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Fantasy Football: How high should Cam Akers be ranked for 2021?

Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (23) carries the ball against the New England Patriots during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Akers put on an absolute clinic in the Los Angeles Rams’ two 2020 playoff games. The rookie led all running backs in offensive yards (272), rushing yards (221), touches (49), yards after contact (154) and PFF rushing grade (84.8).

He also averaged an 84% snap share, 21.1 fantasy points per game (second), 15.3 expected fantasy points per game (seventh) and 0.42 fantasy points per snap (third).

It was clear that Sean McVay was doing whatever it took to get his second-round pick involved early and often when the games mattered the most. Even after Akers missed Week 16 due to a high-ankle sprain, the Rams right went back to their rookie despite an injury notorious for depleting a running back’s explosiveness. 

As we enter the fantasy offseason, we have to decide if we're buying into the rookie’s late-season surge. Will McVay go back to the committee he instituted for the majority of the season, or has Akers earned the title of unquestioned bell-cow running back?

BORN TO BE A BELL COW

Some may point to McVay’s use of a running back by committee at times in 2020 or Darrell Henderson Jr.’s injury as reasons to steer away from Akers at a high draft cost. But we have to give Akers credit for taking full advantage of his opportunities late in the season and never looking back.

There's reason to believe Akers was vying for bell-cow status from Day 1, actually. He was selected with the first pick of the second round — the second RB off the board in 2020 — and saw 15 touches on a 35% snap share in his first NFL game. The rookie played behind Malcolm Brown (21 touches, 57% snap share) but was well ahead of Henderson (three touches, 6% snap share). 

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