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USATSI

It was a bit of a surprise when Chase Edmonds popped up on the Wednesday injury report with a groin injury, but he was a partial participant in a Wednesday practice, and those designations are going to to turn into actives on Sunday in a majority of cases. It's definitely one we'll be watching closely, because Edmonds has big-time upside in his first start as a Dolphin in Week 1.

Edmonds' upside starts with his role in the passing game. He averaged nearly five targets per game in his 11 healthy games in 2021 and caught four or more passes in more than half of those games. No matter what your role is on early downs, 70-catch potential gives you immense upside in PPR leagues. But we have reason to believe Edmonds will be used more in the running game as well.

For one thing, the Dolphins gave him $12 million as the first back signed in free agency. That's more money than you give a third-down back. Also, the wide zone scheme Mike McDaniel is bringing from San Francisco just so happens to be Edmonds' favorite scheme. 

Edmonds was listed as the starter on the team's first official depth chart alongside Raheem Mostert. Depth charts don't mean much, but an even split of the rush attempts plus five targets a game would absolutely give Edmonds top-12 upside in a given week. In the six games he saw double-digit carries last year, he averaged 16.1 PPR FPPG. And that was with only one touchdown in those six games.

With Edmonds currently nursing a groin, you do need to make sure Mostert is rostered. Mostert himself would come close to must-start if Edmonds misses Week 1. On the flip side, Mostert is 30 years old and has only played nine games in the past two seasons. If he gets hurt again, Edmonds may not just have top-12 upside. He may just be a top 12 running back.

Now let's get to the rest of the Week 1 RB Preview:

Week 1 RB Preview
RB Preview
Who's Out

The following players are not being projected to play Week 1 at this time. Here's what it means:

BAL Baltimore • #27
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Mike Davis, Kenyan Drake, and Justice Hill should split the touches, but we have very little clue who will lead the backfield.
SEA Seattle • #9
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Rashaad Penny should have the backfield mostly to himself in Week 1.
WAS Washington • #8
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Antonio Gibson gets one more chance at being a lead back.
RB Preview
Numbers to know
  • 21.9 -- Jonathan Taylor led all running backs with 21.9 FPPG last year. That was the 12th best per-game average in the past five seasons.
  • 29.3 -- Christian McCaffrey's 29.3 FPPG was 8.4 points better than any other running back in 2019.
  • 74 -- Najee Harris led all running backs with 74 catches last year. That's a very important part of him justifying his Round 1 ADP.
  • 6.7 -- Aaron Jones has averaged nearly seven targets per game in his past seven games without Davante Adams. That would give him a chance to lead all running backs in catches.
  • 2.4 -- Cam Akers averaged just 2.4 yards per carry after returning from his torn Achilles in 2021.
  • 28.3% -- The Saints led the NFL with a 28.3% running back target rate last year.
  • 45 -- Derrick Henry leads all running backs with 45 touchdowns over the past three seasons. Aaron Jones is the only other back with 40.
  • 20.3 -- David Montgomery has averaged 20.3 touches per game over the past two seasons. He'll be an enormous value if he maintains that role.
  • 4.9 -- Since Devin Singletary entered the league, he's one of 37 running backs to earn at least 100 targets. He ranks 34th in yards per target (4.9) and 35th in yards per reception (6.5). Don't expect many targets this year, which makes him much better in non-PPR.
RB Preview
Matchups that matter
Matchups that Matter
Projections powered by Sportsline
WAS Washington • #24
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs JAC WAS -3 O/U 43.5
OPP VS RB
14th
PROJ PTS
13.5
RB RNK
16th
2021 Stats
RUYDS
1037
REC
42
REYDS
294
TD
10
FPTS/G
14.3
ARI Arizona • #6
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs KC KC -4.5 O/U 53.5
OPP VS RB
26th
PROJ PTS
14.7
RB RNK
12th
2021 Stats
RUYDS
752
REC
37
REYDS
375
TD
18
FPTS/G
17.2
ATL Atlanta • #84
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NO NO -5.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
1st
PROJ PTS
10.2
RB RNK
32nd
2021 Stats
RUYDS
618
REC
52
REYDS
548
TD
11
FPTS/G
14.7
BUF Buffalo • #26
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LAR BUF -2.5 O/U 52.5
OPP VS RB
21st
PROJ PTS
9.1
RB RNK
35th
2021 Stats
RUYDS
870
REC
40
REYDS
228
TD
8
FPTS/G
11.6
RB Preview
Waiver Wire Targets
Week 1 Adds (RB Preview)
WAS Washington • #23
Age: 29 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs JAC WAS -2.5 O/U 44
OPP VS RB
NR
RB RNK
40th
ROSTERED
43%
2021 Stats
RUYDS
212
REC
43
REYDS
397
TD
4
FPTS/G
11.6
McKissic should have a bigger role early in the season because Antonio Gibson is the only back he'll have to share with. In full PPR he could be used as a borderline No. 2 running back or a high-end flex, especially in a matchup against a Jacksonville defense that we don't expect to be very good.
ATL Atlanta • #6
Age: 30 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NO NO -5.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
NR
RB RNK
NR
ROSTERED
22%
2021 Stats
RUYDS
164
REC
16
REYDS
103
TD
3
FPTS/G
5.1
There's a lot of late speculation that Williams could actually lead this Falcons backfield on early downs. It's a terrible matchup, and I still prefer Patterson because of his pass-catching ability, but Williams could be a desperation flex or a guy you pick up now to beat the waiver wire.
NO New Orleans • #5
Age: 33 • Experience: 12 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ATL NO -5.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
NR
RB RNK
45th
ROSTERED
48%
2021 Stats
RUYDS
554
REC
27
REYDS
162
TD
2
FPTS/G
7.8
I expect Ingram to have a bigger role than most and 10-12 touches against the Falcons defense could be enough to warrant a start, especially if he gets into the end zone. Even if you don't want to start him, Ingram is one of my favorite handcuffs.
Stashes (RB Preview)
CHI Chicago • #24
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SF SF -7 O/U 40.5
OPP VS RB
NR
RB RNK
NR
ROSTERED
47%
2021 Stats
RUYDS
433
REC
14
REYDS
96
TD
2
FPTS/G
4.6
While the current Bears staff didn't pick Herbert, there are many who believe he fits their zone scheme better than David Montgomery. And Herbert was fantastic when Montgomery missed time last year. If the Bears are successful offensively, Herbert could have flex appeal backing up Montgomery and top-15 upside should he become the starter.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #20
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs LV LAC -3.5 O/U 52
OPP VS RB
NR
RB RNK
NR
ROSTERED
13%
2021 Stats
RUYDS
845
REC
21
REYDS
128
TD
5
FPTS/G
8.6
If someone is going to give Austin Ekeler a breather on early downs, I would expect it to be Michel. I also believe he's the best handcuff in a situation that is murky at best. Any running back would be must-start if they were getting 15 touches in this offense.
RB Preview
DFS Plays
Top DFS Play
Projections powered by Sportsline
GB Green Bay • #33
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ MIN GB -1.5 O/U 48
OPP VS RB
18th
PROJ PTS
15.2
RB RNK
10th
2021 Stats
RUYDS
799
REC
52
REYDS
391
TD
10
FPTS/G
15.3
Dameon Pierce is actually my top value back early on, but Jones is the only back who is in the top eight in my projections and the top five in DFS value. A.J. Dillon is also in the top five. I can't imagine a more contrarian pairing as it is generally terrible tournament strategy to start two running backs from the same team. But as I said at the top, I don't hate it this week. It's not hard to imagine the pair combining for 250 yards, three touchdowns and eight catches. I would be less interested on DraftKings because I'm not sure I like their odds to hit the yardage bonuses.
Contrarian DFS Play
Projections powered by Sportsline
HOU Houston • #31
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs IND IND -8 O/U 46
OPP VS RB
3rd
PROJ PTS
13.3
RB RNK
20th
Pierce's roster rate will be held down by the fact he's on one of the lowest projected scoring offenses as one of the biggest underdogs. But we don't often get a starting running back as cheap as Pierce is. I think he'd be at least $1,000 more if the sites had projected him as a starter back when they came out with pricing. If Shaquille Leonard is unable to go in Week 1, this might not even be a terrible matchup. In the one game Leonard missed last year, Chase Edmonds scored 26.7 PPR Fantasy points against the Colts.
RB Preview
Heath's Projections