Cam Akers 2021 Fantasy Football Profile
Despite a modest start, Los Angeles Rams rookie running back Cam Akers emerged as a workhorse down the stretch in 2020.
Making his NFL debut against the Dallas Cowboys with 15 touches, Akers exited early -- after three touches -- with a rib injury sustained against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2. That rib injury kept him out of Week 3 and 4 as well. From Weeks 5 to 12, he never exceeded 10 touches.
In that Week 12 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, however, Akers was clearly the team's most productive back as he carried the ball nine times for 84 yards and a touchdown. After that point, he became the clear lead back.
"Probably about midseason, that's when I started to get a good grasp on the run concepts, what the coaches wanted," Akers said after the season (per ESPN). "I just kind of settled in, played football and it showed."
Even though he missed Week 16, only four running backs had more touches than Akers (94) from Weeks 13 to 17.
In the playoffs, Akers handled heavy workloads as well. In their playoff win over the Seattle Seahawks, Akers handled a massive 30 touches -- 28 carries and two receptions -- and he racked up a total of 272 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns on 49 touches over both playoff appearances.
Over his final six games including the playoffs, Akers had no fewer than 16 touches and averaged 23.8 during that span. While Darrell Henderson was sidelined for a few of those games with a high-ankle sprain, Akers handled 86.66% of the team's running back touches during those games. The second-round rookie had 143 touches; the duo of Henderson and Malcolm Brown had 30.
Malcolm Brown is a free agent heading into 2021 and the franchise is "unlikely to bring [him] back," per The Athletic's Jordan Rodrigue.
Regardless of whether Brown is re-signed or not, Akers has established himself as the clear lead back and should push for 300 touches over the course of a full season.
L.A.'s offensive line was one of the best in the NFL last season. Per PFF end-of-season offensive line rankings, only the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers were better in 2020. Center Austin Blythe is scheduled to become a free agent in 2021.
Trading Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford provides an upgrade to the overall offense. That should help allow the team to sustain more drives and create more potential scoring opportunities for Akers.
Back in 2017 and 2018, we've seen with Todd Gurley how productive a running back could be in this offense when it's firing on all cylinders. In those two seasons, (a healthy) Gurley finished the year as fantasy's RB1 and racked up a total of 3,924 yards and 40 touchdowns.
While it may be unreasonable to expect Akers to be fantasy's top scorer in 2021, it's certainly fair to say there is some profit potential from his current third-round average draft position (ADP). That ADP will certainly rise leading up to fantasy drafts this summer, but I wouldn't be surprised if we are talking about Akers as a first-round running back in 2022 due to a strong performance in 2021.
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