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Countdown to 2021 fantasy football drafts: Clyde Edwards-Helaire No. 25

Clyde Edwards-Helaire comes in at 25 in our fantasy football rankings countdown to the 2021 NFL season.

Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs during training camp at Missouri Western State University on July 28, 2021 in St Joseph, Missouri. Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs first-round pick in 2020, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, comes in at 25th overall in our fantasy rankings. This would be a big jump from his rookie season, but there was plenty of meat left on the bone for Edwards-Helaire after an uneven rookie season. But, there is reason for optimism in an offense that can often move the ball at will.

To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.

Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.

The official fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.

No. 25, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs, RB

Edwards-Helaire finished 2020 ranked 21st in PPR scoring and was beaten out by some pretty inauspicious names. He did miss three games with injuries that slowed him down in the latter half of the season. He now gets a chance to do it all over again, and he’s got plenty of fantasy upside in 2021.

Competition for touches

Darrel Williams should see a good portion of work and I could see 65% of the work for Edwards Helaire to 35% for Williams. Edwards-Helaire isn’t going to be a workhorse in a pass first offense, but will see a big percentage of targets and that’s where he’ll make his fantasy living.

Team offensive expectations

Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in the league and the Chiefs have a Top 3 offense. That shouldn’t change this season barring injuries. And with Sammy Watkins gone and no strong WR2 to replace him, Edwards-Helaire should factor even more in the passing game this season.

What’s his upside?

Edwards-Helaire didn’t live up to expectations in 2020, but fatigue and his late season injury likely played a big role in that. He told reporters at the start of training camp:

In the Super Bowl, I was probably about 85% — close to 90%. But being able to rest was kind of the big thing … Before that, I had a 15-game championship season with LSU. Three days after that, I was already training and we hopped right into the season, last year. It was kind of a rolling two years for me of nothing but football. Just having the time to finally let my body recover, and then specifically my training in the offseason and rehab got me where I am right now.

A fresh and seasoned Edwards-Helaire should be primed for a big season on a team with no real third targets in the offense. His ability as a receiver and work in the red zone should lead to better luck getting into the end zone this season.

What’s his downside?

Passing game usage and touchdown numbers will be the keys for Edwards-Helaire. He was unlucky in scoring touchdowns last season and he should easily top his five total touchdowns, but if he languishes again in that category, his downside would come into play.

Projection

220 attempts, 1,050 yards, 7 touchdowns — 50 receptions, 400 yards, 3 touchdowns