Fantasy Alert: Rams' Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown Split Up in Air

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 13: Darrell Henderson #27 of the Los Angeles Rams runs the ball against the San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 13, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. San Francisco won 20-7. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
John McCoy/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay still isn't prepared to tip his hand as to the team's plan to fill the void left by Todd Gurley in the backfield. 

"We feel we've got three really good backs," McVay said, per ESPN's Lindsey Thiry. "What does that mean in terms of the distribution of carries? I think that's to be determined based on how things play themselves out and when we get a chance to actually compete in practice and in those live opportunities."

Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson are back from last year's squad, while the Rams used a second-round pick on Florida State running back Cam Akers.

McVay has little incentive to play favorites at this stage of the offseason, but his comments were almost certainly made in earnest.

Brown ran for 255 yards and five touchdowns, while Henderson had 147 rushing yards. Their yards per carry (3.7 for Brown and 3.8 for Henderson) were nearly identical as well.

Perhaps Akers will get the early edge based on his draft position. He ran for 2,875 yards and 27 touchdowns over three years at Florida State.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented Akers from working out with his new team or meeting his teammates and coaches, however.

Whereas Gurley was the unquestioned No. 1 ball-carrier, his departure could signal the Rams' shift to a more balanced ground attack. McVay signaled that the team views variety as an asset:

"What we wanted to do was get a group that we felt really good about. This enables us to say, 'We're not necessarily committed to any approach, it's a feel for the flow of the game.' But you'd like everybody to create a role for themselves, and we'll see what ends up happening then."

The San Francisco 49ers averaged the second-most rushing yards (144.1) in the NFL in 2019, and they did so largely by spreading the wealth. Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman all ran for at least 500 yards, and none eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark.

The Niners reached the Super Bowl and finished seventh in offensive efficiency, up from 27th in 2018, per Football Outsiders. Teams without an elite running back might look to emulate their strategy.

The Rams could be one of those teams, so fantasy football owners should monitor the situation accordingly.