In The Blitz, RotoViz writers react to the latest news and help you place it within the context of our 2020 research and recommendations.
It was the perfect time for second-round rookie running back Cam Akers to cement his arrival as a fantasy force. The hype had been building for a few weeks as Akers had increased his production in each of his last four games. However, in the first game of the fantasy football playoffs, Akers took control of the Los Angeles Rams’ backfield with 31 touches and looked like a league winner.
Los Angeles Rams rookie running back Cam Akers has officially claimed the lead-back role for this team after a dominant performance in Week 14 against the New England Patriots on Thursday night. He finished the game with 29 carries for 171 yards — both career highs — and he also added two receptions for 23 yards. Unfortunately, he didn’t find his way into the end zone for a score, but the volume was there, which is what matters. Over the next few weeks during the fantasy playoffs, Akers has firmly entered the RB2 picture as the Rams’ primary ball-carrier over both Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown.
When Athleticism and Production Meet
The draft capital and landing spot were strong indicators of potential future success, but let’s take a quick peek at what the Rams saw that led them to invest high draft capital in a running back for the second consecutive year. A year after spending a third-round pick on Henderson, they went back to the running-back well and snagged Akers. His college production profile was strong, and he showed proficiency in pass-catching as well.
Akers also tested well at the combine. His unique blend of size (5 feet 10 inches, 217 pounds) and athleticism afforded him some exciting historical comps. Players like Marshawn Lynch, Joseph Addai, and Marlon Mack highlight a few of his closest counterparts. Both Dave Caban and Shawn Siegele noted Akers’ strong combine performance even if it took him most of this season to break free of LA’s running back committee. However, it appears as though Akers has solidified his role as the lead back for the foreseeable future.
Ascending Dynasty Asset
Before the 2020 season, Akers was often grouped with fellow rookie running backs Jonathan Taylor, J.K. Dobbins, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and D’Andre Swift as a mid-to-late first-round rookie pick. Of that group, Akers is the only one who had yet to post an RB1 week heading into Week 14. Heading into this weekend, Akers was behind Brown and Henderson in rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, total points, and the least efficient group by a decent margin.
Things could not have been any different on Thursday night. Akers garnered 32 opportunities, three of which were targets, and set the tone from the opening drive. Henderson was ineffective on his lone two carries, and Brown’s only involvement was a single target that he did not bring in. Looking ahead, Akers and his backfield mates have matchups against the New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks. If Week 14 is any indication, Akers can be started with full confidence moving forward. If you bought Akers mid-season after a disappointing start to the year, you’ve likely landed yourself a potential league-winning asset.