EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Fantasy football players: Todd Gurley is trying for you.
"I told [Jared] Goff to give me the ball because all these fantasy people want their points," Gurley said with a smile earlier this week. "Gotta make them happy."
The Los Angeles Rams' running back enraged many a fantasy owner last year, while struggling to just 885 rushing yards on 278 carries in what was a disappointing second season. But now Gurley -- benefiting from an improved Goff, a better offensive line, a more talented group of receivers and an innovative scheme by first-year head coach Sean McVay -- is back among the NFL's best.
His 920 scrimmage yards rank third behind only the Chiefs' Kareem Hunt and the Steelers' Le'Veon Bell, who have each played in one more game.
His eight touchdowns are tied for the NFL lead and are two more than he had in nine more games last season.
"It means a lot," Gurley said of being back among the leaders in yards and touchdowns. "Obviously, if you're winning, you hope you have somebody at the top. I've been able to be up there in rushing. The O-line has been doing a great job of giving me room, the receivers out there blocking -- everybody just out there doing their job."
After going 20 consecutive games without breaking triple-digits on the ground, Gurley has rushed for at least 100 yards in four of his last five games. On Sunday, against a New York Giants defense that has allowed the NFL's 10th-most rushing yards, Gurley can join Eric Dickerson as the only Rams player since the merger with at least five 100-yard rushing performances in his team's first eight games of a season.
Gurley has 627 yards rushing and is already just 34 yards shy of his career high in receiving, with 293 yards so far this season.
He knew immediately that this could be a different year.
"When Coach came in, man, and just going through that install, that first weekend, just seeing the plays he had, seeing what he had done in Washington, we were looking at each other and getting excited," Gurley said. "We've been playing ball our whole life. The good comes with the bad, the bad comes with the good. You just have to bounce back after a rough year, a rough start. We play ball, so I know what I'm capable of doing. You're just not going to be able to do it every game or every season. That's just how it works."