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Fantasy Football: Start or Sit Todd Gurley in Week 16?


December 22, 2016

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If you’ve made it this far after using your first-round fantasy football pick on Todd Gurley, well congrats to you. You’re an elite managerial talent who has overcome a complete fantasy dud in Gurley. The second-year player was a consensus first in nearly all drafts and has done nothing to live up to that stock. Only injuries to other first rounders have shielded Gurley from more criticism. After all, he’s still playing. The only problem with him playing is we have to swallow a lot of bad performances; at least Jamaal Charles had the good decency to not play and get our hopes up.

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After lighting the league on fire last year, Gurley lit many of his fantasy owners’ teams on fire. He has topped four yards per carry in a game just once this year. Once! His longest rush of the season is 24 yards, which is nearly one-third the length of his longest run last year, and is surpassed by Johnny Holton (a wide receiver), Colin Kaepernick (a quarterback), Jon Ryan (a punter) and Andy Janovich (a fullback), who all have runs longer than 24 yards on the year. He’s been a massive bust, but luckily for those fantasy owners who were able to withstand his terrible season, he’s arrived at the oasis: the godawful 49ers run defense in your championship week.

There are so many ways to chop up how terrible the 49ers’ rush defense is. It’s the worst in the league. It’s the worst in 49ers’ franchise history. They give up nearly 3.5 points per game more than the #2 fantasy rushing defense in the league, and nearly ten points per game more than the #10 team. They’ve allowed 17 double-digit fantasy point games this season (in 13 games). Of those 17, nine of them have gotten more than twenty fantasy points. That’s quarterback scoring! And they’re getting worse. Their inside linebackers have lost: NaVorro Bowman, Gerald Hodges, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Nick Bellore and Shayne Skov. They lost thumper Eric Reid and space eater, Arik Armstead. That run defense has completely fallen apart… and they were pretty bad, to begin with.

The Rams have been a huge mess offensively this season, but Jared Goff has experience defeating college defenses, and the 49ers resemble more of a college defense than an NFL defense these days in terms of talent level. They have no pass rush to speak of and their meager talent is injured. They won’t be able to put up much resistance against Gurley, who has top-five upside this week in a plus matchup. Get him in your lineups for your finals.

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