Clyde Edwards-Helaire Rest of Season Fantasy Outlook After Dazzling Week 1 Debut vs. Texans - Roto Street Journal
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Clyde Edwards-Helaire Rest of Season Fantasy Outlook After Dazzling Week 1 Debut vs. Texans

Clyde Edwards-Helaire was perhaps the easiest lay-up fantasy football prediction of 2020.

Twelve of Andy Reid‘s last 16 RBs (75%) have finished Top-8 in FPPG, largely due to monstrous workloads. None of those RBs also played alongside the NFL’s greatest QB, within an offense that could shatter record books.

As if the talent + usage + surroundings gold mien couldn’t get more obvious, Reid told us Helaire was “a better Brian Westbrook.” 

Hell, even Damien Williams opted out to further clear the path.

Truly, this fantasy alley-oop couldn’t have been served up on a shinier silver platter, despite many in the community choosing to ignore or argue against it. (Not me. Victory lap. CEH was my No.4 overall).

Thankfully, Helaire emphatically slammed the dunk home during his dazzling Week 1 Debut:

25 carries, 138 yards, 1 TD good for 19.8 FPs.

Helaire was the Chiefs’ offensive engine, illustrating Reid’s upmost faith in him right from the jump. His vision, burst, lateral agility, and tackle-breaking abilities were as advertised, if not better. 98 of his yards (71%) came after contact. He not only belonged, he was among the best players on a field loaded with talent.

The best part? This game only showcased Helaire’s floor.

In one of the stranger flexes you’ll ever see, Anti-CEH stans are taking victory laps around his lack of receiving usage and goalline struggles. My thoughts? That’s like a boxer saying, “Yeah, I got my ass kicked. But I could’ve gotten it kicked a whole lot harder!”

Just because we “only” saw Helaire’s beautiful jab-game doesn’t mean the huge uppercuts aren’t on the way.

Let’s address these concerns, for delusional detractors hunting for warts.

1) Should we be worried about Helaire’s lack of GL success?

Indeed, Helaire’s inability to punch in any of his 6 attempts from within the five yard-line was… frustrating. Yes, his huge night had the potential for far greater.

Instead of greedily wallowing in “what could’ve been,” why not appreciate that, in one game, Helaire saw more five-yard carries than Le’Veon Bell or Miles Sanders saw in all of 2019. Focus on how insanely valuable his current and future workload looks, not his fleeting lack of success.

Quite frankly, I don’t know many NFL backs who would’ve scored on the majority of Helaire’s attempts. He was hit in the backfield every time, and the Texans boast one of the stiffer defensive tackle fronts in the NFL. Once Houston can tighten and cram up the box, that’s going to be a tough defensive front to pound the ball into.

So sure, you can panic if, in Week 2, the plodding Darrel Williams sees the majority of goalline snaps. I don’t expect it for a second.

More likely, Reid will get more creative in his Helaire Red Zone usage. As Reid did with Wesbtrook, he’ll get Helaire outside on tosses, counters, screens, and shovel passes. We already saw what Helaire can do with the smallest of creases last night, and Reid will undoubtedly visit the film to find ways to get him more grass when they get in tight.

If anything, just be happy Helaire’s 20+ TD upside has been confirmed. This offense will afford him plenty more scoring opportunities, and you’ll be getting 2-3 TD nights more often than not.

2) Should we be concerned about Helaire’s lack of receiving usage?

No way to sugar-coat it: Helaire was a literal 0 in the passing game versus Houston:

If you can use to leverage some form of sick Buy-Low, please do so without a blink of hesitation.

Recall, the main reason we were, and remain, excited about Helaire is his receiving ability:

So while Helaire’s beautiful fit as a runner is nice, it’s his upside in the passing game that truly vaults him into “Fantasy Cheat Code” potential.

As a pure pass-catcher, Graham Barfield, one of the premier RB evaluators for his work in Yards Created, had high praise:

Brugler expands: “Excellent pass catcher in the screen game with clean routes and reliable ball skills (ranked second in the FBS in catches among running backs in 2019)…daring in pass protection, throwing his body around to chop down blitzers.

“With his high-level ball skills, he is dynamic in the passing game and shows the ability to shake defenders mid-route or hide behind blockers in the screen game… projects as an any-down player who can line up across the formation.”

Cosell acquiesces, labeling him an “effective as a receiver on angle routes, designed checkdowns, corner routes in high red zone.”

Helaire also was the Chiefs’ best pass-protector on a limited sample last night. He ran 18 routes to Williams’ 11, while both protected on 3 snaps. Helaire allowed 0 pressures (74.3 PBLK grade), compared to 1 pressure allowed by Williams (25.9 PBLK grade).

The simple takeaway? We haven’t even scratched the surface on Helaire’s ceiling:

Nevermind that Helaire “only” logged 66% of the snaps and ceded 9 touches to Williams. Every time Helaire is off the field, it’s doing the unstoppable Chiefs juggernaut O a disservice. Reid will realize this, ideally sooner than later.

As great as Helaire’s debut was, the “warts” only serve to remind us: the best is yet to come. He immediately fires shots for McCaffey’s crown, which he could steal in short order depending on just how highly the GL success and receiving work rebound.

Considering Helaire was already my No.4 overall player, he only had minimal room to rise on my 2020 Rest of Season Big Board and Rankings. Depending on Sunday’s action, he could rise as high as No.2, and has cemented his Top-4 status for the remainder of 2020.


  • Founder of Roto Street Journal. Lover of workhorse backs, target hog wideouts, and Game of Thrones. Aspiring to be the "Brady" and "Leo" of the fantasy universe.

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