Cam Akers Fantasy Football Outlook & Value 2021

It took Cam Akers a little while to get going last season, but he was excellent down the stretch and was a crucial part of the Rams’ playoff upset over the Seahawks. Now, with Matthew Stafford under center, some fantasy players may see Los Angeles as more of a pass-heavy team. However, Sean McVay has spoken about his desire to make the Rams a run-first team, and he wants Akers to be utilized in “all the ways that you would want to be able to use a running back that doesn’t have any limitations.” Could Akers break through as an RB1 in his second professional season?

2020 Recap 

RUSH YDSRUSH TDSRECSREC YDSREC TDSFPTSFPPG
625211123196.37.4

Cam Akers didn’t see more than 20 carries until Week 13, but from Week 13 to 17, he averaged 21.5 carries per game as his usage grew tremendously. However, Akers averaged just 3.9 YPC over that stretch as his efficiency decreased as his usage improved. Akers proved he could handle that larger role just fine in the playoffs as he took 46 carries for 221 yards (4.8 YPC) and 2 touchdowns. Akers had almost half of his games this year with zero catches, which should change next season. With an increased workload this season, Akers is going to level up in fantasy.

2021 Projection 

RUSH YDSRUSH TDSRECSREC YDSREC TDSFPTSFPPG
1,189.11228.9251.91251.114.8

Sean McVay sees Cam Akers as the clear “number one” on the depth chart and says he’s “got to be able to play on all three downs.” With that three-down role in 2021, I have Akers down for about 280 touches. Akers only ran for 2 touchdowns in the regular season last year and is a clear candidate for positive regression in that regard, especially with Malcolm Brown, who had 5 rushing touchdowns last year, now in Miami. Akers will improve on the little things in his sophomore season, and his talent should shine through in a much better performance.

ADP & Auction Value 

ADP: 14, Round 2, RB11

Auction Value: $43

Akers is currently being drafted as about the 11th running back off the board, a tremendous show of faith in a player who finished as the RB43 last season and wasn’t even the leading fantasy scorer at the position on his team. He’s probably being drafted at an appropriate range, all things considered. However, Sean McVay and the Rams’ staff have made it abundantly clear that Akers is going to step into a much larger role this season, and he’s set to elevate his game in a larger role.,

Floor

Cam Akers shined last season with limited touches, especially down the stretch. A return of a healthy Darrell Henderson will eat into Akers’s volume a bit, but the Rams don’t have much depth beyond those two guys as Xavier Jones, Raymond Calais, and Jake Funk are unproven commodities. Akers should be good for around 15 carries per game and should see more involvement in the passing game this season. However, Akers’s real floor likely revolves around the level of volume he saw in the games he was truly involved in last season. If you discount two games in which he saw zero carries, Akers had 14.5 carries per game last season at a 4.3 YPC clip – that’s good for just over 1,000 yards. Even if his passing volume doesn’t increase much, rushing production would likely make him a solid if unspectacular RB2.

Ceiling 

In the final four games of the 2020 regular season and two playoff games, Akers saw 22 carries per game. If he maintains that same volume and increases his YPC (he ran for 4.9 YPC at Florida State), he could be good for over 1,500 rushing yards. Akers should also see a tremendous uptick in rushing touchdowns – he only had 2 of the team’s 19 rushing touchdowns last year. The Rams’ running back could see as many as 15 rushing touchdowns, and it wouldn’t be shocking. Even without a massive increase in passing volume, Akers could finish as a top-five RB in half-PPR fantasy scoring on the back of his ground production alone. However, Matthew Stafford is one of the quarterbacks in the league who heavily targets his running backs in the passing game, and Akers will see more of a three-down role this year. 350 touches for Akers isn’t outside the realm of possibilities, and he truly could be one of the very best RBs in fantasy this season.

Los Angeles Rams Offense 

los angeles ramsThe Rams scored just 23.3 points per game last season, just the 22nd most in the NFL. However, they did accumulate 6,032 yards from scrimmage, the 11th most in the NFL. That indicates a lack of efficiency, particularly in the red zone. Los Angeles will hope that a major upgrade at quarterback from Jared Goff to Matthew Stafford will help solve that problem. Stafford completed 64.2% of his passes for 4,084 yards and 26 touchdowns to 10 interceptions for the Lions last season and will be supported by the arguably better talent in LA. Cooper Kupp had a bit of a down year in 2020, but he caught 94 balls for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns the year prior. Robert Woods also saw his production decline in 2020, but he has caught over 86 balls in each of the last three seasons. In 2018 and 2019, he had over 1,100 yards. Stafford also loves to utilize the tight end position, and Tyler Higbee is due for an uptick in production, especially after the addition of Gerald Everett. Sean McVay is an offensive genius and should put all of this offensive talent to good use.

Strength of Schedule  

In addition to several factors working in Akers’s favor, this offense faces a great schedule for the running back position – Rams’ opponents allowed the 9th-most fantasy points to running backs in 2020. The Rams do face the 49ers in their division twice who allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs last year while the Cardinals (16th) and Seahawks (17th) are more average against the run. In terms of inter-conference play, the Rams face the AFC South, a division that is very generous to running backs; the Texans (32nd), Jaguars (30th), and Titans (25th) allowed among the most fantasy points to the RB position while the Colts (8th) fared much better. The Rams will also face all four NFC North teams including some weaker run defenses in the Vikings (27th), Packers (28th), and Lions (31st), as well as a much tougher run defense in the Bears (10th). Rounding out the Rams’ schedule are the Buccaneers (4th), Ravens (13th), and Giants (22nd), a mix of defensive quality. The Rams have a solid offensive line and should produce rushing stats against most NFL teams.

Bottom Line

Cam Akers is due for a massive breakout season in his second professional campaign, and everyone seems to know it, from the Rams’ staff to fantasy analysts to league managers who have skyrocketed Akers’s ADP. While that ADP has risen significantly, he could still be a value at his current draft position as Akers truly has top-five RB upside. The Rams’ offense is one of the better units in the NFL led by a savant in Sean McVay, who wants to get Akers much more involved this season. All of this amounts to a low-end RB1 in Akers with significant upside for more.

2021 Fantasy Football Player Outlooks
I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. I've been playing fantasy football for as long as I can remember and am now in far more leagues than any person should take part in. There are few things that give me as much joy and excitement as fantasy football, and I'm excited to share my input with you in your journey towards a championship.

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