Rams running back Cam Akers is a popular breakout candidate. That's not surprising after coach Sean McVay said this offseason that he views Akers as "an every-down back" and "a special player." Akers didn't rate highly in Pro Football Focus' elusiveness metric (37th out of 63 qualifiers) nor in yards after contact per attempt (2.84, 34th out of 63), and he also struggled in short-yardage conversions (50% success rate over 26 tries including 1 of 4 on goal-to-go plays). But what he did do was produce good numbers in a lead back role late in the year after he got over a rib injury. His final six games, playoffs included, saw him score three times, run for 561 yards on 132 carries and catch 11 passes for 147 more yards. That makes for a 17-game pace of just over 2,000 total yards. Whether or not he can play 17 games remains to be seen, but the Rams seem committed to him after giving Akers at least 15 carries in each of those final six games -- and over 20 carries in four. A challenging schedule notwithstanding, people will draft Akers with the idea he'll have a shot at over 300 touches in an improved Rams offense. That'll make him an easy pick between 12th and 18th overall in just about every league.
The Rams placed Akers (Achilles) on the active/non-football injury list Wednesday, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic reports. Akers is a little more than a week removed from suffering a torn Achilles' tendon, which typically would give a player no shot to return this season due to it occurring so close to Week 1. However, the Rams have yet to rule him out for the 2021 campaign, per Kevin Modesti of the Los Angeles Daily News, as the team continues to evaluate the injury. For the time being, the Rams will rely on a backfield composed of Darrell Henderson (undisclosed), Xavier Jones, Jake Funk, Raymond Calais and Otis Anderson.
The Rams haven't officially ruled Akers out for the season, but tests confirm he suffered a torn Achilles, Kevin Modesti of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The injury typically requires surgery and then a recovery timeline of at least eight months, but Akers will gather more information before making anything official. Adam Schefter of ESPN and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network both report the 2020 second-round pick is expected to miss the entire 2021 season, leaving Darrell Henderson as the presumed leader of a thin Rams backfield. Henderson was effective as the lead runner in a committee during the first half of last season, before injuries and Akers' strong play led to a diminished role down the stretch. Henderson might even get a look in a three-down role this year, considering the backfield alternatives on the roster are Xavier Jones, Jake Funk, Raymond Calais and Otis Anderson. The team lost Malcolm Brown to Miami in free agency and hasn't signed a veteran replacement -- at least, not yet.
Akers suffered a torn Achilles while training recently, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports. Following a strong finish to his rookie campaign, the 2020 second-round pick appeared ready for a starring role in the Los Angeles backfield. Instead, he'll begin a lengthy rehab process, hoping to return to practice next spring/summer. With Akers out for the season, the Rams are left with Darrell Henderson, Xavier Jones, Raymond Calais, Otis Anderson and Jake Funk in the backfield. They'll likely add a running back (or two) via free agency or trade in the coming days.
Akers said he understands the playbook and blocking schemes better heading into his second season, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN reports. Being more comfortable heading into Year 2 only strengthens the case for Akers. He's projected to be the primary ball carrier for Los Angeles and finished the 2020 season with 645 rushing yards, 147 receiving yards and four touchdowns through the final seven games of the campaign, including the postseason. The upgrade of having Matthew Stafford under center should also help the entire offense. Akers' numbers could even take a slight hit from the noted seven-game stretch and he'd still be a solid fantasy contributor. Of course, there's also the possibility that's just his floor.
Akers rushed the ball 18 times for 90 yards and a touchdown in the Rams' divisional-round loss to the Packers on Saturday. He added one reception for six yards. Akers' longest rush of the day went for 13 yards, though he managed to gain five or more yards on nine of his carries. He also converted the Rams' second touchdown of the contest, scoring from seven yards away on a direct snap. Though it took much of his rookie campaign, Akers established himself as the Rams' lead back by commanding at least 15 carries in each of his final six games -- dating back to the regular season. His role should only become more secure in 2021, as Malcolm Brown is set to hit free agency.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/26||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||12.30|
|6||10/17||@New York Giants||17||17.50|
|10||11/15||@San Francisco 49ers||7||14.75|
|12||11/28||@Green Bay Packers||27||20.33|
|18||01/09||San Francisco 49ers||7||14.75|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||145||625||2||11||123||1||90|