Edwards-Helaire is a former first-round pick in the NFL Draft but he shouldn't be taken in Fantasy drafts until Round 10 this year. In fact, it's unclear exactly what his role will be. Isiah Pacheco appears locked in as the primary early-downs back and Jerick McKinnon has returned to play on passing downs. While Edwards-Helaire's season did end because of an injury in Week 11, the writing was on the wall before that. His snap percentage peaked at 56% in Week 4 and then fell every subsequent week, bottoming out at 6% in Week 10. He'll likely need an injury or a new team before he's a Fantasy starter again.
Edwards-Helaire is coming off a disastrous 2022. He had fallen behind both Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon even before suffering a season-ending high-ankle sprain in November.
The only good news for Edwards-Helaire is that the Chiefs didn’t make any notable additions to the backfield this offseason. That at least gives him a shot to reclaim a significant role.
But Edwards-Helaire will need to show us something before we can consider him anything more than an end-of-draft flier.
What We Learned Last YearEdwards-Helaire finished with career lows last season in carries (71), rushing yards (302), rushing TDs (3), and receptions (17).He opened the season as the leader of a three-man committee, ahead of Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon. Edwards-Helaire’s averages over the first six games:9.8 carries42.7 rushing yards0.3 rushing TDs3.0 targets2.7 catches22.8 receiving yards0.5 receiving TDsHis playing time started to sink in Week 7, when he registered a 27% snap rate. He played 17% and 6% of the offensive snaps in the Chiefs’ next two games.Edwards-Helaire went down with a high-ankle sprain in Week 11, was placed on injured reserve, and missed the rest of the regular season.He was finally activated from IR the week before the Super Bowl but was made a healthy scratch for that game.Edwards-Helaire ranked 25th among RBs in PPR points per game as a rookie in 2020 and then 29th in 2021.He missed 10 games across those two seasons with ankle, hip, knee, and shoulder injuries.Edwards-Helaire’s Pro Football Focus rushing grade has declined in each of the past two seasons. He ranked 58th among 67 qualifying RBs last year.Edwards-Helaire was better in the passing game last year, finishing 11th among 60 qualifying RBs. But McKinnon ranked eighth.
What to Expect in 2023The Chiefs return the same backfield this season, with Pacheco entering Year 2 and McKinnon back on a 1-year deal.That means there’s opportunity for Edwards-Helaire to reclaim a role, although he’ll head to training camp third in the pecking order.He drew some buzz in OTAs, with HC Andy Reid noting that Edwards-Helaire looked “quick and strong.”The Chiefs have ranked top-15 in total RB PPR points in four of QB Patrick Mahomes’ five seasons, including a fifth-place finish last year. So there’s plenty of fantasy production to be had here.
Edwards-Helaire has not panned out since being the first running back drafted in 2020. The LSU product has seen his carries and targets decrease each season and he has missed 17 regular-season games due to injury, including exactly seven in both 2021 and 2022. Edwards-Helaire's overall efficiency has been acceptable (his 2.42 YAC was actually sixth-best at RB last season), but he clearly fell behind Jerick McKinnon and presumed 2023 lead back Isiah Pacheco last season, and his days as lead back in Kansas City appear to be over. "CEH" is only 24 years old and the Chiefs' offense is obviously very good, so he remains worthy of bench consideration in 12-plus team leagues.