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Damien Williams vs. Clyde Edwards-Helaire camp battle resolved quickly

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The Chiefs have two starting caliber running backs in Damien Williams and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. How will their touches break down in the 2020 season?

Damien Williams of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. The Chiefs won the game 31-20. Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

UPDATE September 4: Edwards-Helaire is the sure-fire starter, but The Athletic’s Nate Taylor believes the rookie could split carries with Darrel Williams while he finds his rhythm in Week 1. He still has plenty of upside because of his PPR potential, but there’s a chance he could get off to a slow start in his NFL debut.

UPDATE August 31: Peter King is one of the many media members heaping praise on Edwards-Helaire. The rookie is sure to get a sizable number of touches with the Chiefs in 2020 and is being talked up as a potential first-round pick in fantasy drafts. None of Edwards-Helaire’s backups should come close to his usage.


UPDATE July 29: This camp battle is officially resolved. Damien Williams informed the Chiefs he is opting out of the 2020 NFL season. DeAndre Washington is coming off a decent amount of work in Oakland last year, but remains a late round flyer. Darwin Thompson, Darrel Williams, and others will compete for snaps, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire has effectively locked down the starting job.


In this series we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project, correctly, which players will win training camp battles.

The Kansas City Chiefs have what’s arguably the most dynamic offense in the NFL. Damien Williams has been a productive starting running back for the last couple seasons and can provide top-notch DFS value, but he isn’t worth much when it comes to season-long fantasy. Williams hasn’t cracked RB30 in standard or PPR leagues since becoming the starter for Kansas City. His pass catching ability is a great fit for the Chiefs, as they create a ton of space by spreading the field. However, Kansas City appears poised to make a significant upgrade.

LSU product Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the last first-round pick of this year’s NFL Draft and is expected to be highly involved in the Chiefs’ offense as a rookie. Despite his small frame, he’s proven he can be durable while running between the tackles and providing support as a receiver out of the backfield. There hasn’t been any indication that Edwards-Helaire will be handed the starting job, but his skill set makes him worth drafting earlier than most rookies.

Edwards-Helaire racked up 1,414 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns for the most explosive passing offense in college football last year and still managed to haul in 55 passes for 453 yards. Williams, on the other hand, has totaled 754 rushing yards and 53 receptions for 373 yards in two seasons with the Chiefs.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid has raved about how good he thinks Edwarsd-Helaire is and compared him to former Philadelphia Eagles stud Brian Westbrook. He seems like a perfect fit for the West Coast offense Kansas City runs. Williams is in the second year of a two-year extension he signed in 2018 and is only due $1.85 million this year, so he could very well be phased out to make way for a more consistent back with a higher ceiling.

Verdict

While Williams will likely remain involved in the Chiefs’ offense this year, Edwards-Helaire is a much more enticing fantasy football prospect that could finish top five at his position. Edwards-Helaire. Draft Edwards-Helaire as early as you can. You can wait until the later rounds to make a move on Williams.