The likely Kansas City Chiefs starting running back, Damien Williams, has opted out for the 2020 NFL seasons due to COVID-19 concerns. He will sit the season out but who can blame him? The NFL players are just like you and me. They need to think of their families and themselves before anything else if that’s what they think is best.
From a fantasy/dynasty football perspective, this feels like the first “opt-out” seriously impacting our little world and deserves some attention.
Let’s get right down to it. This is huge news for rookie first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who the community was ready to anoint a top 20 back without hesitation before this news broke. CEH instantly vaults into the top 10-15 range in PPR formats with even greater upside.
It took him some time to truly break out during his time at LSU. But, he more than proved himself in his final season with the Tigers. He posted 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns on 215 carries along with 55 catches for 453 yards and one touchdown in 2019 on LSU’s way to a championship. Those 55 catches will grab most people’s attention, as they should. The majority of fantasy/dynasty leagues are half-PPR or full PPR. His pass-catching ability is a coveted skillset in the fantasy universe and it boosts his potential value.
The Chiefs threw about 100 targets to their running backs last year. While we can’t expect all those targets to funnel to CEH, we can certainly expect him to receive somewhere between 40-60 targets as the lead back. Target totals in the 40-60 range are one of the main attributes found in the top 10 fantasy running backs.
Helaire’s success is built off of quick feet and the ability to cut on a dime. He’s by no means the fastest player on the field (4.60 40 yard dash), but an underrated trait of his is a high BMI (32.4) which provides him with a low center of gravity and natural balance. His 5’7” 207-pound frame is ideal for a running back and for how the Chiefs want to utilize the position.
These are the kind of plays we hope to see and expect from him in the NFL. Clyde Edwards-Helaire uses his elite balance, quickness, and vision to make the covering linebacker and other pursuing defender miss, to pick up the first down.
Damien Williams opting out this season could create ripple effects in the Kansas City backfield. Imagine Edwards-Helaire dominates in 2020 and the Chiefs realize they have no need for Williams. They have very little invested in him this coming season and could easily cut bait knowing they have their future back locked up. They can then address the position in the coming drafts or free agency. The odds are in Helaire’s favor and he’ll have every opportunity to prove himself.
It’s important to note Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s value just catapulted beyond reason and this could be a window to sell high. I know there’s a significant segment of the community that believes he might very well be a bust. If you find yourself in that camp and have him on your roster, you have been granted the most glorious opportunity.
P.S. Congratulations to anyone in SFBX, FCEliminators, or any casual league who selected CEH in the third round or later. You could have a league winner on your hands!
Thank you for reading. If you have any thoughts or would like to discuss, you can find me on Twitter @WillieBeamanDFF.