Kenyan Drake left Sunday night’s game with the Seahawks with an ankle injury and, according to Ian Rapoport, he’ll miss multiple weeks with a high ankle sprain. While the speculation is that Drake will return this season, the sagas of Christian McCaffrey and Michael Thomas illustrate the perils of extended absences in-season.
Thomas hasn’t played since Week 1, and while one of those weeks was due to a suspension, he’s now nursing a hamstring injury suffered while trying to get back into football shape. McCaffrey left Week 2 early and just returned to practice on Monday. He’s not expected to play until Week 9 and still needs to get back into shape himself. So while I’d definitely suggest holding Drake as long as you can, you need to plan on being without him for the foreseeable future — if he followed McCaffrey’s timetable, Drake wouldn’t return until Week 14. That would be easiest if you have Chase Edmonds on your bench.
Edmonds has arguably been the Cardinals’ best back, dominating passing downs and averaging 6.1 yards per carry the few times Arizona handed him the ball. There have been people calling for Edmonds to get a larger workload for most of the season, and now he should see all he can handle. The last time this happened he was a Fantasy star. In Week 7 of 2019 he carried the ball 27 times for 126 yards and three touchdowns against the New York Giants. Edmonds was hurt the following week and then Drake took over the backfield.
For as long as Drake is out, I’d expect Edmonds to be a borderline top-12 back who is better in PPR than non. His efficiency will drop off with more touches, but the extra work will more than make up for it. Eno Benjamin could spell him occasionally, but unless something unexpected happens, Edmonds profiles as a workhorse back in Drake’s absence — Kliff Kingsbury said before the season he views Edmonds as a starting caliber running back. After the bye he’ll face the Dolphins, Bills, and Seahawks and he’ll be a starter against all of them.
The really interesting question will be what happens once Drake comes back if Edmonds crushes this opportunity like he did last time. As long as Edmonds performs and stays healthy, it’s kind of hard to imagine Drake walks back into 17 carries a game. In other words, there’s a non-zero chance Edmonds is a Fantasy starter the rest of the season.
Edmonds is rostered in 87% of leagues, so unless you get lucky in a 10-team league, adding him won’t be possible. That said, I’d be willing to buy high on him in the right situation. The current expectation would be somewhere between two-to-four weeks as a starter with the upside of a starter the rest of the year.
The one guy you can add is Benjamin. He’s the backup to Edmonds now, and Edmonds did get hurt the last time he handled a feature role. David Johnson, Drake, and Edmonds have all starred whenever they’ve led this backfield. Benjamin probably would too.
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