Gus Edwards 2021 Fantasy Outlook
Gus Edwards is exactly who you thought you’d be talking about on this beautiful Sunday morning, right? It’s fantasy football draft season and home leagues left and right are looking for those sudden values, especially at running back. I had a good friend who’s stellar at fantasy baseball come to me and ask, “Who are the running back risers and fallers — I’ve got a draft in an hour!” And now, my internet friends, I’ve got the most recent answer for you: Gus Edwards has helium.
Of course, Gus Edwards comes to the fore because trainers carted lead Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins off the field in Saturday’s preseason game. Have we not learned to rest our running backs by now? The video of J.K. Dobbins’ knee injury is out there on Twitter if you want to see it, and it’s — well — not awful, but it’s definitely not something I want to keep looking at. The first reactions to the video indicate that the knee is definitely hyperextended, and tests performed on Sunday will reveal the extent of the damage. This article will post before the tests are released, but, there’s no time like now to get ahead of the crowd. So now is the time to grab Gus Edwards before the helium on him rises even more. As our esteemed leader says, Gus Edwards could be a top 15 running back in 2021 if he ends up in the lead role on the Ravens:
If we get confirmation and find out Gus Edwards the likely workhorse back for Baltimore this season, he’s my RB 15.
Model would have him at nearly 240 touches on the year (so few catches though). He would slide in as RB 15 going forward.
— Mitch Carl (@DFSnDONUTS) August 29, 2021
Before we get into the article, be sure to check out the Team Rise or Fall YouTube channel, and have a look at the 100% FREE Team Rise or Fall Fantasy Football Draft Kit. If you want to level up your best ball game with players like Gus Edwards, go to Underdog and use the promo code Donuts to get a free $25 bonus to your deposit.
In a Nutshell: The 2021 Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens are a run-first team that are, of course, tied into the legs of lead running back and sometimes quarterback Lamar Jackson. OK, OK, Lamar’s just the QB, but he could easily lead the team in rushing yards, especially now that J.K. Dobbins might be out for a while. In his rookie year, J.K. Dobbins took a fair amount of snaps (534) and racked up a bit over 800 yards on 134 carries, good for RB16 status on the year. The Ravens are bringing back offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who has led the league in rushing attempts and yards for two years straight (and actually leading in rushing yards for 4 years straight if you count his previous stint with the Buffalo Bills) while also having a top 5 rushing TD team for the past 4 years. In short, the Ravens are an explosive rushing team just waiting for you to draft their running backs. Or now, maybe Gus Edwards is the only possible feature back in that system.
Gus Edwards has been playing in the shadows of Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, and J.K. Dobbins, yet he’s put up over 700 yards rushing every year for the past three years while grinding over 130 carries every year. I mean, I’m not making comparisons, but Saquon Barkley and Gus Edwards have just about the same career rushing yards right now. OK, OK, I’m not saying they’re equal. Except…Gus Edwards’ yards per attempt has been above 5.0 for his three career years, which actually meets or exceeds Saquon’s yards per attempt in his two healthy years.
In other words, Gus Edwards is one of those gems who has been waiting for the right opportunity to take the lead running back role and, well, run with it. Now, it might be here.
According to the Team Rise or Fall Study Hub, Gus Edwards is a ground-based running back who isn’t involved much in the passing game. However, Edwards’ catch rate has been exceptional throughout his career, so we could see three-down usage increasingly throughout 2021 if J.K. Dobbins misses extended time. Of course, this is all opportunistic right now — if Dobbins misses only a little bit of time, then Gus Edwards remains a backup for your best ball teams that provides a nice floor. But if Edwards is loosed as the primary rusher for the top rushing team in the league, we could be seeing an easy 1,000+ yard season.
The Team Rise or Fall Underdog Projections envisions Gus Edwards as RB38 if Dobbins misses minimal time. But if Dobbins misses extended time or even the full year, then Edwards becomes, as Mitch said in his tweet above, an RB2 for your Underdog best ball teams. Right now, Edwards is being drafted at ADP 127, and his ADP is going to inflate quickly if Dobbins misses time. If you’re looking for an advantage in one of the Underdog Puppy drafts or a Best Ball Millionaire, then hop in some drafts ASAP and aim for Gus Edwards — and possibly even build a Zero RB team around him.
Of course, perform your due diligence. Pay attention to the news surrounding J.K. Dobbins, and take a look at former hype-man Justice Hill and Patrick Ricard. Last year, Justice Hill was a super-popular running back to snag in late-round drafts before he put up a whopping 12 rushes for 60 yards. Helium can pop. Gus Edwards won’t be Justice Hill, but the last thing you want to do is overpay for helium. If other people in your draft go wild on Gus Edwards in the coming days and week (NFL is almost here!), then you’re still getting other players at good values. Don’t forget that getting points for appropriate cost is your actual goal in fantasy football drafts. Gus Edwards is a nice RB2, but he’s not exactly your RB1 material.
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