Chase Edmonds finally gets his chance to be the lead back heading into his fourth season with the Cardinals. After sharing the backfield with Kenyan Drake for the past 3 seasons, he now shares the backfield with former Steeler James Conner. Edmonds is a solid back who can run and catch the ball with his blazing speed and shifty running style. But that’s not what Chase Edmonds is most known for.
Back in October of 2019, Edmonds was involved in one of the best troll fests in recent memory. The Cardinals played the Giants and David Johnson was supposed to start with Edmonds filling as his backup. Johnson played 3 snaps while Edmonds had 3 touchdowns. After the game, the Cardinals tweeted “You should’ve started Chase Edmonds in fantasy” which had fantasy owners across the U.S. fuming. One of those angry owners was Matthew Berry who passionately ranted for 6 minutes about the situation below. Even with James Conner taking some touches from Edmonds, expect Edmonds to catch a lot of passes for a very explosive Arizona offense.
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Edmonds operated more like a change of pace third-down back in 2020. Kenyan Drake was the bell cow downhill runner for the Cardinals while Edmonds was split out wide and ran more routes. Edmonds did not have much consistent success last season, he had 5 games where he scored under 5 points, but he was able to carve a spot on fantasy owner’s benches by being a receiving threat. Edmonds’ most successful week came when he played the Jets where he scored 17.7 on 3 carries for 36 yards and a touchdown and 5 catches for 56 yards. Edmonds is still young, he is only 25 years old, and with only the always injured James Conner competing with him for carries, expect an uptick in production from Edmonds in 2021.
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Edmonds is projected to be the lead back in Arizona in 2021, which is good news for fantasy owners. Edmonds did not touch the ball a ton last year as he only averaged 9.4 touches per game. To put this into context, Kenyan Drake averaged 17.6 touches per game. With not much competition in the backfield, Edmonds should explode in fantasy this year. He most likely will not be the first or maybe even second back, as Conner is more of a traditional pure running back, but Edmonds can make his money in the passing game. Edmonds gets a lot of check-downs and screen passes thrown his way as Arizona likes to throw the ball. With more touches heading his way, Edmonds could cement himself as a legitimate running back in 2021.
ADP & Auction Value
ADP: 64, Rounds 5-6, RB24
Auction Value: $15
Chase Edmonds is going to be like a penny stock in 2021. Low risk with a chance for a massive reward. Don’t be surprised if he flops, though, as he is ranked as the 24th best option at running back currently. He is surrounded by other backs similar to him like Damien Harris, Mike Davis, and Travis Etienne. Look, Edmonds is not one of the fantasy big guns, but there is hope for him because of his catching ability. None of the other backs around him get utilized in the passing game nearly as much as he does. Edmonds might be in the best offensive situation out of his grouping as well because Arizona is far and away the best offense of the four. Edmonds should be viewed as one of the lower-end RB2s, but he has a great chance of getting to the front of the fantasy limelight in 2021.
Edmonds has a low floor because we don’t know what he is capable of with a full workload. Edmonds had the most touches of his career in 2020, but could not do much with them. 448 rushing yards and 402 receiving yards translates to about 5.7 yards per touch which seems exceptional on the surface. However, a lot of those yards came in garbage time of games or times when opposing defenses were conceding yards so the clock would run faster. Jame Conner is also very likely going to be getting a lot of the early-down work, which will limit Edmonds rushing production. Edmonds might fall to the production of an RB3 or FLEX player, but his high reception rate will be valuable in PPR or half-PPR leagues.
Chase Edmonds could excel this year in fantasy because of the way he is used in the passing game. He has strong rushing competition with James Conner alongside him in the backfield, but he has zero competition in the running back who can also catch in Arizona. Edmonds has huge potential as a pass-catching running back, kind of like James White, and is ultra-valuable in leagues where receptions matter. At most, I can see Edmonds being a solid part of the RB2 tier, which is solid but not great.
Arizona Cardinals Offense
Welcome to the air raid offense. This style of offense came from college, along with Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, and has transformed into one of the more potent offenses in the league. Last season, the Cardinals scored the 13th most points and gained the 6th most yards in the league. The Cardinals have an MVP-caliber quarterback in Kyler Murray who has a cannon of an arm and can run like a punter returner. Not bad for a guy who is only 5’10”. Then pick your choice of who you want to get beat by on the outside. The Cardinals feature a steady dose of the dominant DeAndre “Nuke” Hopkins, the speedy Christian Kirk, and the never-aging Larry Fitzgerald. And to make matters worse for defenses, this team also added long-time great A.J. Green to this already loaded roster. The Cardinals compliment this great passing attack with running backs who can run the ball hard and can catch out of the backfield in the newly acquired James Conner and Matthew Berry’s best friend Chase Edmonds. This offense is borderline unstoppable on paper and should be the reason why the Cardinals make the playoffs.
Strength of Schedule
Playing in the NFC West automatically gives you a tough schedule and wouldn’t you know, the Cardinals have the 13th toughest schedule next season. It’s bad enough when you have to play loaded teams like the Seahawks, Rams, and 49ers twice a year, but Arizona also has to play the NFC North, AFC South, Cowboys, Panthers, and Browns. It’s good for the Cardinals to have some easy games sprinkled in with the gauntlet of more difficult games. Among the easy games are their games against the Lions, Panthers, Cowboys, Texans, and Jaguars. Those are 5 must-win games for their playoff hopes. The issue is that they have a lot more hard games than easy games because they have to play the Seahawks, Rams, 49ers, Packers, Browns, Vikings, Titans, Colts, and Bears. Sheesh, those are some brutal games to play, but some of those are more winnable than others. They will need to stay afloat in their division standings and beat 3 or 4 of those other teams outside of their division if they want to stay in the playoff hunt.
The other interesting thing to note about their schedule is their Week 7 game against the Texans. This is the first time DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt will be playing their former team. Both are going to be amped for that game and want revenge so expect a ground-breaking day from both of them.
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