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Fantasy Football ADP Battle: Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs Todd Gurley

As the NFL season quickly approaches, fantasy football drafts are well underway. You can be as prepared as you want for drafts, but there will still be tough decisions that arise. This season, one of those could be which running back you would rather have in fantasy: Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Todd Gurley?

Clyde Edwards-Helaire lsu
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Clyde Edwards-Helaire Fantasy Outlook

ADP: RB6, 7th Overall

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, also known by “CEH,” was one of the most productive running backs in college, with over 1,800 rushing and receiving yards along with 17 touchdowns at LSU last season. He is a little small at 5’7, but has shown he is still a force to be reckoned with. CEH has shown a good ability out of the backfield as a receiver as well. There are some improvements he still needs to make in pass blocking and unfortunately, he doesn’t have enough speed to break off long runs at the NFL level.

Out of all the running backs drafted, CEH certainly is in the best system to develop. He has weapons all around him and won’t be the top option for defenses to key on. Just a month ago, the rookie was being drafted in the second round near Gurley. However, news of fellow Chiefs back Damien Williams opting out of the season has caused his ADP to skyrocket. While this creates more opportunity, his he being overvalued?

Even if Edwards-Helaire can establish himself as a solid option in the running game, the Chiefs just don’t run the ball enough. The top two options of LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams combined for 17 carries per game for 81 yards per game and nine total touchdowns last season. I don’t see Andy Reid changing this offense’s playing style anytime soon, especially after winning a Super Bowl.

Todd Gurley NFL Draft
Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

Todd Gurley Fantasy Outlook

ADP: RB18, 30th Overall

When Todd Gurley is healthy and getting touches, there is little debate — he’s a top five running back in the league. In 2017 and 2018, he ran for a combined 2,500 yards while racking up 40 touchdowns. He is not only a problem on the ground, but also poses a tough task for defenses as a receiver out of the backfield. The problem, however, is his durability and concern around his knees. His own trainer confirmed that he was suffering from arthritis in his knees, which was part of the reason for his decreased production last season. While the Rams’ severely limited his touches, he was a big letdown last season.

At just 26 years old, Gurley should be hitting his prime. Instead, he has a knee injury that seems to ask when, not if, his knees will break down. The Atlanta offense won’t need to lean on him as much as the Rams did, but the damage has been done. So, when will his knees break down for good? Could the Falcons face another season without much from their starting running back? They were struggling with Devonta Freeman’s durability, until they cut him this offseason.

Even with the laundry list of concerns fantasy owners rightfully have about Gurley, I think he’ll be an under the radar back this year. Receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley will continue to be a problem for secondaries and quarterback Matt Ryan is much more reliable than Jared Goff. All this points to more openings for Gurley to exploit. His durability held up alright last year, with all things considered, and he’s surely benefited from a long offseason.

With less usage and wear and tear this upcoming season, I think Gurley will be solid option as a RB2. His risk will keep him from being a reliable number one option, but he should find weeks where he puts up top-10 RB numbers.

Fantasy Verdict: Todd Gurley

I don’t think either back should be your first option at running back, yet CEH is being drafted as such. Both carry too much risk to be drafted as high as they are projected to go. At the end of the day, running backs need touches to score points. Even with CEH as the clear top back on the Chiefs’ depth chart, I don’t think his touches will warrant him being a first round pick, which means Gurley is a better value of the two. Gurley has just as high of a ceiling, barring injury. That is why, between the two, Todd Gurley is the better fantasy value over Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

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