In this space I typically try not to write about players that I have written about before. It’s part player profile and part waiver wire. There are always exceptions though. I wrote entering Week 6 last year that this player should have been a Week 5 add (https://www.fantasysharks.com/fantasy-football-flavor-week-chase-edmonds-rb-arizona/), so as we prepare for Week 5 this year this seems like an appropriate time to learn from last year’s mistake.
Starting Arizona running back Kenyan Drake took a shot to the ribs at the beginning of the team’s final drive against Carolina Week 4 and did not return. How bad is his injury? We don’t know, but that’s actually a good thing in regards to your prospects in acquiring Chase Edmonds. Edmonds went onto touch the ball four times on that drive before scoring from 2 yards out. Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury was coy in the postgame about the nature of Drake’s injury, understandably so as I’m sure he won’t know the extent of it until after a MRI. Him using the words ‘does not believe it was anything major’ is your buying opportunity though. The longer we go without a meaningful update, especially given the carnage from last week, the more likely you are to be able to get Edmonds, regardless of where you are in waiver priority.
Drake has not played as poorly as his box scores may indicate, but has he played better than Edmonds? That’s the more meaningful question to ask yourself about this situation. Neither has separated themselves in the run game (Drake 3.8 yards per carry, Edmonds 3.7), but Edmonds has received a 12 percent target share while ceding the majority of running back snaps to Drake. Drake has run 85 routes to Edmonds’ 64, but received 12 less targets (five) so far on the season. Consider that then add an injury to the equation – who is more likely to get run (pun intended) in the near term?
Drake earned first crack at this job given the way he performed to close 2019, but let’s take a step back and look at this picture through a larger lens. This time last year Drake was a part time back that hadn’t handled a feature back load since high school on a floundering Miami team, while Edmonds was primed to take over for a clearly hobbled David Johnson in Arizona. Edmonds ran wild throughout October, but a hamstring injury just before the trade deadline prompted the trade for Drake, who similarly broke out when given a lead role. When given featured work both players performed at least reasonably well, but remember, this was Edmonds’ job before Drake. Then when presented with options for Drake in March, Arizona opted for the transition tag rather than extending or franchising him. Yes, the transition tag has value, but it shows less of a commitment from the team than the alternatives. Skepticism about his performance from the first quarter of the season is warranted and now there is an injury to consider as well. Regardless of the severity, is there any reason Arizona should not use Edmonds more this week?
Arizona has the New York Jets and Dallas teed up the next two weeks. The former, has allowed either 100-plus total yards or a score to opposing running backs in three consecutive games – and in the case of the game against Denver it was both. The latter, is coming off letting Cleveland run for more than 300-yards despite playing most of the game without star running back Nick Chubb. Whomever gets lead touches from this unit is due to break out. Edmonds has outproduced Drake through the season’s first four games despite being the clear short-side of the workload and now the incumbent has added an injury to the equation. Why should you expect Edmonds to be successful? Nothing’s changed; he’s the same talent he was last year, he just (maybe) has an opportunity (again). Similar to Chase Edmonds vs. David Johnson 2019, Chase Edmonds vs. Kenyan Drake 2020 is an add now, ask questions later proposition.
This week’s Flavor of the Week: Slow-cooked Ribs.
We now know that Chase Edmonds is not the takeout burrito you were prepared for in 2019. He’s better than that; with volume he’s something you want as much of as you can get your hands on. He’s been simmering, developing flavor for long enough. The only question now is when it will come and you want to find out with him on your roster.