Fantasy football drafts present players with countless difficult decisions. Double-up on running backs in the first two rounds? Wait until the later rounds to take a quarterback? Grab the top tight end, Travis Kelce?

Those decisions are what make fantasy football so much fun, but one question remains among the toughest to answer: When should you take Todd Gurley?

Last year, the answer was clear and obvious: Within the first two picks. This season, it’s not so easy. With his lingering knee injury that limited him last year, it’s difficult to predict exactly what his role is going to be.

Sean McVay and the Rams have maintained that he’s going to be healthy and unless McVay is told otherwise, he’s going to use him like the Gurley of old. Les Snead doesn’t seem to share that same sentiment, suggesting the Rams could “lessen that load to, let’s say, keep him fresher for the season and for seasons beyond.”

Snead even dropped a nightmare phrase to fantasy owners’ ears. He said the Rams could have a “Batman and Robin combination” in the backfield if they do lighten Gurley’s workload. And remember, he made that comment in February, before the Rams traded up to select Darrell Henderson Jr. in the third round of the draft.

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This all makes it extremely tough to decide how to handle Gurley in fantasy drafts. In full PPR (point per reception) leagues, Gurley’s average draft position (ADP) is 15.7 – about the middle of the second round in a 10-team league.

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That makes him RB9, being selected after the likes of James Conner (11.2 ADP) and Nick Chubb (11.8), and just ahead of Dalvin Cook (17.4). Last season, only three total players scored more points than Gurley in PPR leagues: Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey. And that was with Gurley missing the final two weeks of the season.

Admittedly, there’s significant risk that comes with drafting Gurley. He’s expected to be ready for Week 1, but there are some concerns that come with his week-to-week availability. Gurley didn’t take the field at all in OTAs and minicamp this spring. When training camp opened, he was out there practicing, but with a caveat.

He has yet to practice on consecutive days, getting every other day off. Needless to say, that’s not typical for a 25-year-old running back who’s coming off back-to-back All-Pro selections. Gurley was a full participant all offseason a year ago, but that hasn’t been the case this time around.

There are some things working in his favor, though. McVay said Gurley has hit 21 mph in practice and is “hitting speeds that are as high as he’s ever hit before.” For a guy who didn’t touch 21 mph at all last season, that’s good news.

Additionally, Gurley has looked good and explosive when he has practiced. There are no signs that his balky knee is holding him back or hindering him in any way. He’s cutting fine and bursting through the line with good speed.

When it comes to his fantasy ceiling, it remains relatively high thanks to his work on the goal line. In the last two years, no player has received more carries inside the 10-yard line than Gurley.

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That heavy workload along the goal line is a big reason Gurley has led the NFL in rushing touchdowns (and total touchdowns) in each of the last two years.

So yes, he might not rack up 1,200-plus rushing yards or 2,000 yards from scrimmage, but he remains one of the better options in fantasy because of his nose for the end zone. It’s not as if Malcolm Brown or Henderson are powerful goal line backs, either, so Gurley should still handle those carries.

But let’s go back to the question at hand: Where should you draft Gurley? The sweet spot seems to be the second round. It’d be foolish to take him ahead of the top running backs such as Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott (holdout aside), David Johnson, Alvin Kamara, McCaffrey and Barkley. Those players are all expected to be true workhorses for their teams, thus giving them a higher fantasy ceiling than Gurley.

However, Gurley is a more proven commodity than Cook, Joe Mixon and Kerryon Johnson. But in fantasy, past experience doesn’t always mean future success; it’s a year-to-year evaluation.

Quite possibly the most important aspect of taking Gurley is handcuffing him with Henderson or even Brown. In the event that the Rams start the season with Gurley only playing half the offensive snaps, you need to have a fallback plan. At least with Henderson, you can mitigate the risk.

So if you’re sitting there in the middle of the second round and Gurley is still on the board, take him. But if you have the 10th pick and are contemplating selecting him over Julio Jones, Michael Thomas and Odell Beckham Jr., you should probably think twice. There is plenty of risk that comes with taking Gurley, but getting him in the second or early third round could be the steal of the draft if he’s used as McVay has said he will be.

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