Fantasy Football: Cam Akers Panic Meter

Cam Akers Fantasy Football

Just like clockwork, an entire offseason of analyzing players and situations is essentially undone by one game of football. Fantasy football managers everywhere are panicking after running back Cam Akers played just 12 snaps in the season opener against the Buffalo Bills. Fellow running back Darrell Henderson was the clear starter, which isn’t what most people projected throughout the offseason. Is this just a weird one-week blip, or is the panic justified?

Fantasy Football: What to Do With Cam Akers

It goes without saying that no running back wants to finish their night with only three carries for zero yards. However, these situations require context, and there is a chance that injuries may have limited Akers heading into Week 1.

Since 2021, Akers hasn’t exactly been the picture of health. The running back tore his Achilles in the 2021 offseason before returning for LA’s postseason run. While he was able to get back on the field, he didn’t look anything like the player that showed so much promise down the stretch of his rookie season. Additionally, Akers missed roughly two weeks of training camp with what the team described as a soft tissue injury. These injuries are notoriously fickle, and while Akers didn’t appear on the injury report prior to Week 1, it is possible that he wasn’t feeling 100%.

In times like this, it’s best to hear what the coaches have to say about the situation. Different coaches provide different levels of clarity to the media, and Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay tends to be honest when discussing his team to reporters. Basically, you can take his comments at (mostly) face value.

In regards to his running back usage, McVay said that the coaching staff wants to see “an increased level of urgency and accountability” from Akers. While McVay added that he is confident Akers will “be that guy…as this season continues to progress”, the fact remains that McVay never mentioned Akers’ health. Based on all available information, it appears as though the coaches believe Darrell Henderson is simply the better running back.

Can Cam Akers Win the Job Back?

For the time being, we can assume that Darrell Henderson is the starting running back for the Los Angeles Rams. However, how long will that last? Akers has the better draft capital and prospect profile, and on paper, he should be the superior talent.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Darrell Henderson with the starting job in Los Angeles. Following Akers’ injury, Henderson entered 2021 as the Rams starting running back and recorded 648 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 142 carries (4.56 YPC) before suffering an injury in Week 12. Of course, raw production has more to do with blocking and scheme than the actual running back, and the advanced metrics tell us that Henderson was a perfectly adequate runner.

According to PlayerProfiler, Henderson ranked 36th in yards created per touch, 49th in juke rate, and 10th in breakaway run rate. Pro Football Focus, meanwhile, ranked him as the 32nd best running back in the NFL out of 62 eligible players. In essence, he’s good enough to get by, but teams will always be looking for someone better.

Akers has the raw talent to beat out Henderson for the starting job, but it will probably take him a month or two to do it. In both redraft and dynasty alike, you should reach out and see if the person rostering Cam Akers is panicking. If they are, then this is the perfect time to buy low on a potential three-down workhorse. It might take a bit for that investment to pay off, but the return could be glorious.