After sky-high expectations in 2020, Clyde Edwards-Helaire returns as a post-hype breakout candidate with top-20 appeal in 2021. He actually started off his rookie season with some good numbers, averaging 11.7 non-PPR/15.1 PPR points per game in his first six. Then the Chiefs acquired Le'Veon Bell ... and gave some work to fellow back Darrel Williams ... and then Edwards-Helaire got hurt. No wonder his playing time, touches and Fantasy totals shriveled. So why trust him now? Despite Williams sticking around and the Chiefs adding long-time pass-down specialist Jerick McKinnon, Edwards-Helaire is still considered Kansas City's best back. It wouldn't be surprising to see him fall into 15 touches per week, and it would be most excellent if he could pick up the short-yardage/goal-line role he barely had last year. A much-improved offensive line and a fairly good schedule also helps. Edwards-Helaire is worth the late second-round price tag.
Edwards-Helaire and QB Patrick Mahomes both have suggested the Chiefs should throw more passes to running backs this season, ESPN's Adam Teicher reports. Mahomes also mentioned Jerick McKinnon, Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson as pass-catching options out of the backfield, but it's Edwards-Helaire who figures to play the most snaps and run the most routes. The second-year pro reportedly focused on improving his receiving skills this offseason, after catching only 36 of 54 targets (66.7 percent) for 297 yards (5.5 YPT) and one touchdown in his debut campaign. Edwards-Helaire caught 55 passes his senior season at LSU, with his work in that area seemingly playing a big role in the Chiefs' decision to draft him with the 32nd overall pick in 2020. As such, the 22-year-old back still has a shot to earn a three-down role, though Williams and McKinnon would also be reasonable picks to handle obvious passing downs. The team's running backs accounted for 18.2 percent of the total targets last year, the 16th-highest rate in the league. That number was slightly lower in Mahomes' first season as a starter (2018 - 16.9 percent) and slightly higher in his second year (2019 - 19.9 percent).
Edwards-Helaire had nine carries for 64 yards during Kansas City's 31-9 loss to Tampa Bay during Super Bowl LV. He also secured two of three targets for 23 yards. Edwards-Helaire resurfaced as the clear No. 1 back while Darrel Williams (two carries) and Le'Veon Bell (zero touches) were relegated to backup duties, but with the Chiefs playing from behind almost from start to finish, he wasn't afforded many opportunities. Williams (seven targets) did see more action in the passing game than Edwards-Helaire, but he also had a costly drop in the third quarter on a would-be touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes. All things said, Edwards-Helaire put together a healthy rookie season, with 181 carries for 803 yards (4.4 YPC) and four scores across 13 regular-season games, in addition to 36 catches (54 targets) and one more touchdown. However, his production scarcely lived up to the first-round draft capital that was required to grab him in most fantasy leagues. After apparently breaking out with 161 rushing yards against the Bills in Week 6, Edwards-Helaire failed to break the 50-yard mark on the ground in all but two of his remaining seven contests. There's no question that Edwards-Helaire is talented enough to warrant consideration as a potential breakout candidate in Year 2, and he certainly stands to benefit from Kansas City's offensive line getting healthy, but this could shape up to be a pivotal offseason for the former LSU standout.
Edwards-Helaire (ankle/hip) was a full practice participant Thursday. This is the rookie's first full practice since he suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 15. He did return for the AFC Championship Game, but the Bills limited him to seven yards (and a TD) on seven touches and 49 percent snap share. It's possible Edwards-Helaire takes on a larger share of backfield work in the Super Bowl, at which point he'll be another two weeks removed from the initial injury.
The Chiefs listed Edwards-Helaire (ankle/hip) as a limited participant on Wednesday's estimated practice report. Edwards-Helaire returned from a month-long absence to suit up in last weekend's 38-24 win over the Bills in the AFC Championship Game, taking six carries for seven yards and a touchdown while playing 49 percent of offensive snaps. He should be ready for the Feb. 7 Super Bowl matchup with the Buccaneers, likely splitting work out of the backfield with Darrel Williams. The Chiefs also hope to have Le'Veon Bell (knee) available, though his role isn't likely to be significant behind the top two options on the depth chart.
Edwards-Helaire registered seven yards and one touchdown on six carries while catching one of two targets for zero yards during Sunday's 38-24 win against Buffalo in the AFC Championship Game. The first-round rookie back hadn't appeared in a game since Week 15, having been beleaguered by a left ankle sprain and a left hip strain suffered during the Chiefs' win over New Orleans. Edwards-Helaire was a limited participant throughout the practice week, however, and he ultimately showed enough to the training staff to earn his first career playoff nod. While Le'Veon Bell (knee) was deemed inactive Sunday, Darrel Williams paced the backfield in carries (13) and rushing yards (52) while registering Kansas City's only other rushing score of the evening. Edwards-Helaire may have more of a role in the Super Bowl, as he'll be afforded two weeks to recuperate further before a Sunday, Feb. 7 matchup against the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay, the first team in league history to host a Super Bowl at its home stadium, boasts the NFL's most prohibitive rush defense.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/26||Los Angeles Chargers||14||16.75|
|6||10/17||@Washington Football Team||3||14.24|
|8||11/01||New York Giants||16||17.50|
|9||11/07||Green Bay Packers||27||20.33|
|10||11/14||@Las Vegas Raiders||29||22.38|
|14||12/12||Las Vegas Raiders||29||22.38|
|15||12/16||@Los Angeles Chargers||14||16.75|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||181||803||4||36||297||1||139|