Being selected as the first RB off the board in the 2020 draft, Clyde Edwards-Helaire was thought to be the piece that would make the Kansas City Chiefs offense truly unstoppable. Coming off an LSU national championship season where he was their most important offensive player, most important, not best, just to clarify, Edwards-Helaire was a perfect fit for the Chiefs offense. At the beginning of the season, he showed why he was drafted in the first round by rushing for 138 yards and 1 touchdown in his first NFL game. Injuries slowed him down throughout the 2020 season, but “Clyde the Glide” will look to bounce back this season as a great weapon for Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid.
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Edwards-Helaire had a rollercoaster year in 2020. He had two games where he rushed for 130+ yards, but he also had 7 games where he failed to reach 50+ yards rushing. This is not the type of production you want to see out of your top running back, but it makes sense when you consider that Edwards-Helaire only averaged 14.75 attempted touches per game. With fantasy monsters like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce hogging most of the touches, Edwards-Helaire operated more like an RB2 in 2020. Edwards-Helaire also suffered a hip and ankle injury late in the season, so we will see if that slows him down this season. However, I think there is a chance that Andy Reid will unlock Edwards-Helaire this season and turn him into the next LeSean McCoy.
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Edwards-Helaire should have a solid year as the #1 running back on the Chiefs. Having Patrick Mahomes as your quarterback opens up a ton of running lanes, and it’s not like Edwards-Helaire is some slouch, to begin with. He can juke any defender out of his shoes and can run routes out of the backfield. Edwards-Helaire has a low center of gravity and strong legs, which allows him to run downhill hard and makes it hard for any defender to tackle him. While he might not get the same amount of touches as other running backs do, but Edwards-Helaire is the type of player to make his touches count. If you manage to get this guy as your RB2, then you should have your eyes set on the playoffs and championship.
ADP & Auction Value
ADP: 33, Rounds 2-3, RB19
Auction Value: $25
Right now, Edwards-Helaire is slated to be the 19th running back off the board and right in the mix with guys like Miles Sanders, J.K Dobbins, and David Montgomery. Edwards-Helaire deserves to be on the RB2 list because he will never leapfrog guys like Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara as the top running back in fantasy. This is because of his lack of touches compared to those guys. However, he might be the best option of those RB2’s because of his catching ability. Kansas City likes to throw him screen passes and check-downs, which racks up major points in half-PPR leagues.
Touches and longevity issues could limit Edwards-Helaire in 2021. As mentioned earlier, Edwards-Helaire isn’t the best offensive weapon on his team, so he touches the ball less. When you are third fiddle behind Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, the pecking order says that you touch the ball a lot less than maybe you deserve. Size is a concern for him as he only stands at 5’8” 207 lbs. He has also suffered a pretty nasty-looking ankle and hip injury in the same play against the Saints in Week 15 of last season. These factors are something you should be mindful of when drafting him, but he should be productive for your team regardless.
Edwards-Helaire could become a top 10 running back in fantasy if he has a great year in 2021. Where I think he will shine is in the passing game. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense like to get the ball out to their playmakers quickly despite what the ESPN highlights show. So that means that there are a lot of check-downs and screen passes that Edwards-Helaire could gobble up this season. This is extremely important in a full PPR or half PPR league. Edwards-Helaire is not useless in standard scoring as he is the team’s feature back and scored the most rushing touchdowns on the team. Edwards-Helaire could have a top 10 year for running backs if Kansas City utilizes him the right way.
Kansas City Chiefs Offense
What is there not to love about the Kansas City Chiefs offense? You want a franchise all-time great QB? Boom. You have Patrick Mahomes. You want some of the fastest wide receivers that have ever been assembled on the same team? Bang, you have Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. You want one of the best receiving tight ends to ever play the game? Pow, you have Travis Kelce. Kansas City can do anything they want on offense, and it’s a miracle they don’t average 50 points a game. This team had the most yards, scored the 6th most points, and scored the 6th most touchdowns in the NFL last season. This team also revamped their offensive line after almost getting Patrick Mahomes killed in the Super Bowl. Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz might have left, but the Chiefs were busy this offseason by trading for Orlando Brown Jr. and signing veterans Joe Thuney and Kyle Long from free agency. Kansas City will look to establish the run more this season as the only blemish on their almost perfect offense is that they ranked 16th in rushing yards last season.
Strength of Schedule
The Chiefs have to play the AFC North and NFC East along with the Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders twice and the Packers, Bills, and Titans once. This would give them the 11th hardest schedule for the 2021 season based on opponents’ combined winning percentage in 2020. The road to the Super Bowl in the AFC still goes through Kansas City, but clinching that #1 seed won’t be easy for the Chiefs. The AFC North is one of the hardest divisions in football because they house the Ravens, Browns, Steelers, and Bengals. All of those games will be difficult to win as well as their always tough division rival games against the Chargers, Raiders, and Broncos. The Chiefs have to play 5 division winners this upcoming season in the Football Team, Steelers, Packers, Titans, and Bills, and that’s to be expected as the reigning AFC Super Bowl participants. Every team will be looking to give them their best shot, but some of their easier games are against the Eagles, Giants, Bengals, and Cowboys. Regardless of the schedule, I still expect the Chiefs to be top dogs of the AFC and to be competing for a Lombardi Trophy in 2021.
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