Chase Edmonds or James Conner Start/Sit Week 16: Who can we trust?

    Chase Edmonds is back just in time for James Conner to potentially miss Week 16, but can we trust Edmonds for fantasy after last week?

    Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds returned from injury last week, forcing fantasy football managers to ask a lot of questions heading into the game. Anyone who’s rostered his teammate, James Conner, has been very happy with his fantasy production, but both players disappointed on Monday night. Now we’re told that Conner might miss Week 16. This would let Edmonds carry the full load for a change. Should we trust him, though?

    Update 12/25/21: Surprisingly, after reports of James Conner likely playing tonight, the Cardinals announced he would be inactive against the Colts.

    Which Cardinals RB is worth starting in Week 16?

    Heading into the season, Edmonds and Conner were looking like a two-headed monster with Edmonds as the lead back. As the season went along and Edmonds got hurt, Conner stepped up. Now fantasy managers are forced to rethink things with Conner looking questionable.

    Chase Edmonds’ lackluster return

    In Week 15 against the Detroit Lions, Edmonds ran 6 times for 53 yards. This was his first game action since he injured his ankle in Week 9 against the San Francisco 49ers. While it was nice to see him back on the field, it wasn’t exactly worth writing home about.

    The Cardinals as a whole looked pretty lackluster last week. That includes Conner, who only ran for 39 yards on 8 carries of his own. Conner caught his 2 targets for another 31 yards, giving him 9 PPR points on the week.

    In general, the entire team just wasn’t ready for the previously 1-11-1 Detroit Lions. You could argue that it was a trap game or that it was their first without star WR DeAndre Hopkins on the field. Regardless, they just weren’t prepared.

    Edmonds looked better than most of his teammates in a bad game, which says something about what the Cardinals have become throughout the year.

    The Cardinals became a run-first team

    Obviously, neither running back really lit things up for fantasy managers in Week 15. However, as the season’s gone along, Arizona has leaned more and more on their running game. For the year, the Cardinals are fifth in rushing attempts (346), 11th in rushing yards (1,579), and first in touchdowns (21).

    Hopkins is now on IR and likely out until the NFC Championship Game at the earliest. This could force the team to lean even more on the run. If that’s the case, and Conner misses time, Edmonds could dominate both on the field and on fantasy rosters. If Conner suits up, however, a split backfield could make things murky.

    The Cardinals face the Colts in Week 16

    The 30-12 loss for the Cardinals left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. So who can we trust this week against the tough Indianapolis Colts?

    Edmonds could see a ton of volume against a tough Colts defense

    Even if Edmonds does indeed get the majority of touches, the Colts aren’t exactly going to be a cakewalk. For the year, the Colts’ defense is eighth in rushing attempts (341), 14th in rushing yards (1,535), and third in touchdowns allowed (8). They don’t exactly make me nervous, but it’s no picnic either.

    Where the Colts are exploitable is against bigger rushing plays. For the year, they’re 22nd in the NFL in terms of rushing yards per attempt (4.5). This is something that Edmonds can be used to exploit. Last week, he ran for an average of 8.8 yards per carry and has a 5.9 yards per carry average on the year.

    Edmonds is the sure bet for fantasy

    Conner has been a fantasy stud for a long stretch. However, with his latest injury and Edmonds being back at 100%, I’m likely benching Conner unless I’m out of better options. He just feels very risky to me in a matchup where I need to win to advance. Conner could have a great game, but I’d rather he do that on my bench than destroy my season in my lineup.

    This is almost the exact opposite of how I feel about Edmonds. Prior to his injury in Week 9, Edmonds scored 10 or more PPR points in all but two weeks. Oddly enough, his scoring hasn’t been relying heavily on touchdowns either. He’s only had 1 TD on the year.

    Instead, his scoring is more on the consistent and reliable side for fantasy. He’s got a high floor and, at least for now, a higher ceiling in PPR scoring. He is the RB41 with 103.4 PPR points on the year and RB39 in points per game. Yet, Edmonds is 14th in terms of yards per carry. He’s explosive and hard to take down.

    This means that regardless of whether or not Conner plays, Edmonds should be in your lineup. Last week was likely a fluke and something the Cardinals want to forget entirely. I’m doing the same for fantasy. Fire Edmonds up on Saturday night as he takes you to the fantasy finals.

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