With Dobbins and Justice Hill going down with season ending injuries
just weeks apart, Gus is about the only guy left to drive the backfield
bus for the Ravens. Edwards has been ultra-efficient as a complementary
piece, so it remains to be seen if he can remain that way when asked
to carry a larger share of the workload. A near complete lack of
passing game chops hurts the offensive diversity much more than
Edwards’ fantasy numbers, as more carries, especially near the goal
line, is sure to make up the difference. With only unknown commodity
Ty’Son Williams to vie for carries with, Edwards suddenly becomes
a high floor RB2, especially against a middling Raider defense.
9/9 Editor's Note: Edwards
tore his ACL in practice Thursday. Ty'Son Williams becomes a viable
RB2 in Week 1.
While the Niners figure out their starting quarterback conundrum,
they can rely on the most effective running scheme in the NFL to
beat the Lions into submission. Detroit is sure to be chippy as
they open as big home underdogs in Week 1, so I expect San Francisco
to use the run game to control the clock and game tempo. This is
likely to be a near-even 50/50 backfield split while everyone is
healthy, but there should be enough volume, and positive game script
for both backs to see 12+ rushes. With a double-digit touch floor,
against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, look for Mostert
and Sermon to be strong multi-format FLEX plays this week.
Although I wouldn’t put it past him, Patrick Mahomes can’t
throw a touchdown pass on the bench, and the best way to keep him
there is to control the clock with a punishing running game. It
just so happens that Nick Chubb is up for the task! With Derrick
Henry, Chubb is one of the best pure runners in the NFL, able to
both dish out punishment, or glide past defenders for long touchdowns.
Cleveland had KC on the ropes in the divisional round game last
season, a contest where Chubb went over 5-yards-per-carry on 13
totes. Cleveland would like that number to be closer to 20 in one
of the premier matchups of Week 1. If the game stays close it will
be because of Chubb and the Cleveland run game. Fire him up as an
While there is no doubting his generational ability, there are too
many things working against Barkley in Week 1. First is the fact
he’ll only have about a week’s worth of live practices
before squaring off against Denver as he comes off that devastating
knee injury from a year ago. For a guy that relies on gnat-like
jump cuts and lateral acceleration that’s a scary proposition.
Let’s also take a look at the schedule, where the Giants play
three games in a 14-day span, so the likelihood that Barkley gets
a full 20-25 touch workload in the season’s first week is
incredibly wishful thinking. Best case scenario in Week 1 for Barkley
is 12-15 high leverage touches as long as the game is close. If
the game gets out of hand either way, he’ll be yanked. While
you simply cannot sit Barkley when he’s playing, temper your
early season expectations.
Singletary and Zack Moss have been in a preseason battle to lead
this backfield, and while it seems Singletary has come out on top,
a few things about this match-up dampened my enthusiasm. Volume
and efficiency are two things trending downward this week against
Pittsburgh. The Steelers swallowed runners up last season, including
in their Week 14 match-up last season. This offense is going through
Josh Allen even more than it did last year, and I expect a high
volume passing attack, especially if T.J. Watt doesn’t play.
Take a wait-and-see approach with this backfield before you commit.
A popular bounce-back candidate until an ankle sprain ended his
preseason, CEH remains a low ceiling bet, who is slowly becoming
injury prone in his very short career. It seems like both he and
Darrel Williams will be ready to roll this week, but these injuries
are making it more likely that this backfield morphs into a bigger
committee that we might have guessed. In brief preseason action
it looked as though Edwards-Helaire was the preferred option between
the 20’s, before giving way to Williams in the red zone. A
low rush volume, with little goal line work would push CEH into
the RB3/FLEX range in standard leagues.