That sound you just heard was Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s fantasy stock plummeting. The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to terms with Le’Veon Bell just over 24 hours after Bell was unceremoniously released by the Jets.
There’s a lot to unpack here for fantasy purposes, so let’s start with Edwards-Helaire. The rookie looked like he was on his way to becoming fantasy’s next big thing following a massive Week 1 performance where he racked up 138 rushing yards and a score against the Texans.
However, in the four game since the opener, Edwards-Helaire has managed just 206 rushing yards on 56 totes. That’s just 3.7 yards per carry. To be fair, he has been effective in the passing game, but Edwards-Helaire ranks a lackluster 22nd in fantasy scoring among running backs over the last month. Of course, that stretch was punctuated by a disappointing outing in what looked to be a smash spot against the Raiders last week.
Now, that’s not to say that Edwards-Helaire is the reason for this move. The Chiefs had been reportedly interested in Bell last year, and the team was left without a true fallback plan after Damien Williams opted out.
As for Bell, well, his time with the Jets was forgettable at best. Despite touching the ball 311 times last season, Bell finished just 16th among running backs in fantasy scoring. A lot was made about his inefficiency in New York, though that may be a bit overblown. Bell’s offensive line only produced 0.55 yards before contact for Bell last season. That’s downright terrible. Meanwhile, Edwards-Helaire has seen 1.14 yards before contact in Kansas City this season.
So, what does this mean for fantasy purposes? While it’s still too early to tell exactly how the Chiefs plan to deploy Bell, his presence is an immediate knock on Edwards-Helaire’s fantasy stock. The rookie goes from a fringe-RB1 down to a borderline RB2 once Bell is fully integrated in the offense. As for Bell, his skill set is very appealing in Andy Reid’s offense given how he’s excelled in the passing game. Bell is also a bigger back who would figure to immediately take over short yardage work.
While initially it looks like Edwards-Helaire will be on the right side of the committee, we certainly can’t rule out Bell taking over lead duties in short order. He’s certainly not the player he once was, but there’s still some tread left on his tires. We simply didn’t see everything he was capable of in Adam Gase’s offense.
This is certainly a tricky situation for anyone who has Edwards-Helaire on their fantasy rosters. With his stock in free fall, you just aren’t going to get enough in return to warrant a trade. So you’re really just in wait-and-see mode. Bell will not be eligible to play in Week 6 due to the NFL's COVID-19 guidelines which require five days of testing before he can join the team, so Edwards-Helaire will still be fine to play as a fringe-RB1 this week. But Bell will likely start eating into his work as soon as next week. And the week after that, on the schedule for the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8: The New York Jets.