One of the goals of the fantasy manager is to obtain players who form part of potent offenses. So when the Kansas City Chiefs spent a first-round draft pick on LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire last year, hopes were understandably high that the player would be an asset to fantasy managers as early as his rookie season. While he had his moments, there seemed to be an awful lot of meat left on the bone in his 2020 campaign. Let’s dive in and take a closer look, as we continue our Rookie Review series.
By the Numbers
Edwards-Helaire went off the board in fantasy drafts before the season around the RB7 spot. So straight away we can see that his managers did not exactly get all they hoped. He enjoyed the opportunity share of a high-end RB2, accounting for 53.5% of the Chiefs’ rushing attempts. But despite this, he was only able to post low-end RB2 numbers. As for his efficiency, his rank with the FPOE/GM metric makes one’s eyes water. And not in a good way.
Indeed, Edwards-Helaire averaged a hearty 18.2 opportunities per game, with four games of 20 or more. He had only four games when he saw less than 16 rushing attempts or targets. Edwards-Helaire got off to a hot start with 25 attempts for 138 yards and a score in Week 1. He topped these stats with a 26/161 line in Week 6. But in the rest of the season, Edwards-Helaire never had more than 16 rushing attempts in a game. His best yardage total was 79 in Week 16.
Edwards-Helaire found the end zone in Week 1 against the Texans. But to call him a frequent touchdown scorer would be an exaggeration. He scored three more times on the ground, with two coming in Week 11 against the Raiders.
One of the major tools in Edwards-Helaire’s belt coming into the season was his pedigree as a receiver. In 2019 for LSU, he caught 55 of his 58 targets for 453 yards. He wasn’t this dominant for the Chiefs, although far from a dud in the passing game. Edwards-Helaire saw three or more targets in ten games, seeing eight twice. He had three games with at least five receptions and topped 20 yards receiving six times.
Edwards-Helaire wasn’t everything his fantasy managers hoped he would be. But he wasn’t a complete disaster, either.
He wasn’t exactly a league winner, though. After three RB1 weeks in his first six games, Edwards-Helaire finished among the top 12 scorers at the RB spot just once between Weeks 7 and 15. Mind you, he was the overall RB2 in Week 11. So there is that.
In order to find players who enjoyed comparable seasons, I did what we’ve done in the past when carrying out this series. I set the RotoViz Screener to find rookies from 2010 to 2020 and selected some basic production and usage numbers as variables. Then I asked the Screener to find seasons comparable to my target player — in this instance, Edwards-Helaire.