The Arizona Cardinals’ backfield looks quite a bit different following the NFL’s free agency frenzy in March.
The Cardinals’ 2020 starting running back, Kenyan Drake, is off to Sin City after joining the Raiders on a two-year deal this offseason.
That leaves Chase Edmonds, who head coach Kliff Kingsbury has already expressed confidence in, as a prime candidate to garner the majority of the touches on the ground in 2021.
Of course, the Cardinals could still sign a free agent back or nab one in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. But as of Friday, it looks like Edmonds is the guy.
So much so ESPN’s Matthew Berry’s calling Edmonds one of fantasy football’s biggest winners this free agency.
Edmonds was fifth last season in fantasy points per touch (minimum 100 touches), and if you give him more touches, ergo ipso facto — sorry, already said that! — he should score more. In nine career games with 10-plus touches, he has average 15.1 PPG. Edmonds has true three-down back ability, and this is a good offense in which there will be a lot of opportunity (Kenyan Drake actually led the NFL in goal-to-go carries last season).
Although Edmonds was stuck behind Drake last season, the third-year running back still carved out a nice role in the offense. He set career marks in carries (97) and rushing yards (448), while adding a touchdown.
He was utilized even more in the passing game, catching 53 balls for 402 yards and four scores, all career highs. Edmonds averaged six yards per target as a pass catcher and made at least three receptions in 11 games.
His numbers translated to 168 fantasy points, per ESPN scoring, good enough for 25th among NFL rushers. Edmonds scored at least 10 points in eight games last season, highlighted by four showings of 15.6 points or more. For reference, Drake had nine such double-digit outings and four games of at least 16 fantasy points.
And with how things are shaking out so far, Edmonds is in for another step forward in 2021.
ESPN projects Edmonds finishing with 225 carries for 1,006 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, while adding 55 receptions for 417 yards and two scores as a receiver for 251.3 fantasy points.
If those projections hold true, Edmonds would blow Drake’s 192.2-point mark from 2020 out of the water.