played horribly for the past two weeks. The Rams need him to bounce back. I expect that he will.

What To Watch For

Just make sure the Rams offense looks competent again. They've been rocky since their historic game against the Chiefs a few weeks ago. This whole unit needs a bounce-back game.

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