Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins Out vs. Bills, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire Officially Active
Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins
Update (5:12 p.m. ET): With the AFC Championship set to kickoff in less than 90 minutes, the final status of key Chiefs offensive playmakers was revealed: Wide receiver Sammy Watkins is out, along with running back Le’Veon Bell, but rookie RB Clyde Edward-Helaire is officially active.
The Kansas City Chiefs will get rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire back Sunday, but starting wide receiver Sammy Watkins status is more uncertain.
Edwards-Helaire hasn’t played since Week 15 against the New Orleans Saints, but according to multiple reports, he is expected to play.
Meanwhile, Watkins’ status remans up in the air as he continues to deal with a calf injury. NFL Network didn’t expand beyond “game-time decision,” but ESPN’s Adam Schefter went as far as saying the team didn’t “sound optimistic” about his chances. Watkins has been out of action since Week 16.
Watkins’ absence will be more significant than Edwards-Helaire’s return, at least when tied to the spread. Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, makes Watkins worth 0.22 points to the spread. That ranks fifth on the Chiefs when not considering quarterbacks. Edwards-Helaire is not in the top five.
Darrel Williams ran for 78 yards on 13 carries in the playoff win against the Cleveland Browns, handling most of the workload. Le’Veon Bell only carried the ball twice for six yards. He will be out with a knee injury.
Without Watkins, Mecole Hardman stepped into the role behind Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce with four catches for 58 yards in the Divisional Round. Watkins has 37 catches for 421 yards on the year.
Edwards-Helaire figures to get some looks out of the backfield. He’s caught 36 of 54 targets for 297 yards on the year, in addition to his 4.4 yards per carry average.
That’s all been secondary to the health of Patrick Mahomes, who officially cleared concussion protocol and will start. The bigger news with Mahomes is the turf toe he’s dealing with entering this showdown.