“It’s been a rocky start to Cam Akers’ NFL career, underscored by his 2021 torn Achilles. But he closed last season with a bang, scoring as a top-4 fantasy RB over the final six games. The 2020 second-round pick is still just 24 and appears poised to play a voluminous role in a Rams offense that should bounce back with healthy seasons from QB Matt Stafford and WR Cooper Kupp
“Cam Akers has a great chance to finally make good on the hype he came into the league with. After a contentious start to 2022, from week 13 on, Akers averaged 19.3 opportunities, 101.8 total yards, and 1 total touchdown per game for 15.9 Half PPR points per game. This offseason, the Rams have done very little to give Akers any competition for opportunities. With Matthew Stafford
“The Rams used Cam Akers as a workhorse in the final weeks of the 2022 season, and the role suited him well. Akers led the NFL in rushing over the final six weeks and ranked RB4 in half-point PPR scoring over that stretch. He had more than 100 rushing yards in each of his last three games. Akers doesn’t have a great deal of competition in the Rams’ backfield. Some people think Zach Evans
is an existential threat to Akers’ primacy in the Rams’ backfield, but Evans was a late sixth-round pick, and the hit rate for sixth-round running backs isn’t stellar. If Sean McVay gives Akers a big workload, we’ll finally get the breakout we were hoping for last year.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)
Akers leads the way in this article and has gotten the same endorsements from a number of analysts at CBS and PFF projecting him to be top 10 in 2023.
Akers did not start the 2022 season on a great note, playing behind Darrell Henderson in almost every game until Henderson was waived by the team in November. Henderson’s struggles and inefficiencies as a starter were obvious, averaging just 4.0 yards per carry (34th) while posting a 62.3 rushing grade (49th). The team decided to let him go as their season was clearly over at that point. Akers wasn’t that much more impressive than Henderson, even in a smaller role, as he averaged just 3.1 yards per carry and a 65.7 rushing grade. However, the team turned to Akers as the lead back in Week 13, and he greatly improved, which also led to better fantasy success than what Henderson was able to achieve in his time as a starter.
Cam Akers season splits in 2022:
|Weeks||Offensive snap share||Rushing grade (RB rank)||Fantasy RB rank (PPR)|
Akers’ improvement on a larger snap share was significant in 2023, and a clear upgrade from what fantasy managers saw in his return in 2022, when he managed just 2.4 yards per carry for a 39.6 rushing grade. Akers’ bounce back from an Achilles injury appears complete after a long wait, and his numbers as a starter last season are much more appealing for fantasy managers to invest in for 2023. With the fourth-best rushing grade at the position (83.6) from Week 12 on while finishing as the PPR RB4 in that same span, Akers will look to keep it going as he heads into this season as the clear starter for the first time since 2020.
Having never finished a season higher than RB34 in PPR fantasy leagues, Akers should have no trouble surpassing that mark by a decent margin in 2023 as long as he stays healthy. The Rams did not add significant competition for carries this offseason, so the depth chart currently stands as him and multiple Day 3 draft picks. Should Akers continue to play as well as he did near the end of last season, he should have no problem holding off anyone else currently on the roster from leading the team in running back touches by a wide margin on a weekly basis. Akers even started to show more as a receiver late last year, which has never been a big part of his game, but he hauled in 13 receptions through six games for 117 receiving yards on 106 routes run. With Matt LaFleur coming in as offensive coordinator and showing a tendency to target the running back more often, even if he isn’t the primary receiving back, there will be opportunities for Akers to add some production in the passing game.
This is true for every player but for Akers, who had torn his Achilles less than two years ago, he needs to show he can continue to handle lead back duties, as he did late last season.
The Rams’ backfield is one of the thinner depth charts in the league with the recently added Sony Michel and Day 3 picks Zach Evans and Kyren Williams from a season ago in addition to Ronnie Rivers – an undrafted free agent last year who Akers’ main competition. As a second-round pick who succeeded as a starter last year, Akers should not have a problem leading the Rams in carries in 2023.
Akers finished as the overall RB4 in PPR from Weeks 12-18 last season once he took over as the full-time starter in Los Angeles, and while RB4 may be a lofty goal, even providing consistent top-24 finishes will allow him to significantly surpass his best previous fantasy season.
Here is another good read on Akers from PFF yesterday.