You’re on the clock! Who do you pick? I will go through the first round and give my thoughts on who to take with the pick. This is based on a 12-team, PPR Fantasy Football World Championship (FFWC) format with one starting quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end and two flex spots.
On The Clock With Pick 1.01
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Gurley was on many championship teams last season. There was some hesitation to draft Gurley since he was coming off a bad sophomore season following a great rookie year. Everything broke right for the Rams and Gurley in 2017. After ranking last in the NFL with 224 points in 2016, the Rams scored the most points (478).
Gurley had 279 carries for 1,305 yards (4.7 yards per carry), 13 touchdowns and caught 64 of 87 targets for 788 yards and six touchdowns. Sean McVay took over as coach and Jared Goff developed in a big way. The entire offense is back with the exception of Sammy Watkins and he was replaced by Brandin Cooks, one of the best deep threats in the NFL. With Cooks, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, Gurley rarely sees eight men in the box. There’s also the possibility the Rams offense runs more plays in 2018 since the defense looks improved with the additions of Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib.
Gurley came off a torn ACL in college and exploded in his rookie season. Gurley was a bust in 2016 and one of the main reasons was the ineptitude of Jeff Fisher and a bad offensive line. Gurley is likely to have touchdown regression. Expecting 19 touchdowns, especially six receiving, is unlikely. That doesn’t mean Gurley won’t be worth a top pick. The volume will be there and even if the efficiency from last season drops off, Gurley is still in a good spot to provide high floor in a good offense. Gurley had 22.9 touches per game, which was fourth in the NFL.
On The Clock With Pick 1.02
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell can easily be the first pick. It is razor-thin close between him and Gurley. Bell was the highest scoring running back in PPR formats going into Week 15 last year before Gurley exploded for 370 yards rushing, three touchdowns and 13 receptions for 286 yards and three touchdowns to claim the top spot. With Bell, it’s almost like having another receiver on your team. Bell ran 33 routes per game over the last two seasons, which is more than Julio Jones (30.7).
Bell led the league with 321 carries and he sat Week 17. Bell had 106 targets, catching 85. Bell, who plans to sit out training camp like he did last year, had one of his least efficient seasons in his career with 1,291 yards for four yards per carry. He scored a total of 11 touchdowns to a tie a career high. As good as Bell has been, he surprisingly has never had double-digit rushing touchdowns in a season. The Steelers tend to throw more inside the 5-yard line. Bell had six attempts inside the 5 last season, while Gurley had 18.
The Steelers have never been shy about giving Bell heavy workloads. It won’t change this season as Bell will likely leave when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. The Cowboys did this in 2016 with DeMarco Murray, giving him 449 touches before letting him sign with the Eagles.
Bell is likely to be the running back with the most touches if he plays a full season in an excellent offense and volume is important in Fantasy. He led the NFL with 27.1 touches per game last season.
Next: Picks 3 and 4
Are you a Die-Hard Fantasy Football Player? CLICK HERE to Start Your Road to the 2018 Fantasy Football World Championships.