Typically I start my articles with a synopsis of the actual player in question, but I’m going to take a slightly different approach this week than most. Let this situation be a lesson in team management. No, I’m not about to go down a handcuffing worm hole; I’m taking a slightly different path. The purpose of the bench at this stage of the season is to maximize potential future value. The waiver wire is not any different than those pesky weeds in your yard. You may pick them clean one week, but new ones will develop next week. There is no reason to have replacement level options on your bench at any time in standard leagues, whether that’s in the form of a backup tight end, backup quarterback or a mediocre running back/wide receiver filling in for a starter. Should you need one of those options in a future week a new batch will be available to you. Right now, your approach to your bench is to accumulate players who could be difference makers. Enter Chase Edmonds. You’re reliant on waiver priority to add him now and yes you should use it on him, but this is the sort of stock you should scour for once this week’s waivers process. Not Week 6 Edmonds, but Week 5 Edmonds. Since we’re in Week 6, though, here’a primer on this situation.
David Johnson injured his back. No, we have no idea how significant or not of an injury it actually is. The important takeaway is that it is a back injury. These can be anywhere from a blip on the radar to something that lingers all year and beyond and there’s really no way of anticipating which it will be at this point. This is why you’re prioritizing Chase Edmonds – that unknown. Not just because he’s a starting running back. As I wrote two weeks ago regarding Wayne Gallman and earlier in this article, now is not the time of year to be adding weeds, unless you need one this week. You’re prioritizing him because he’s a good player. His elusiveness and tackle breaking ability has been on display as he’s scampered for 6.7 yards per carry so far this year. You can feel the energy he runs with just watching his carries on whatever device from which you’re viewing. Arizona coaches have noticed as his responsibilities have increased with each passing week – Week 1: one touch, 11 percent snap rate, Week 2: three touches, 40 percent, Week 3: four touches, 12 percent, Week 4: six touches, 21 percent, and Week 5: 11 touches, 36 percent. Weeks 2 and 5 were David Johnson injury fueled, but you can see the trends already heading in his direction even without a David Johnson injury.
Where does he win? His burst. It’s where he’s always won, but he’s added wrinkles to his game, too. He was criticized as a prospect for not running decisive or with any consistency, but those weaknesses have not been apparent in his limited opportunities both last year and this year. Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury talked about how he was surprised about his abilities as a pass catcher this summer and discussed role expansion after the Week 4 loss against Seattle. He’s not physically imposing at 5-foot-9 and 205 pounds, but he uses his compact frame well. He may lack creativity nor run away from defenders in the open field, but they aren’t deal breakers when you come with the rest of the set of tools Edmonds possesses.
Arizona’s upcoming schedule only helps matters too. Atlanta has a long history of struggles against running backs, the New York Giants defense has only managed to slow down a hapless Washington team, and for as strong as New Orleans is, its linebacker corps is vulnerable to a running back with Edmonds’ skill set. The intersection between skill, situation and (potential) opportunity. That’s where we find ourselves this week with Edmonds.
This week’s “Flavor of the Week” is a takeout burrito. A takeout burrito always sounds like a good idea. The great unknown is what your body says about that decision later. We don’t know if things will turn south (Johnson’s injury is not serious) or if it will be a completely satisfying experience, but either way I still want that burrito right now.