Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Jonathan Taylor? Coming into the season this was the biggest question for fantasy GMs, both dynasty managers who were thinking long-term and redraft managers who wanted to know who would be better for this season. There were many different theories and believe me when I say, both sides thought they were 100% right.
After a monster Week 1 against Houston, CEH truthers were already taking their victory laps. That coming Sunday though, not only did Taylor show his pass-catching potential, Marlon Mack also was lost for the season. Bring on the Taylor truthers. While Taylor has been rather steady, albeit unimpressive thus far, Edwards-Helaire has been up and down for sure. With the entrance of Le’Veon Bell starting in Week 7, he may lose more than a bit of value, for this season at least. The real worry is how much value will he lose and does this affect his dynasty value as well.
When it comes to dynasty, the answer is a bit easier to decipher. So, we will conquer this area first followed by the more challenging question of what to do in redraft leagues. We know the Chiefs high powered offense is capable of supporting multiple weapons. But with Travis Kelce and Tyrek Hill already there, is there room for two RBs to thrive?
After being taken with the first or second pick in all but the rarest of dynasty leagues, it will be hard-pressed to find a manager willing to trade CEH for anything less than a boatload of assets. Even if the production looks to be taking a hit, managers refuse to admit so quickly that someone will not retain all the value they had at the start of the season. To be fair, it is only six weeks into his first season. So, if I were the one with Edwards-Helaire on my roster, I would not sell cheap either.
Le’Veon Bell may have his best days behind him. It is also possible he may still be capable of performing as he did in his prime. Either way, it is likely Andy Reid and the Chiefs brought in the disgruntled RB to help make a second straight Super Bowl push in 2020. Much like LeSean McCoy, Bell is more of a one-year rental and less of a multi-year compliment in the offense. It is clear the Chiefs and more importantly, Patrick Mahomes love their rookie. When your newly-minted $500 million QB asks you to draft someone, this is not really an ask. It is more of a polite demand. Mahomes got his way and he will make sure CEH is a featured part of the offense.
While the value of CEH may or may not have gone down for the remainder of this season, his dynasty value remains as high as ever. Not only is he going to be a top-five dynasty start-up pick next season, but if you were to redraft the rookies again right now, he would still be top three. This shows the confidence managers still have in him and the machine which is the Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes mind-meld. As long as they are together this is an offense you want a major piece of. CEH is a great way to have it for at least three seasons. Maybe even longer.
This is the more difficult place to put a value on Edwards-Helaire. We would have liked to see how the pairing between him and Bell co-existed this week but with COVID precautions in place, Le’Veon Bell was unable to participate in the Monday night game against the Bills. So, we will need to wait another week.
Bell has thus far not fared well away from Pittsburgh. With only 74 rush yards in two games this season and 3.2 yards per carry last season, it is challenging to get a read on his ability. Has it diminished to the point of him being relegated to a backup? Or was the Jets offensive line and coaching so dreadful he was bound for failure from the start? My feeling is a bit of both.
He has diminished a bit for sure. A one-year layoff will do this to an older runner. But the mish-mash offensive line did him no favors either. Combine this with the lack of any other weapons and his time in New York was set up for failure. Kansas City is a horse of a different breed.
The Chiefs offense is the antithesis of the Jets. They have the best QB in the NFL at the moment and arguable the top TE and a top-five WR as well. Bell will fit in extremely well on a veteran team who does not expect him to be a savior. Instead, he can simply meld in and take some pressure off the rookie.
After a Week 1 game with 138 yards and one TD, CEH has come down to earth a bit. He has not played bad by any means. He has come back to reality with mediocre games until Week 6 when he exploded again with 161 rushing yards. This is not a big deal for the Chiefs but for fantasy, it is not such a happy occasion.
After 92 receptions in college in 2019, Edwards-Helaire is having another good season with 21 receptions on 31 targets as a rookie. This puts him on pace for over 65 receptions and nearly 100 targets as a rookie. We also know what Bell can do in the passing game having over 80 receptions on numerous occasions in his time with the Steelers. This will be the main area in which Bell cuts into the production level of CEH. The real key is how much of a cut will it be. Will he take all the pass-catching work? Likely no. It may be far more than we hope though.
After Damien Williams opted out of the season, Edwards-Helaire was immediately being drafted at his ceiling of RB 5. To this point, he is RB 13 on the season. With the entrance of Bell this will take an even further hit. He will likely still finish as a top 24 RB on the season. Although it will be closer to 24 than it is 10 at this rate.
It is clear Andy Reid and the Chiefs do not care about your fantasy team. This is rude and needs to certainly be addressed with them. Until we are able to have our complaint heard, you can continue to start Edwards-Helaire each and every week. He still has an extremely high floor. His ceiling though is not nearly as high as it was a week ago.
That said, Bell has not been the pillar of health in his career. If something happens and he misses some time, Edwards-Helaire could easily take over this backfield and run with it. We know Reid likes using a bell-cow back. If he is given a reason to do so, he will use it. Do not trade away CEH. He will be fine moving forward. More importantly, you will not get a good return. So, you are better off keeping him.
Good luck the rest of the way. Man, this is a fun season isn’t it?
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