Should You Start Cam Akers vs. the Chiefs? Fantasy Outlook for Rams Running Back
In the space of three weeks, Cam Akers’ fantasy football value has increased massively. The Los Angeles Rams went from trying to trade Akers to having him as their lead early-down back in less than a month. With that in mind, is Akers a player that fantasy managers should be looking to start in Week 12, or could he be in for a tough game?
Cam Akers’ Fantasy Outlook
Last week saw Akers record his highest number of carries since Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season. Akers led the Rams’ backfield in terms of touches, even if he was behind Kyren Williams when it came to offensive snaps.
Akers dominated the workload on early downs, seeing around 75% of the usage in those situations. However, Akers was in on just one third-down play, with Williams handling the rest, as well as serving as the primary back in two-minute drills.
Therefore, it seems as though the Rams’ RB roles will split as Akers being the back on early downs, with Williams as the pass-catching back. The key determination of their ceilings will come down to who stakes a claim on the short-yardage and, therefore, goal-line work. Last week they split the short-yardage work evenly, with no goal-line opportunities.
Therefore, how the fantasy value of those two breaks down will very much depend on the projected game script. If the Rams appear set to be in tight games, we could see a lot more of Akers. In contrast, if it looks like the Rams might be chasing the game in the second half, then Williams could be the biggest beneficiary.
Should Fantasy Managers Start Akers in Week 12?
This week looks like it could be a tough one for Akers in terms of playtime. The Rams are 15-point underdogs on average across sportsbooks and around 10-point underdogs in the first half alone. Therefore, we could see a lot of Williams in the second half if the Rams are left chasing the game.
While Akers might see a majority of work in the first half, he could end up getting phased out of the game as it progresses. That presents a significant issue to both his floor and ceiling outlooks in Week 12.
The matchup itself is also not a slam-dunk one for the Rams. The Chiefs have allowed over 20 fantasy points to opposing backs in two of the last three games. However, in the third game, they held the Jacksonville Jaguars and Travis Etienne to less than 10 fantasy points.
In the two games that the Chiefs gave up more than 20 fantasy points, the lead running backs were Derrick Henry and Austin Ekeler. Akers and Williams are far from the level of those two backs, so it would be optimistic to expect the Rams’ RBs to significantly outscore the Chiefs’ average of allowing 19.91 fantasy points to opposing backs on average.
If you start Akers this week, you are ultimately hoping he finds the end zone in order to be a starter in 12-team leagues. With just six targets all year, Akers is going to struggle to produce the minimum of 10 fantasy points required in half-PPR formats to be a locked-in 12-team starting option unless he scores.
Accordingly, Akers is the RB36 in Tommy Garrett’s half-PPR RB fantasy rankings for Week 12. Personally, I am actually a touch lower on Akers even than that. This matchup appears to favor the role Williams plays in the offense, so I would lean toward him having the better chance to provide starting-level output for fantasy managers. Either way, neither is an ideal 12-team starting consideration this week, and Akers even concerns me in 14-team leagues.
Additionally, Akers is a player I may even look to fade in Underdog Fantasy Best Ball leagues this week. After he led the backfield in touches last week, he will likely require a higher investment than Williams. Even if they are at a similar value, Williams is the player I am looking to take a chance on in Best Ball leagues this week, especially in PPR formats.