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Dynasty Player Profile: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (2022 Fantasy Football)

The 2022 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and we’ll have you covered with everything dynasty fantasy football as you prepare for your startup and rookie drafts. We’ll have many dynasty veteran profiles like this one, rookie profiles, strategy discussions, and featured rankings in our upcoming 2022 Dynasty Rookie Draft Kit.

Andrew Erickson Mock Draft

Career Contextualization

Clyde Edwards-Helaire was taken in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs but has failed to live up to his draft expectations. 

Even when deemed healthy, he has dealt with injuries, and the Chiefs continue to rotate in other backs - Le'Veon Bell, Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon

Although his rookie season showed signs of hope - RB11 through his first six professional games - the step backward in Year 2 is cause for concern. 

CEH finished 59th out of 64 qualifying running backs in yards after contact per attempt (2.4) and third to last in target rate per route run at the RB position (13%). The poor rushing efficiency is bearable, but the poor receiving usage is hard to ignore, especially considering that his calling card at LSU was catching balls out of the backfield.

His 0.73 yards per route run ranked 64th out of 68 qualifying running backs - significantly worse than teammates Williams (1.28) and McKinnon (1.15). 

Current Situation

The Chiefs signed RB Ronald Jones to a one-year deal in free agency to help bolster their running back room behind Edwards-Helaire. The former Buccaneer took a significant step backward in 2021, being regulated to strict backup duties after losing the starting gig in Tampa Bay to Leonard Fournette. And even when loaded to take on the bell-cow role with Fournette sidelined during the end of the season, RoJo failed to fire. He earned 20 carries in Week 16 versus the Panthers but totaled just 65 yards.

Jones is a one-dimensional grinder back whose fantasy value will rely on carry volume, offensive line play, and overall offensive efficiency. He will have fantasy appeal as a late-round running back if he can carve out an early-down and/or goal-line role in a high-powered Chiefs offense. He is my RB40 in my early 2022 running back rankings

Some may feel that Jones' addition is the final nail in the coffin for CEH, but it's not that black and white. Don't get me wrong, though: Jones is a significant threat to earn more carries than Edwards-Helaire after CEH posted worse rushing efficiency numbers than in his rookie season. But full transparency - Jones was not much better, ranking 51st in the same category (2.5). 

General Prediction for 2022 and Rest of Career

It's a positive sign for Edwards-Helaire that the team brought in Jones instead of re-signing McKinnon or Williams. Those ex-Chiefs backs were proven pass catchers and limited CEH's role as a receiver.

I'd presume that Edwards-Helaire will fully take over the primary pass-catching role - which was why the Chiefs drafted him in the first round - while also working in tandem with Jones as a rusher on early downs. 

Jones splitting work might also help keep CEH healthy after his 10 missed games the past two seasons. 

Therefore, I still prioritize Edwards-Helaire over Jones in fantasy, especially with their startup ADPs likely to converge in the coming months. CEH is my RB31 in my early 2022 running back rankings.

Still, don't count out the Chiefs from adding another back - specifically a pass-catcher - in the draft. That would further hurt Edwards-Helaire's value, which is already in free fall.

He's a hold across the board due to the negative sentiment surrounding his value because of the signing of RoJo. The best approach would be to sell him to a very RB-needy team as the perceived "starter" or sell him after a solid game early on.

Either way, CEH isn't a running back who should be highly regarded in dynasty circles.

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