2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Cam Akers

by Mike LaPlant
Cam Akers Dynasty Football 2021

Welcome to the 2021 Dynasty Football Profile series. We are going to be rolling out a series of posts on players entering their second year in the NFL. I will kick things off by talking about Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers, who is currently ranked No. 16 overall in FantasyData's half-ppr Fantasy Football Rankings.

The 2020 NFL RB draft class made a huge splash in Fantasy as rookies. Akers, Jonathan Taylor, James Robinson, Antonio Gibson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, J.K. Dobbins, D'Andre Swift and even Zack Moss all had an impact in leagues.

It was a pretty exciting offseason if you are a Rams fan, starting with the trade for Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions.

Head Coach Sean McVay sure seems to think he has found himself the quarterback to take them to the promised land again, as Jared Goff did in 2019.

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2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Cam Akers

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Rookie Campaign

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In Week 1 Cam Akers looked like he would take the starting job eventually as he got 14 carries for 39 yards. It wasn't a very efficient day for him but he got the bulk of the carries and looked promising. Then Week 2 rolled around and Akers went down with a rib injury.

He would only see double-digit carries once more prior to Week 12 against the San Fransisco 49ers. He did get nine carries three other times during that stretch.

In Week 13 he had his best Fantasy day of the year with 21 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown. Then the next week, against the New England Patriots, he surpassed that carry total with 29 rushing attempts for 171 rushing yards - the most rushing yards by a rookie RB in the 2020 season, up until that point. Jonathan Taylor rushed for 253 yards and two touchdowns in Week 17 to end the regular season against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

To put it in perspective, Akers had a total of 156 touches as a rookie. He had 104 of those touches from Week 12 on. It looks like he will be the workhorse back for the future of the Rams.

Offseason Change of Scenery

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The Rams pushed all their chips to the middle of the table this offseason. Trading two first-round picks, a third-rounder, and Jared Goff – along with paying $24.7 million in dead money. It was a huge price to pay for a 33-year-old quarterback, but one that unequivocally made the Rams better.

A move that should benefit all Fantasy players in the Rams offense, including Cam Akers.

When D'Andre Swift had Stafford in Detroit he averaged 4.4 targets a game and finished with 57 on the year. Akers last year with Goff only had 14 targets in eight games. All signs are pointing toward him having a breakout year.

Also being added to the offense this offseason were free agent WR DeSean Jackson (one-year deal) and WR Tutu Atwell, who Los Angeles selected with their second-round draft pick. They should help take the top off the defenses.

The loss of TE Gerald Everett (62 targets in 2020, signed with the Seahawks this offseason) shouldn't be too much of a loss on the offensive line and Josh Reynolds (81 targets in 2020) signing with the Tennesee Titans opens up even more potential targets for Akers.

2021 Role

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The Rams let Malcolm Brown walk this offseason, leaving them with only Akers and Derrell Henderson to make up for his loss. That means there are 124 vacated touches from this backfield with Brown's departure.

Out of those 124 touches, Brown was the most targeted RB for the Rams in 2020 with 33 targets.

I fully expect Akers to take all those targets with McVay running the show. Akers would be up to about 47 targets and with a 78.6 catch percentage, that projects 37 receptions for Akers this year.

That would be a drastic change to his workload, pushing him towards the workhorse back that Todd Gurley used to be.

Potential Speed-Bumps

Just something to keep in mind when drooling over Akers this preseason in drafts. Most people in the industry have mapped out this breakout season for Akers at the end of the season last year. With that being said his ADP is skyrocketing in Dynasty start-ups. It is not a huge problem if you can snag him with value instead of possibly reaching.

The Rams offensive line had a huge bounce-back year according to PFF. They were the third-best ranked O-line at the end of the 2020 season. However, Andrew Whitworth turns 40 this year, and they lost their starting Center, Austin Blythe, to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Now it looks like the Rams are starting Austin Corbett at Center, and Bobby Evans at Right Guard to begin OTA's.

If they can continue to be a strong unit and only allow Stafford to be pressured on less than 30% of his dropbacks, as they did with Goff, Akers could be worth his weight in gold this year.

Wrapping it up

In conclusion, the way we've seen Sean McVay run his offense in the past he needs a workhorse RB to have his offensive scheme work. The offensive line worries me a little for the future of Akers but we hope McVay can work around it. Everyone wishes they could've scooped up Todd Gurley before he busted onto the scene. Now you may very well have that chance again before Cam Akers explodes in Fantasy leagues just like Gurley before him!

Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers!

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