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The Kansas City Chiefs fantasy RB battle

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In this article, we will be talking about the Kansas City Chiefs fantasy RB battle. The two running backs featured in this battle are surprise hit Damien Williams and highly touted rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Why should we pay attention to this battle?

Studying this Kansas City Chiefs fantasy RB battle could be the key for you to win your league.

This is more about Andy Reid than the two running backs. Reid makes any running back starting for him produce solid numbers, because he has a running back friendly system in place.

When it comes to fantasy running back success, Reid is at the top of the list for producing fantasy relevant backs. This dates all the way back to 1999 when Duce Staley put up 1,567 total yards and six touchdowns. Year after year Reid has produced fantasy running back super stars.


The following highlights some of the numbers Reid’s feature backs produced and their RB fantasy rank that year according to Fantasyindex:

YearPlayer NameTotal YardsTouchdownsRank 
 2006 Brian Westbrook 1,916 11 6
 2007 Brian Westbrook 2,104 12 2
 2008 Brian Westbrook 1,338 14 10
 2010 LeSean McCoy 1,672 9 8
 2011 LeSean McCoy 1,624 20 2
 2013Jamaal Charles 1,98019 
 2017Kareem Hunt 1,782 11 

The numbers above strongly suggest that as a fantasy owner, you want to know who Andy Reid’s feature running back is this year. Now comes the hard part. Who is the starting running back in Kansas City?

In years past, it was clear who the dominant ball carrier was in Reid’s offense before the season began. This year…we have a true battle on our hands.

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The veteran

Damien Williams has been in the league for a number of years; however, he has never really been a relevant fantasy option until he arrived in Kansas City. Williams put on a show in Super Bowl 54, leaving many wondering if he should have won Super Bowl MVP. Of course, that honor went to Patrick Mahomes.

Currently, Williams is listed as a consensus RB39 on the Time Skew running back rankings. Kerryon Johnson is listed at 38 and Tevin Coleman at 40. Both those running backs are in a running back committee or competition themselves. I tend to agree with Williams’ ranking here because he’s not guaranteed the starting job but could be a contributor in the offense and will certainly demand carries.

To view and listen to the Time Skew rankings click here

The rook

It’s widely accepted that Edwards-Helaire is the eventual starting running back for the Kansas City Chiefs. While Williams was a nice story for the Chiefs last year, drafting a running back in the first round suggests there is not much long term confidence in Williams. There is too much capital invested in Edwards-Helaire and he will get every chance to start for Kansas City.

The Time Skew consensus Edwards-Helaire ranking is RB26. With Q ranking him as high as 18! I can definitely see where the optimism comes from since Andy Reid is a very fantasy-friendly when it comes to running backs. RB26 puts Edwards-Helaire around guys like Mark Ingram, Ronald Jones II, James White, and Kareem Hunt.

Notice something about all the running backs ranked near Edwards-Helaire? Most are either back ups or in a running back committee. Since Edwards-Helaire is not guaranteed a starting job yet, it is a gamble drafting him as an RB3/Flex option.

To read the Chiefs 2020 draft recap click here

Let’s list the pros and cons for drafting Edwards-Helaire that early:


  • Andy Reid’s offense – RB success is nearly guaranteed
  • The high draft pick invested in him by KC
  • Above average receiving ability showcased in college
  • Outstanding route running.


  • Shortened off-season could potentially hurt rookies
  • Not guaranteed a featured role in the offense yet
  • Competition at the position is fierce
  • Smaller frame may prevent him from an every down role.


The system

One reason Reid’s offense is running back friendly is down to his innovative screen pass plays. Running backs from Westbrook to Hunt have benefited from Reid’s screen passes and running backs in his scheme average around 53 catches a season. With that many catches, running backs are afforded more chances to score and gain yards after the catch. Add that to Reid’s creative play calling with motion and putting his best players in space and whomever the feature back is will be given opportunity. Out of his 20+ running backs throughout his tenure, all but three have caught multiple touchdowns in a season. That includes Damien Williams who started only six games in 2019.

Handcuff, handcuff, handcuff!

I cannot stress handcuffing in fantasy football enough. Especially running backs. A good strategy is to invest in good running back systems and not individual running backs. The NFL is scripted by the coaches before each game and this is important to remember when picking RB’s in fantasy football.

Image Credit: ESPNCDN

Think of an NFL coach as the director/writer and the players as actors. They have to follow the script the coach writes. The coach is the one that chooses the plays each game; therefore, how many carries a running back gets, depends on how many running plays the coach calls. Andy Reid has proven to us that he is a very friendly fantasy coach when it comes to running back productivity and will find creative ways to get the ball into their hands. Use this information and follow the Kansas City Chiefs’ fantasy RB script battle closely.

Many fantasy owners draft back up running backs in the late rounds of the draft and often don’t draft backups for their own running backs. Why would you want to take a gamble on someone else’s back up when you can lock down your own running back situation?

Learn from the past

A few years ago in Pittsburgh Le’veon Bell decided to sit out. Many fantasy owners drafted him at the top of the first round; although knowing he might miss some or all the games that season. They took a huge gamble.

The smart ones drafted him that high but did not leave it to chance. Bell was out, Conner came in and did not miss a beat. Because the Pittsburgh Steelers’ system favored running backs, Conner thrived.

We know that Andy Reid’s running back position will produce no matter the running back lining up besides Mahomes; therefore, grab them both at a reasonable price.

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