Chase Edmonds, Mike Boone & Other Fantasy RBs Who Get 2021 Boosts
Getty Images. Pictured: Chase Edmonds, Chris Carson
The height of NFL free agency is behind us. With signings and trades shifting the league as a result, our analysts are here to break down the most noteworthy moves for fantasy football.
Below they highlight four fantasy funning backs whose value have seen the biggest boosts so far this offseason.
Free Agency Winners: RBs
|Aaron Jones, Packers|
|Chris Carson, Seahawks|
|Chase Edmonds, Cardinals|
|Mike Boone, Broncos|
Aaron Jones, Packers
Samantha Previte: I’m going with the rather obvious choice here: Aaron Jones.
The 26-year-old Packers’ star inked a four-year, $48 million contract extension before the legal tampering period opened, which will keep him in Green Bay until 2025.
In 2020, Jones rushed for a career-high 1,104 yards and scored 11 total touchdowns over 14 regular-season starts. He finished as RB5 in half PPR from Weeks 1-16 despite missing two games and sharing some of the workload with versatile backup Jamaal Williams.
Williams, 25, hit the free agency market and signed a two-year deal with the Lions. He was utilized in both the rushing and passing game, which should open up some additional touches for Jones. A.J. Dillon, the Packers’ 2020 second-round pick, is expected to take over as their backup.
Jones is in an ideal offense and fairly unrivaled backfield — a situation that has become increasingly rare of late. He is a locked-in RB1 and should finish inside the top five once again assuming he stays healthy.
Chris Carson, Seahawks
Sean Koerner: Carson re-signing with Seattle is great news for his fantasy value — he’ll continue to be the team’s workhorse for the next one to two seasons.
It’s unclear what the pass/run ratio will be under new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, but it likely won’t impact Carson’s fantasy value either way. He would thrive in either extreme, although he was able to post overall fantasy RB5 numbers in Weeks 1-5 of 2020 when the Seahawks #LetRussCook.
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals
Chris Raybon: The Cardinals lost Drake — who logged a 54.3% snap rate and averaged 17.6 touches per game last season — to the Raiders this offseason, leaving Edmonds in the driver’s seat to become an even bigger part of the game plan.
In 2020, Edmonds parlayed a 46.4% snap share and 9.4 touches per game into a top-30 fantasy finish in all formats, finishing with 850 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns.
That should be considered the floor for Edmonds in 2020 — any back the Cardinals draft is unlikely to top Drake’s 17.6 touches per game from last year — but the ceiling is much higher when taking into account rumblings out of the Arizona front office.
Weeks before Drake signed with Las Vegas, head coach Kliff Kingsbury randomly talked up Edmonds as a bell cow in early March. And after Drake’s departure was official, general manager Steve Keim lavished praise on Edmonds while throwing cold water on making a splash at the position.
Coachspeak should always be taken with a grain of salt, especially at this time of year, but it’s worth noting that Kingsbury’s actions in the one game that Drake missed last season back up the coach’s words: He deployed Edmonds on 96% of the snaps and fed him 28 touches in a Week 9 loss to the Dolphins. And the year before, Kingsbury flat out benched David Johnson for Edmonds.
Employing Edmonds as the lead back would also be a savvy move for Keim, as Edmonds carries a cap hit of roughly $1 million this season, according to Over The Cap.
I love Edmonds’ floor/ceiling combo heading into 2021.
Mike Boone, Broncos
Matthew Freedman: Jones was the obvious, so instead I’ll highlight a guy who is far off the radar for most people: Mike Boone.
A longtime favorite of preseason DFS players, Boone spent the first three years of his career trapped on the Vikings as a seldom-used undrafted third-stringer behind Dalvin Cook, Latavius Murray and Alexander Mattison.
But in Boone’s limited action, he has produced since entering the NFL, averaging 5.3 yards per carry since 2018. He especially flashed at the end of 2019, when he served as the lead back for the final three games of the season with 41-232-3 rushing.
Now he has an opportunity to carve out a role with the Broncos, who have parted ways with former backup Phillip Lindsay and shown remarkably little interest in fourth-year committee back Royce Freeman. If Boone can beat out Freeman for the backup job — and I think he can — then Boone will likely see serviceable usage as a supplementary back to starter Melvin Gordon and will be just one Gordon injury away from the No. 1 role.
Boone is a longshot, but he’s free in drafts and his latent upside is massively under-appreciated.