Questions surrounded Todd Gurley entering the 2019 season.

How would the "arthritic component" in his left knee affect his play?

Was the player regarded as arguably the best running back in the NFL just two years ago destined to share time in the Rams' backfield?

And could fantasy football owners put their faith in Gurley without getting burned?

One week into the season, it's still too early to pass definitive judgment on those questions, but Gurley's performance and usage in the season-opening win against the Panthers, along with coach Sean McVay's comments this week, shed some light on the situation.

First, Gurley told reporters Thursday he feels "fine."

“I’m fine. Soreness after the game, nothing too crazy,” Gurley said (via

As far as his usage in that game, Gurley got only 15 touches, which is fewer than one would expect from a No. 1 running back. He averaged 22.5 touches per game last season and 22.9 in 2017.

If you're a fantasy football owner worried about Gurley's output, it's worth noting that several other star running backs saw limited action in Week 1. For example, Saquon Barkley had 15 touches and Ezekiel Elliott had 14.

Yet Gurley was on the field for 51 plays, compared to 19 for backup Malcolm Brown, although Brown did score the Rams' two rushing touchdowns.

Gurley played well in his limited role, rushing for 97 yards on 14 carries and adding a four-yard reception while Brown carried 11 times for 53 yards.

The 25-year-old running back took Tuesday off practice but participated Wednesday and Thursday. McVay said Thursday his usage of Gurley is designed to keep him healthy throughout the season.

“It’s just more about just managing how he is feeling,” McVay said. “When you look at the pounding that running backs take — just in terms of just how their body is feeling. It’s not exclusive to any specific part of his body, it’s just really his body and he’s feeling good so that’s the approach we’ll take today.”

Some questioned after the season opener why the Rams used Brown rather than Gurley in those goal-line situations that resulted in two short rushing touchdowns.

McVay said Brown just happened to be in the game.

"(Brown) was up in that series," McVay said. "It didn't really have anything to do with where we were on the field as much as it just was, 'OK, we're gonna get Malcolm in this series.' That was something that was predetermined."

If McVay's explanation is straightforward, it stands to reason Gurley could be the back in the goal-line situations this week in what projects as a high-scoring game with the Saints. 

Bottom line for fantasy owners: Gurley isn't the workhorse he once was, but can still be very effective in his more limited role. Gurley at 75 percent of his former workload is still better than most running backs around.