While NFL Network’s Peter Schrager is making sure NFL fans know his name well in advance of any actual games, Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is also receiving some buzz in fantasy circles.
Let’s start with ESPN’s Matt Bowen:
BOWEN: “Since 2018, Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 7.7 yards per attempt when targeting running backs and has a 16-0 touchdown-interception ratio, via ESPN Stats & Information. That’s why I love the fit here for Edwards-Helaire, who caught 55 passes last season in LSU’s pro route tree. He’s a dynamic talent in the passing game, with the wiggle, shake and burst to separate from linebackers in coverage. And he can do work on the ground, too, with the contact balance and downhill juice to get to the second-level. Yes, Edwards-Helaire will share touches with Damien Williams in Kansas City, but the receiving traits put him in the RB2 range, with RB1 upside in the Chiefs’ explosive offense.”
Head coach Andy Reid has already confirmed that Williams, a playoff star for the Chiefs, will remain significantly involved in the offense — but as Bowen notes, LSU’s offense has prepared the running back to be day-one ready for the Chiefs.
Here are some notes from The Ringer’s Danny Heifetz:
HEIFETZ: “He thrives in the shotgun, and the Chiefs ran the second-most shotgun snaps in the NFL last year. He’s effective as both a rusher and a receiver, and blocks at a high enough level that he should get plenty of playing time as a rookie. He forced a missed tackle every 2.7 touches during his 2019 season at LSU, the most of any running back in this draft class, according to Pro Football Focus. He also led the running backs in this class in targets (64), catches (55), and receiving yards (453).”
A lack of pass-blocking skills prevented sixth-rounder Darwin Thompson from earning more snaps while the Chiefs were dealing with injuries at the position last season, so it is a good sign for Kansas City that Edwards-Helaire has that trait already built in. That missed tackle stat might remind you of Kareem Hunt, who was among the game’s most elusive before being released by the Chiefs.
FantasyPro’s Mike Tagliere suggests Edwards-Helaire is worth a second-round fantasy pick.
TAGLIERE: “I had Edwards-Helaire as my top running back in this year’s class due to the way he fits the NFL today. He’s a true three-down back who can catch 80-plus passes out of the backfield, while running for 1,000-plus yards. Landing with the Chiefs was a dream scenario, especially in the first round. Over the last seven years, running backs who’ve been drafted in the first round have averaged 280.7 touches in year one. 75 percent of them have finished as an RB2 or better. Don’t think this is Darwin Thompson all over again, as he was a sixth-round pick last year, and those average just 29.8 touches in year one. This is Edwards-Helaire’s backfield after Andy Reid said he’s better than Brian Westbrook on film. You don’t take those players off the field very often. He’s worth a second-round pick and would be a steal in the third round.”
When are you planning on drafting Edwards-Helaire in your fantasy draft?