LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Practice for the Pro Bowl is divided into two fields. On one side is the AFC squad, while the NFC team goes through drills on the other side.
While the Pro Bowl doesn't have all the best players in the league in attendance -- and members of the Patriots and Eagles aren't here because of Super Bowl LII -- these are still many of the elite guys in the NFL. And bouncing around on the NFC practice field, wearing sunglasses and a bright smile, is the top Fantasy player from 2017.
He's also the projected No. 1 overall pick in 2018.
Todd Gurley was among the happiest players at the Pro Bowl practice Wednesday. He is enjoying the celebration of his performance from this past year, which has made him an NFL MVP candidate.
While Tom Brady will likely win the award, Fantasy players know Gurley was their hero. But Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who's clearly a little biased, said Gurley should be considered the best player in Fantasy and reality from this year's campaign.
"He has my vote," Goff said in an interview with CBS Sports. "He's awesome."
If there's a superlative better than awesome, Gurley was that and more. He finished the season with 313 Fantasy points in a standard league, which was the No. 1 non-quarterback.
Gurley also had the most Fantasy points for a non-quarterback since Chris Johnson had 328 in 2009. It was a remarkable year, and he impressed one of his peers at the Pro Bowl, who has a similar skill-set to Gurley.
"He had a great year," Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell told CBS Sports. "Todd is an explosive guy. I always knew Todd was going to be a good player when he was at Georgia. You watched him and could tell what type of player he was going to be. This year, he kind of splashed on the scene in the receiving game. He's a special player. I only expect him to get better as he gets older and gets more experienced."
What Gurley has to do now is prove this past season wasn't a fluke and that he deserves to be the No. 1 overall pick in all Fantasy leagues in 2018. Remember, we've been here before with him.
As a rookie in 2015, Gurley had a standout season with 229 carries for 1,106 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns and 32 catches for 258 yards. But he flopped in 2016 when many considered him the No. 1 overall pick that year.
He had 278 carries for 885 yards (3.2 yards per carry) and six touchdowns and 43 catches for 327 yards. The Rams were a mess that season, which was their first in Los Angeles, and Jeff Fisher was eventually fired.
Fisher being gone might have been the best thing for Gurley because new coach Sean McVay has made Gurley a star. The offensive line also improved, as well as Goff getting more experience, but Gurley said McVay was the biggest difference for his success.
McVay made Gurley a staple in the passing game, and he set career highs in receptions (64), receiving yards (788) and receiving touchdowns (six). Along with his rushing production of 279 carries for 1,305 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns, Gurley was a complete running back.
He doesn't expect a drop-off in his stats in 2018.
"There's always room for improvement," Gurley said. "We just have to keep getting better."
Fantasy owners should have confidence in Gurley heading into next season. With McVay and Goff, the offense appears to be in good hands, and the Rams should continue to upgrade the offensive line in the offseason.
And Bell said Gurley has the talent to be the No. 1 running back in the NFL. Now that he's tasted success, Bell said Gurley is playing like a star.
"He's one of my closer friends in the league," Bell said. "We talk over the course of the year, going back and forth. He has the personality. I know he works hard. I know he wants to be the best. He carries himself in that manner, and that's the first step toward being great."
Gurley has plenty of reason to smile. And Fantasy owners with the No. 1 overall pick next year should smile as well. You'll be happy to have Gurley on your team.