NFL Free Agency Fantasy Fallout: Falcons sign Todd Gurley, but can he still produce prime value?
The Falcons didn't waste any time signing Todd Gurley. Here's what it means for Fantasy in that offense.
That didn't take very long. Less than 24 hours after the Rams announced they were cutting Todd Gurley, the Falcons announced they were signing the 25-year-old back. Now we get to find out what he has left in the tank.
Gurley's workload and efficiency tanked in 2019, with his yards per carry falling to 3.8 and his yards per target falling to a career worst 4.2. His Fantasy production was saved by the fact that he scored 14 times in 15 games, but that's generally not a profile we want to trust in Fantasy.
What we don't know is how much of Gurley's inefficiency was injury related and how much was the fault of the Rams offensive line. As a team, the Rams only averaged 3.7 yards per carry. We should find the answer to that in 2020 because the Falcons have both a more explosive passing game and a better offensive line.
Another advantage to playing in Atlanta should be work in the passing game. Devonta Freeman saw 70 targets in 14 games in 2019 compared to just 49 for Gurley last year. I think Freeman's workload is actually a pretty good place to start for a Gurley projection.
My initial Gurley projection has him at 215 carries and 75 targets. That's very close to Freeman's 2019 16-game pace. What's more challenging is projecting Gurley's efficiency. I'm splitting the difference between his career efficiency and his 2019 dropoff to put him at 4 yards per carry and 7.5 yards per reception with a 68% catch rate. Where you have to expect a major drop off is in touchdowns. Gurley has averaged 19 scores per year over the past three years, while Dirk Koetter's running backs haven't scored more than 14 times in the past three seasons.
Even severely regressing Gurley's touchdown production, I come up with 9.8 over a 16 game season. That's enough to make him my No. 17 running back in PPR. I understand if you don't want to draft him that high because of his risk, but just know that I've projected him low enough that he still has upside at this cost.
Here are the rest of my updated Falcons projections for 2020 as of March 20:
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