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The rookie running back had 171 yards on 29 carries in addition to 23 yards on two catches, though he never found the end zone. He was limited in practice this week with a shoulder injury, but it didn’t appear to affect him.
Akers has emerged as the Rams’ No. 1 rusher as of late, marking his full return from the rib injury that marred the start of his professional career. Though Los Angeles looked largely to Darrell Henderson Jr., who is the team’s leading runner with 564 yards and five touchdowns on 125 carries, and Malcolm Brown (368 yards, 5 TD), Akers has outperformed them since Week 8.
In six games, he has 415 rushing yards on 83 carries with two touchdowns. In the same span, Henderson has 153 yards and two touchdowns, and Brown has 94 yards and a pair of scores.
Akers played about 80 percent of the Rams’ offensive snaps, shattering the previous team-high mark for a running back this season, which was 65 percent, per Next Gen Stats (h/t ESPN’s Mike Clay). By contrast, Brown, who had averaged 31 snaps heading into Thursday, played six snaps—the same number as Henderson, who entered the night averaging 25.
After his performance against New England, Akers is sure to star again against a winless New York Jets team that is allowing an average of 107.8 rushing yards per game, and then he faces a Seattle defense that got mauled by the New York Giants on the ground in Week 13—allowing 190 yards. For fantasy managers who are still playing in Week 17, Arizona‘s run defense is 22nd in the league, allowing 123.0 yards per game.
The breakout star was available in far more than half of Yahoo leagues heading into this week’s matchup, and after Thursday, he’s sure to go quick in those he’s still available. Heading into one-and-done playoff matchups, Akers will be a must-start for managers still competing after Week 14.