The Arizona Cardinals bamboozled a number of fantasy owners in Week 7 when they deemed running back David Johnson active. However, after much debate over his playing status heading into the game, Johnson would touch the ball just one time last Sunday before heading to the sidelines for the entirety of the contest.
Yet, in a somewhat surprising turn of events, not only did the Cardinals not miss their former all-pro running back, they somehow looked better without him. The reasoning behind that? None other than Fordham University’s own Chase Edmonds.
Edmonds has now lit up defenses for three consecutive weeks and is in line for starter duties this week with Johnson ruled out for the team’s matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
Does Edmonds become a fantasy must-start in his new lead-back role on Sunday? Or will he fail to live up to the large and rapid expectations placed upon him? Let’s take a look.
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Chase Edmonds’ Fantasy Outlook vs. New Orleans Saints
Chase Edmonds has gone from fantasy irrelevancy to fantasy royalty over the last three weeks. From Week 5 through Week 7 Edmonds was sandwiched between the likes of superstars such as Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook, ranking as the fourth-leading scorer at his position with 22.4 points per game.
While Edmonds may have been a viable starting option in both Week 5 and Week 6, it was fair to question if his production was sustainable. Edmonds seemed more like a flash in the pan than the real deal, mostly because of his touches. Over those two weeks, Edmonds averaged just 6.5 carries.
However, with David Johnson hobbled in Week 7, Edmonds took full reign of the lead back duties in Arizona and ran with it. He would go on to torch the New York Giants to the tune of 150 total yards, three touchdowns, and 35 fantasy points. Yet arguably the most impressive takeaway from Edmonds’ brilliant performances was the volume he received. While the running back had been cast as more of a skat-back due to his smaller frame, the 205 pound Edmonds touched the ball a total of 29 times last week.
The Saints Have Been a Nightmare for RBs This Season
With Johnson missing this week’s matchup, and knowing that Edmonds is more than capable of taking on a heavy workload, what is his fantasy forecast for an imposing matchup with the New Orleans Saints?
The Saints get type-cast as a finesse team, likely because of their firepower on the offensive side of the ball. However, their defense is more than stingy, especially when it comes to defending the run. New Orleans allows the ninth-fewest rushing yards per game this season. They fare even better in terms of fantasy, where they surrender just the fourth-fewest points to opposing running backs in 2019. Since Week 1, oppositions’ leading rushers have averaged just 3.3 yards per carry against the Saints. That group of runners includes studs such as Ezekiel Elliott, Chris Carson, and Leonard Fournette.
Just because New Orleans has been stout against the run doesn’t mean Edmonds’ hopes of putting up a productive fantasy outing are left for dead. The Saints have allowed an opposing running back to rack up at least five receptions in all but one of their previous five games. Over their last two contests, they’ve allowed a whopping 17 receptions to the position.
While David Johnson is known for his impressive running ability, let’s not forget that he has seen an eye-popping 41 targets through six games this season. The Cardinals involve their running backs in the passing game as much as any team in football. Luckily, Edmonds has flashed an impressive ability to serve as a productive receiver out of the backfield.
Should You Start or Sit Chase Edmonds in Week 8?
Many want to peg Edmonds as an RB1 lock based on one lone game of significant usage. That, and the fact that owners had to spend an abundance of FAAB money to acquire his services. However, I’m not buying it, at least to that extent.
New Orleans has stoned-walled players way more talented than Edmonds this season. Yet, the Cardinals running back should see a plethora of touches in both the run and pass game to make him a viable starter for your fantasy lineups, just not as your first option at the position. Edmonds is a mid-range RB2 on Sunday.