This year the NFL Draft gave us some great running backs, but nothing excited me more than when the Kansas City Chiefs selected the star out of LSU with the final pick of the draft’s opening night.
An incoming rookie from the national champion LSU Tigers drafted by the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. It was a match made in heaven as most of the fantasy community had Kansas City taking a running back, however, the majority didn’t believe it would be Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Then we hear that Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid “hand picked” CEH to be the running back of the future. And that Andy Reid also said Edwards-Helaire reminds him of a better version of Brian Westbrook. With just this information alone I see a path for Edwards-Helaire to become that RB1 in fantasy.
Sure, he’s joining a team that just won the Super Bowl and has a good running back in Damien Williams, who went off for 133 total yards and 2 touchdowns in SBLIV (he was the true Super Bowl MVP, in my opinion), but Damien Williams is no Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Williams is a good running back, but look at how Kansas City has played its running backs in the past. They’ve gone from Larry Johnson to Jamaal Charles, and most recently, Spencer Ware to Kareem Hunt to Damien Williams. The Hunt to Williams transition had nothing to do with on-the-field play, but more so what happened with Hunt off the football field, therefore we wont bring it up here, but you get the point.
It’s time for Damien to hand the torch over to CEH. He’s the swiss army knife that NFL teams drool over and he’s now on the NFL’s most-potent offense.
There were 354 total rushes last season between Mahomes and his running backs. You may be shocked to learn that Damien Williams had 10 more carries than LeSean McCoy along with 33 more rushing yards.
The receiving game wasn’t much different as just two receptions and 32 yards separated them. That’s not what you want out of your starting running back….. LeSean McCoy. Yes, McCoy also started nine out of 16 games compared to Williams’ six.
Out of Williams’ 11 games played he had single-digit carries in six of them!
McCoy wasn’t much better, but this was a full-out platoon that most of us fantasy owners didn’t expect to see and frustrated us week in and week out.
Once training camp starts we should easily see who the best athlete is. Over the past two years, Damien Williams has had two subpar seasons where the majority of his big games have come at the end of the season, which is great if you’re in the fantasy playoffs, but he was pretty hard to count on for the majority of the season, especially with how high you likely selected him.
I still expect Williams to come in as the starter because Andy Reid tends to not rely upon rookies right away, but by week five, or at the trade deadline at the absolute latest, I can see Clyde Edwards-Helaire taking over as the lead back and dominating.
Will Williams still have his top games? Absolutely. This Kansas City Chiefs team is just too good for one player alone to blow up. But the skill and big-play potential that CEH has is what is going to win you leagues.
Will we take Clyde Edwards-Helaire too early in drafts? Maybe. I’ve seen him go in the second round in an “expert” draft and to me that is the peak of where I would draft him. If you can draft now and he falls to round three or four, consider yourself lucky because that is a total steal. The hype is real, but it could get out of control.
I’d be willing to bet that fantasy owners will get frustrated with CEH early in the season because he’s not living up to the high draft capital that was spent on him.
The easy excuse for a slow start for CEH is that we don’t even know when OTA’s will start. He should begin the season a little slow, I expect that, but if you aren’t able to draft him, offer a lower-ball trade in week four or five and reap the rewards as he will become a crucial piece to your fantasy football championship.
Be sure to check out the latest episode of the Loaded Box Podcast as we hit on a variety of fantasy football topics, discuss arrest week in the NFL, and teach you how to properly value tight ends!