Fantasy football preview: RB Cam Akers, Rams

Fantasy football preview: RB Cam Akers, Rams

Fantasy football player analysis tips and advice

Fantasy football preview: RB Cam Akers, Rams


There are players that those who fashion themselves fantasy football experts fawn over in an attempt to be ahead of the curve and proclaim the anointing of the “next big thing”. Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers has been the bane of those “smartest guy in the room” types. A second-round pick in 2020, Akers was projected to checker-jump Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson in short order. It didn’t happen.

Although Akers led the Rams in rushing attempts (145) as a rookie, it was a three-man show – Henderson had 138 carries and Brown had 101. What Sean McVay has always envisioned in his offense is one back to carry the workload with backups riding the pine. He wanted that player to be Akers, but it didn’t happen after going down early in Week 2 and missing the next three games. As is the journey of a rookie in the NFL, guys who have proved themselves get precedence if a newcomer can’t go, and veterans don’t give up their spot without a fight.

After three months in part-time purgatory, at the end of the season, the Rams dedicated themselves to letting Akers be the main man. In the last four games he played in the regular season, he had 86 carries and built fantasy steam again. In L.A.’s two playoff games, he had 46 carries – the other Rams running backs combined had nine.

Heading into 2021 Akers was again being proclaimed as a RB1 messiah by the touts, capable of 1,500 yards and a dozen touchdowns.

That second endorsement crashed and burned when Akers suffered a torn Achilles shortly before training camp. It’s an injury typically has a timetable for return of one year for those who make it back. Akers came back to play briefly in Week 18 and had 67 carries in the Rams’ four-game Super Bowl run. Sony Michel was next with just 26 carries, and he’s no longer on the roster.

Despite spotty regular season production, when the Rams season has been on the line, Akers has been the only option used.

So here we go again. Third time’s the charm, right? Ideally, Akers will be the running back McVay envisioned two years ago and pile up carries with the league leaders. Henderson remains, which gives the Rams the security of having a consistent (albeit not spectacular) Plan B in place in the event Akers struggles, but the clear intention is that Akers will shoulder the running load when healthy, even though he isn’t much of a receiver.

Fantasy football outlook

There is where the rub lies. In two seasons (33 games), Akers has only played 14 of them and hasn’t moved the needle in the fantasy football realm. Many of those who took Akers in 2020 didn’t want him in 2021. Those who were burned last year don’t want him now. Yet, he has a high ranking without proving himself worthy of the distinction.

Due to system designs, opportunity arguably matters more at running back than any other position. The potential to be a go-to guy – the Rams will never have an RB-by-committee again if they can avoid it – makes Akers a mid-RB2 candidate. Eventually, the Akers takers will be the smartest owners in the room.


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