With a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, the Arizona Cardinals backfield is somehow navigating the season nicely. It’s been a mess in terms of knowing who is who and who will be the next in line to produce, which is a pain for fantasy football, but hey, it’s working in real life. It was all David Johnson during the first six weeks of the season: he averaged 20.2 fantasy points and scored four touchdowns combined on the ground and receiving. He was helped by Chase Edmonds mostly from Week 5 onward: he averaged 22.4 points in the weeks 5 to 7 span while scoring five touchdowns himself. Then, a trade with Miami brought Kenyan Drake to the team and he became the de facto no. 1 tailback scoring a touchdown in his first game (Week 9) and averaging 17.4 points in the three games since then.
Arizona comes back from their Week 12 by this weekend to face the Rams. Who is going to take the heavier workload on the backfield? Nobody knows. Johnson keeps playing a good amount of snaps but his usage is weird to the extreme. He didn’t have a touch in Week 11. Chase Edmonds could be back and the last time he played a full game he finished with 150 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. Drake should keep the no. 1 role but he hasn’t topped 80 yards from scrimmage in any of his last two games. That is the only sure thing in Arizona’s backfield now, that Drake is their leading back and the only known commodity available and in shape, no matter how good his outings are. He’s probably the only safe bet of the three.
Fantasy football analysis: Arizona Cardinals RBs Kenyan Drake, David Johnson, Chase Edmonds
Even with all the doubts and questions about what is going on in Arizona’s backfield, the Rams pose an average/good matchup for the unit. Los Angeles was killed by Baltimore’s rushers last Monday to the tune of 193 yards on the ground and seven receiving for two touchdowns. They also allowed more than 120 yards from scrimmage to two of the last three backfields they faced prior to that, and are giving up an average of 20.8 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields.
At this point and looking at the season’s trend it’d be hard to expect Johnson to regain his leading role—or any, for that matter—in the Cardinals attack. Drake should be the only rusher to trust in this offense with the chance of Edmonds making a comeback. The problem for fantasy owners is that Edmonds and Drake have yet to be active together in a game, so it’s hard to predict how the workload would be split among them. I’d consider Drake a flex play as the matchup isn’t bad and he’ll remain the go-to guy from the backfield, and pass on Edmonds at least this weekend until he makes it back to the field and Arizona shows the cards it’ll play going forward.
Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation
Sit David Johnson and Chase Edmonds
Start Kenyan Drake (flex)