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Cam Akers Injury Impact in 2021 Fantasy Football

It was reported early Tuesday morning that Los Angeles Rams second-year running back, Cam Akers, tore his Achilles tendon while working out.  This is absolutely devastating news for the 22-year-old who was set for a massive role out of the backfield ahead of the 2021 season.  Akers will miss the entire season and the Rams, who report to training camp next week, will have to figure out a way to move on without him.

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Cam Akers to Miss Entire 2021 Season With Torn Achilles

Akers’ Late 2020 Breakout

After the sudden release of veteran running back, Todd Gurley, second-round draft pick Cam Akers was expected to make an immediate impact in the Rams’ offense.  Instead, Akers got off to a slow start, only carrying the ball 59 times before the month of December. He missed a few games with a rib injury suffered in Week 2.  Running back, Darrell Henderson, saw the bulk of the carries ahead of Akers.

However, from Week 13 on, Akers burst onto the scene carrying the ball 21, 29, 15, and 21 times to end the regular season. As the Rams’ lead back, he then made his playoff debut rushing 28 times for 131 yards and a touchdown. In the team’s Divisional Round loss to the Green Bay Packers the following week, Akers recorded 90 rushing yards and a score on 18 carries.  He averaged 113.1 scrimmage yards over Los Angeles’ final seven games of the 2020 season.

Before Akers’ injury, he was going off the board in 2021 fantasy football drafts as a top-12 RB, often selected in the second round. Behind him on the Rams’ depth chart are the aforementioned running back, Darrell Henderson, as well as younger backs, Xavier Jones, Raymond Calais, and 2021 7th Round rookie, Jake Funk.

The Rams’ 2021 Backfield Fantasy Football Outlook

Following the Akers injury, Henderson’s ADP is going to rise from a low-end, top-50 running back to just inside the top-20 range.  He’s likely off the board anywhere between the third and fifth rounds in fantasy football drafts.  At this time, he is the only Rams running back worth spending a fantasy football draft pick on in 2021.

Henderson was a top-20 fantasy football running back from Week 2 to Week 12 last season, following an early hamstring injury, and just before Akers’ Week 13 breakout.  The 2020 Rams backfield was a three-player committee, consisting of Henderson, Akers, and Malcolm Brown.  Only Henderson remains as a proven, capable option in this backfield.

However, the Rams will likely add a running back in the near future.  The possibilities range from familiar face, Todd Gurley, to other free agent veterans, such as Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, or Chris Thompson.  You can never count out the Rams to make a trade, either, and possibly bolster the backfield with hypothetical targets Melvin Gordon, James Robinson, or others.

Darrell Henderson is a high-floor RB2 who will see 15-20 touches per week, most of which will be carries.  The Rams finished as the 22nd scoring offense in 2020 after ranking 1st, 2nd, and 11th in 2017, 2018, and 2019 respectively.  It’s worth noting, however, that they were second in red zone rushing percentage and, with newly acquired quarterback, Matthew Stafford, expect improvement all around in 2021.

Henderson, as of now, is the lead back on a potentially great offense, but keep an eye on the Rams’ moves in the coming days or weeks.  If Henderson makes it through camp without any backfield competition, a breakout season could be coming.

For more Rankings and Analysis please check out our full 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

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