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Dynasty & Redraft: RB Cam Akers, Rams


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There’s always one in every player thread 🤦‍♂️

Brown is the guy who is impressing me so far.

How you don’t start Akers is beyond me.  A completely fresh lead RB in the playoffs is FF Gold.

Cam Akers 'really exciting' in Rams' offense

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Los Angeles Rams second-round rookie running back Cam Akers received praised from new offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell. 

WHAT IT MEANS:

“You really saw the amount of personal grit and determination,” O’Connell said of Akers’ time at Florida State. “He was running against loaded looks … and he was able to create a lot on his own. You see the upside — I think it was a great running back draft, there was a lot of depth there across the board — but for us, and for me personally with Cam, just watching and thinking about where he could possibly get to and maximized in our offense, it’s really exciting.” Akers does have a steeper learning curve due to COVID-19 restrictions, but he's fully expected to take over as the Rams' lead back before the end of the season. Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown, conversely, will likely see their respective roles diminish as the season progresses. 

numberFire's models project Akers for 156.9 carries, 629.4 rushing yards, 27.6 receptions (38.6 targets), 209.8 receiving yards, and 6.9 touchdowns. He's the RB34 in our preseason fantasy rankings. 

Source: Jourdan Rodrigue, The Athletic

 

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“I think it’ll just naturally work itself out," McVay continued. "I think if you look at that success (San Francisco) had last year with that running back-by-committee approach...what I thought Kyle (Shanahan) and their players did a great job of is, ‘Hey, we’re going to have an open-mind approach, we’re going to be committed to trying to have some balance and then we’ll go with the hot hand or whoever really expresses himself as deserving of the carries. We’ve got four backs that we feel like are all NFL-legitimate starting-caliber backs and not feeling like you’ve got to force carries or touches to any of them. Just open mind and see how these guys do.” 

 

Sean McVay immediately pointed to the 2019 49ers when asked how the Rams’ RB approach will play out.

He seems to like how Shanahan managed his committee of backs https://t.co/0bRdfaevlJ

— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) July 21, 2020

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Was sky-high on Akers.  Thought he'd grab hold of the job and take off and be a 2nd or 3rd round guy for next season.  

I think the committee thing makes too much sense for the Rams with Akers and Henderson.  Henderson is probably a steal in the short term until his ADP corrects.  

Maybe it's just coach speak, but man it makes sense after watching the bell-cow break down.  

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I don't get it

 

Im not as high on Akers as others here. I think he is clear number 5 out of the rookie RBs

But why tf do you use your first draft pick on an RB a year after using very good draft capital on one when your OL needs help badly and defense is suffering cap casualties unless you plan on making that guy your workhorse?

Rams are so incompetent. Took such a solid foundation and wasted it

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34 minutes ago, KChusker said:

I don't get it

Nor I. I'm not high on Akers either.

All McVay did though was pretty much announce that it's a competition to see who gets those 12-15 carries per game.  

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Rams RB Cam Akers could get an "early opportunity to demonstrate his ability" in the team's crowded backfield, per ESPN's Lindsey Thiry.

It seems like an educated guess, but that's all we'll have in August as teams prepare for Week 1 without the preseason. While Darrell Henderson flashed in rare playing time last season, he "still must prove he is a starting-caliber back," according to Thiry. It will require at least some confidence in Akers to draft him in the sixth round (RB30 off the draft board). Going in the tenth round, Henderson remains a reasonably hedge play on the LA backfield. 

RELATED: 

Darrell Henderson

SOURCE: ESPN

Aug 13, 2020, 12:45 PM ET

 

 

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NFL Beat Writers @32BeatWriters

“He can really run any scheme, he can take a handoff from the off-set gun or if he's in the dot," McVay said of Cam Akers. "That's what you just liked about him, was the body of work and the versatility. The ability to create plays on his own."

https://twitter.com/32beatwriters/status/1295869736992083968?s=21

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Running back battle one of the most intriguing Rams training camp storylines

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"Whatever role that these guys have us playing," running back Malcolm Brown said, "I know that all of us will buy into it. Got a lot of different versatile guys. We all have our own skill sets."

A sixth-year pro, Brown is ready to step up after spending the past five seasons as Gurley's backup. He will likely share the load with Darrell Henderson Jr. and Akers after the Rams recently invested early draft picks in both players. The Rams selected Henderson with a third-round pick in 2019 and took Akers in the second round in April.

"The goal when we made those two picks over the last few years was to add explosiveness, add vision, add weapons that can run, block and catch out of the backfield," Rams general manager Les Snead said.

The trio will be tasked with turning around a rushing attack that experienced a sharp decline in production last season. In McVay's first two seasons as coach, the Rams finished eighth (2017) and third (2018) in rushing but fell to 20th in 2019.

The Rams are hopeful Brown, Henderson and Akers -- along with a more experienced offensive line -- will provide a boost.

Brown, who signed with the Rams in 2015 as an undrafted free agent, has rushed for 769 yards and six touchdowns in five seasons. Last season, he rushed for a career-high 255 yards and a career-best five touchdowns.

As he enters the final season of his contract, Brown is optimistic about earning an increased role but also has expressed a willingness to help his younger teammates develop.

"I know myself and my mind," said Brown, who turned 27 in May. "What I have for myself in that running back room, being the oldest guy, is to do my best to bring these young guys along."

Henderson flashed as a rookie in minimal opportunities. In a Week 6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, he rushed for 36 yards in consecutive carries. But some mystery remains about the former Memphis standout and the kind of role he can carve for himself.

"The opportunity is there, and everybody gets an opportunity now, just need to capitalize on your opportunity," said the 5-foot-8, 208-pound Henderson. "I think we all are gonna have a role, so just got to be prepared for our roles."

RBBC on a team with a bad offensive line that was in the bottom 7 for team rushing yards.

Akers is talented, but the situation is brutal.

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11 hours ago, Faust said:

Running back battle one of the most intriguing Rams training camp storylines

Excerpt:

RBBC on a team with a bad offensive line that was in the bottom 7 for team rushing yards.

Akers is talented, but the situation is brutal.

The Rams O-Line was in shambles for a majority of 2019 for sure, but the group found their rhythm later in the season and finished on a high note. A multitude of injuries resulted in constant shuffling around and the pressing of two rookies into early action. While this proved for an uneven 2019 the game experience can only have a positive effect in preparation for 2020. The front office's "inaction" in addressing the line via draft/free agency speaks volumes in their belief that this can be a solid unit for the upcoming year - they are being patient with their young Oline (Old Man Whitwoth aside) and not knee jerking into rash decisions that could ultimately have adverse outcomes.

Then there's this, if you're into deeper stats: https://www.nfl.com/news/ten-best-performing-nfl-o-lines-by-expected-rushing-yards.

"The league average in xYPC was 4.18 last season, so the Rams' mark of 4.31 is nothing to scoff at. Yet, the Rams weren't able to break 4 yards per carry with Gurley (and friends) in the backfield."

While I have a hard time believing this Oline was Top 10 in anything last year it does give credence to the fact that the rushing woes did not lie entirely with the line. A one legged Gurley was still able to total 1000 yards combined and 14 TDs in 15 games behind last years line, so I have a lot of belief in Cam's ability to be a highly productive back behind a decisively improved line in 2020.

 

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3 hours ago, kneeshooter said:

The Rams O-Line was in shambles for a majority of 2019 for sure, but the group found their rhythm later in the season and finished on a high note. A multitude of injuries resulted in constant shuffling around and the pressing of two rookies into early action. While this proved for an uneven 2019 the game experience can only have a positive effect in preparation for 2020. The front office's "inaction" in addressing the line via draft/free agency speaks volumes in their belief that this can be a solid unit for the upcoming year - they are being patient with their young Oline (Old Man Whitwoth aside) and not knee jerking into rash decisions that could ultimately have adverse outcomes.

Then there's this, if you're into deeper stats: https://www.nfl.com/news/ten-best-performing-nfl-o-lines-by-expected-rushing-yards.

"The league average in xYPC was 4.18 last season, so the Rams' mark of 4.31 is nothing to scoff at. Yet, the Rams weren't able to break 4 yards per carry with Gurley (and friends) in the backfield."

While I have a hard time believing this Oline was Top 10 in anything last year it does give credence to the fact that the rushing woes did not lie entirely with the line. A one legged Gurley was still able to total 1000 yards combined and 14 TDs in 15 games behind last years line, so I have a lot of belief in Cam's ability to be a highly productive back behind a decisively improved line in 2020.

 

Good post. 

Akers went to great situation in my opinion. McVay is an excellent playcaller, and the Rams are very run heavy around the GL. After CEH, I actually think Akers is in the best spot among rookie RB's, for instant production.

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9 minutes ago, travdogg said:

Good post. 

Akers went to great situation in my opinion. McVay is an excellent playcaller, and the Rams are very run heavy around the GL. After CEH, I actually think Akers is in the best spot among rookie RB's, for instant production.

I agree. Brown and Henderson just aren't all that much to get past for full-time work. Neither guy could outplay Gurley last year, and he was gimpy all year. They all averaged about 3.9 yards per carry. I think Akers can give instant production in that backfield.

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15 hours ago, Faust said:

Running back battle one of the most intriguing Rams training camp storylines

Excerpt:

RBBC on a team with a bad offensive line that was in the bottom 7 for team rushing yards.

Akers is talented, but the situation is brutal.

19, 21, 14 - Gurley's TD totals the last three years. Brown added 5 last year also. The RB's in this offense score a lot of TD's. 

And part of the reason they were so bad rushing the ball last year is Gurley was on one leg, and Brown and Henderson are average at best. A fresh, studly RB in this offense could be absolutely huge.

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NFL Beat Writers @32BeatWriters

“Akers rotated between the ones and twos on Wednesday, much like he did Tuesday. The Rams’ running backs continue to work in committee, though it’s notable that Akers at least has the appearance of taking more snaps.”

Good info in here. #Rams

https://twitter.com/32beatwriters/status/1296590609508184065?s=21

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Cam Akers has been getting reps with the first-team offense.

Akers rotated in behind Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson. It’s good to see after he opened training camp with the second team. The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue notes the Rams are fast-tracking Akers because “they believe he’ll factor into their plans this season.” Akers could easily lead what looks like a three-back committee, but his Week 1 role is a question mark.

RELATED: 

Darrell Henderson

, Malcolm Brown

SOURCE: The Athletic

Aug 21, 2020, 7:32 PM ET

 

 

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Stu Jackson @StuJRams

Cam Akers with some nice contact balance for a 6-yard run, then John Johnson breaks up a pass intended for Higbee. Aaron Donald gets the sack on the next play.

https://twitter.com/stujrams/status/1297355779909926912?s=21

 

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Stu Jackson @StuJRams

Shouldn't come as much of a surprise – Per Pro Football Focus, 904 of Akers' 1,144 rushing yards (79 percent) at Florida State last season occurred after contact.

https://twitter.com/stujrams/status/1297358843509272576?s=21

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The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue believes Cam Akers will separate from Darrell Henderson in the second half of the season.

Assuming Henderson's hamstring is fine by Week 1, Rodrigue expects a "fairly even split" of touches between Akers and Henderson to begin the season with Malcolm Brown also in the mix "especially in short-yardage." It's the consensus projection in the fantasy community, but it's nice to see confirmation from a plugged-in beat reporter. Akers may begin the year only as a flex play, but there's RB2 upside if he can handle the transition from a poorly-blocked Florida State offensive line to a poorly-blocked Rams offensive line. The Rams need to replace Todd Gurley's pass-blocking reps, and Akers may be the best pass-protecting back on the roster despite being a rookie. In the end, Henderson's health just may be the biggest key to Akers' potential breakout.

SOURCE: The Athletic

Aug 25, 2020, 7:54 PM ET

 

 

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A scouting report on Rams running back situation

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Look, coaches value running backs that can pass protect in critical situations so the quarterback does not get killed, have a nose for the end zone and take care of the football.

Expect Brown to be on the field on third down and in red zone. Brown had a career-high five touchdowns last season on 15 red zone touches. Brown has one lost fumble on 197 carries. 

Akers could be a guy who is on the field when the Rams play up-tempo and things are simplified from a play-calling perspective, or the Rams want to exploit an individual matchup. You might also see Akers in the game on early downs when the McVay wants to pound the football.


 

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Cam Akers: “He’s a young rookie who is super-talented and very explosive. He’s got a ways to go from a knowledge standpoint, but I’ll tell you what, this guy comes to work every day and learns from his mistakes. Our defense has been tough to go against, and it’s going to be great working with him preparation-wise for the upcoming season. I’m really excited about his development, watching him learn and grow. And having a guy like Malcolm has been great for him to be around.”

 

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Should be sky rocketing in redraft.  

Henderson may not miss significant time, but the injury will give Akers the advantage in the battle for who starts and sees the most touches. 

I appreciate Malcom Brown.  I actually was more of a Brown truther than Henderson last year.  That said, they don't seem too intent on giving Brown the ball.  He's been with the team for 5 years.  He had his career high in rushing attempts at 69 last year.  Then they went out and drafted Akers.  Not to mention Henderson being drafted last year.  

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1 minute ago, Andy Dufresne said:

That is a bad article.

Where has he been going in a redraft? Thinking of reaching a bit and taking him in the late 4th...

I've only been doing FFPC best balls, but here's where he's gone in mine (but FFPC is pretty RB heavy in my experience, so this may be a tad earlier than other leagues/platforms):

  • 5.10
  • 6.04 (Superflex)
  • 7.02 (Superflex, happened in May)
  • 4.02 (Superflex, happened in May)
  • 4.07
  • 4.01
  • 5.01
  • 5.05
  • 4.07
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falcon @BirdmanRainH2O

Who has looked like the most consistent RB at camp so far

https://twitter.com/birdmanrainh2o/status/1301377135664197632?s=21
 

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Jourdan Rodrigue @JourdanRodrigue

Consistent? Malcom. Because he is at his apex. Cam is learning how to be a pro. You see how massive the potential is, tho.

https://twitter.com/jourdanrodrigue/status/1301377388463362048?s=21

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NFL Beat Writers @32BeatWriters

“Brown (RB Coach) said he prefers ‘to have a clear-cut guy’ to handle the bulk of the carries, but the competition will work itself out, even if it takes several weeks into the season. Akers and Brown are taking first-team reps, but it doesn’t mean things will stay that way”

https://twitter.com/32beatwriters/status/1301967407674728454?s=21

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