I honestly think the best way to go about breaking down the Cardinals’ headache of a running back committee is to strip away the names and remove any bias from the whole situation. In a strange way, we should all be approaching Arizona’s backfield like the NFLPA didn’t grant to rights to their likenesses, sort of like Jim Kelly in “Tecmo Super Bowl.” So, with that in mind, I’ll be referring to the members of the team’s depth chart as Cardinals RB1, Cardinals RB2 and, of course, Cardinals RB3. I promise this won’t get confusing. Probably.
Let’s be chronological and start with Cardinals RB1, shall we? In Arizona’s past three games, Cardinals RB1 has played a position-best 148 offensive snaps, has garnered double-digit carries in each and every matchup, and, though he’s averaged an underwhelming 3.4 yards per attempt within this span, he’s stayed relevant in PPR formats by catching 11 passes. Meanwhile, Cardinals RB2 hasn’t benefitted from nearly the same amount of volume despite being healthy for all three games in that stretch of time. In fact, though Cardinals RB2 has seen his offensive snap count jump each of the past two weeks, he still only managed five touches in last Sunday’s 23-17 loss to the Steelers; however, one of those five did result in a 24-yard receiving touchdown. Finally, Cardinals RB3 has been active in Weeks 13 and 14, but his lone offensive touch in those pair of contests came during a successful fake punt. It would seem you don’t have to worry all that much about Cardinals RB3.
Fantasy Football Analysis, Arizona Cardinals RBs Kenyan Drake, David Johnson and Chase Edmonds
When you remove David Johnson’s name from the equation and the fact that he was a consensus first-round pick just a few months ago, it becomes pretty blatantly clear that “Cardinals RB2” can’t be trusted as anything more than a desperation FLEX play in most 12-man formats. Its not as if Kenyan Drake’s done anything significant as “Cardinals RB1” in the past few weeks to stave off Johnson and truly cement his status as Arizona’s lead back, but the fact you can count on Drake to rack up roughly 15 touches per week isn’t something to stick up your nose at. Not that either is especially tempting in Week 15, yet, if forced to choose between the two, Drake remains the better play.
Start Drake. Sit Johnson. Sit Edmonds.