This Clyde Edwards-Helaire Fantasy Rookie article was written in two parts, a pre-draft profile written by Zack Patraw and a post-NFL Draft article written by Michael Hauff.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire Fantasy Forecast
While night one of the NFL draft was already loaded with surprises, the Kansas City Chiefs delivered one of the biggest jaw-droppers to the dynasty community when they closed out the first round by selecting Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of LSU. As stated in this article, the Chiefs were one of the teams that were ideal for Edwards-Helaire or any other running back entering this league. One of the reasons that the Chiefs looked as if they needed some new life in the backfield is the fact that they were one of just 11 teams to average less than 100-yards rushing on a per-game basis last season. On top of that, only one of their two running backs who had more than 100 carries last season is on the roster. In regards to his less than stellar 4.60 40-yard dash at the combine, blinding speed was never something that Edwards-Helaire was known for and with the dynamic passing game opening up lanes, any concerns with his speed should be alleviated.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire Fantasy value should be just as exciting in year one for redraft formats as he is in dynasty formats. One stat that comes from Graham Barfield and is important to remember is that dating back to 2001, Andy Reid has coached a top-20 fantasy running back in 15-of-19 seasons and 11 of those backs finished inside the top-10. Edwards-Helaire will work early and often in year one and the optimism translates just as smoothly to dynasty formats. On top of Edwards-Helaire now being linked to Andy Reid, the rookie running back is also going to be playing alongside the best quarterback in the game today, Pat Mahomes.
Something else to focus on for fantasy is that no matter if it is in redraft or dynasty, is that the Chiefs offense will utilize running backs in the passing game. This past season, Chiefs running backs totaled over 100 targets, and with Edwards-Helaire excelling in check down and other passing situations, this is an ideal fit. While this lends insight as to just how much the Chiefs could use another running back, while Damien Williams wound up being a Super Bowl hero for the Chiefs, he had just six games as an RB2 and seven-straight weeks outside of the top-24. In redraft formats, finishing as an RB2 should be considered the floor and in dynasty formats, the former LSU back should be the first overall selection in rookie drafts.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire Pre-Draft Profile
Clyde Edwards-Helaire took a major step forward this past year which helped the LSU Tigers with the National Championship. He flashed quickness and vision that may not have been as evident in years prior. Some may be concerned he’s a one-year wonder. This is more of a case where you can look at him and say that this is a prospect that has more tread on the tires and is beginning to complete his overall game. With what Edwards-Helaire brings to the table, he has shown he can be a three-down back.
- 5’7” 1/4
- 207 lbs.
- Age: 21
Edwards-Helaire is obviously on the smaller size when it comes to his height. Where his weight sits comes from mainly his lower half. His legs are like tree trunks, and that’s where a lot of his power comes from. How he got those tree trunks you ask? By being able to squat over 600-pounds.
NFL Combine Recap
- 40 Yard Dash: 4.60
- Bench Press: 15
- Vertical Jump: 39.5″
- Broad Jump: 123″
- 3 Cone Drill: N/A
- 20 Yard Shuttle: N/A
Edwards-Helaire was one of the few LSU players to test in the combine. Many chose to sit out after a long year winning the National Championship. He tested fairly well as he had the third-best vertical jump and the ninth-best broad jump out of the running back position. He didn’t have a great 40-time, but he wasn’t expected to run a blazing fast 40. That’s not his type of game so that shouldn’t be something of concern.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Edwards-Helaire put all of his strengths on display this season. He showed tremendous balance in his game; some of the best in this class. He always seems to be under control in contact and when he’s going from cut to cut. He’s like a bowling ball that can just bounce off of tacklers and remain upright. His patience is something that can remind you of the Le’Veon Bell days. It’s nearly elite already. He flows down the line and reads his blocks and uses his short-area quickness to burst through the open hole. He reads his blocks well and has phenomenal vision. He can set linebackers up in the hole and make a hard cut to the lane that just opened up. He’s smooth in the open field and can be tough to track down. He’s not going to outrun you, but he’s very slippery. He has a nice little spin move in contact where he dips his shoulder and basically rolls off of the defender and stays upright while keeping his legs moving. He’s a solid receiver as well. He worked nicely as a check-down option this year in the LSU offense.
Being that Edwards-Helaire is a really well-rounded prospect overall, there are a few things he needs to clean up. His pass blocking isn’t the greatest. He fails to win when he’s head up on a defender and can find himself getting pushed back into the quarterback’s lap. Part of the reason why he’s not the greatest in pass protection is that he wasn’t tasked with doing so that often and the lack of experience may be hindering him a bit. He also isn’t going to be a guy that you’re going to find blazing down the sideline and outrunning everyone on the field. He’s going to beat you in tight areas with his quickness, vision, and burst.
Best Fit: NFL Scheme
Edwards-Helaire has the talent to be a lead back on any team in the NFL. Dynasty owners just need to hope a team that needs a running back will land him. With his overall strengths, he’s best suited for a zone running scheme that allows him to maximize his patience and ability to burst through the lane. He’s not going to be a guy you have to manufacture touches to get him into open space. Allowing him to use his short-area quickness and physicality will bring his level of play up at the next level.
The thing with running backs and fantasy football is that they are the most dependent on the landing spots. Clyde Edwards-Helaire Fantasy value has potential in 2020, he could be considered a top-three running back on talent alone, but if he gets drafted by a team like the Vikings or the Giants who already have an established starter, he will become irrelevant. He has a ton of talent and if he lands with a team like the Chiefs or the Dolphins who are in need of a starting running back, you can consider him at the top half of your rookie drafts.