Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a good but not great rookie season. He flashed excellence, but the consistency wasn’t there. Edwards-Helaire's rookie campaign could have been limited by any number of factors, but as he enters his sophomore season, his ceiling can raise for 2021.
Edwards-Helaire finished his rookie season with 1,100 total yards (803 rushing and 297 receiving) along with five touchdowns (four rushing and one receiving). He had an average draft position (ADP) sitting right around the eighth overall pick in the first round of fantasy drafts. Those stats are good for a rookie, but they're not top-10 fantasy running back worthy.
Edwards-Helaire finished the 2020 fantasy season as the 22nd-ranked running back in fantasy. He had a couple of monster games, but there were many games that were forgettable. The offensive line struggled to open up holes and the rookie had trouble creating on his own consistently.
This season should be much better up front for the Chiefs. With a projected starting offensive line that could be completely overhauled, Edwards-Helaire could have a big bump in production. Yards per game and touchdowns should all see an increase in year two.
Another part of Edwards-Helaire's repertoire that wasn’t highlighted as much as many experts anticipated was his role in the Chiefs passing game. It’s expected that he could line up in the slot more this season and see a bump in receptions and receiving yards. More than one receiving touchdown seems like a good possibility. This would especially be helpful for points per reception (PPR) leagues.
Beyond Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs have the best quarterback in the NFL and a multitude of weapons that will make it difficult for defenses to focus on stopping the second-year back. He is also likely to be getting the bulk of the workload ahead of Darrel Williams (who could be a handcuff option to Edwards-Helaire later in your draft) or the winner of the Jerick McKinnon/Darwin Thompson camp battle.
If the offensive line comes together the way many are anticipating, Edwards-Helaire's numbers could look very solid in 2021. Some projections show him having around 1,200 yards rushing, 550 yards receiving, and 12 total touchdowns. Those numbers would put him squarely in the mix to be a part of the top-10 fantasy running back conversation. This would also be about the production many were hoping to see out of Edwards-Helaire in his rookie season.
Currently projected as the 10th-best fantasy running back heading into the season, you will likely need to draft Edwards-Helaire in the second round if you want to snag him in your fantasy draft. If he falls into the third round, do not pass on him if he lands in your lap at that point.
Reid has a tendency to coach up solid running backs and it lends to some solid fantasy numbers. In fact, Reid has coached top-10 fantasy running backs in 15 of his 22 years as a head coach. Of course, it helps when you have names like Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles among those running backs. Could Edwards-Helaire be the next great running back under Reid?
If things fall the right way this season, Edwards-Helaire could produce first-round-running back type numbers and, barring injury, it would be considered disappointing if he finished outside of the top-10 in fantasy points for running backs by the end of the season. Some of his highlights from last season give you a glimpse of what he could become.
If you’re lucky enough to snag Patrick Mahomes and Clyde Edwards-Helaire for your fantasy roster, then consider yourself a contender. The Chiefs offense has the potential to be elite and that will only lend to strong fantasy numbers across the board. Edwards-Helaire is at the top of my board for breakout running back candidates in 2021. You’re not going to want to see Edwards-Helaire dominating the league on another roster, so make him a priority on draft night.