As the Baltimore Ravens enter the 2021 season after losing their highly-coveted RB due to a season-ending injury, running back Gus Edwards has seen his ADP increase dramatically in fantasy football drafts. As someone who will see a substantially increased amount of touches, should you draft Edwards, given his fantasy outlook this season?
Update 9/9/21: After losing RB’s Justice Hill and J.K. Dobbins to season-ending injuries, Adam Schefter reports Baltimore fears they may now be losing Gus Edwards to a torn ACL. Practice was shortened Thursday after he and CB Marcus Peters went down on back-to-back plays. Newly-signed RBs Le’Veon Bell, Ty’Son Williams, and Trenton Cannon will be expected to step in right away.
Gus Edwards’ fantasy outlook for 2021
If you have listened to the In the Mood for Fantasy Football podcast at any point or read any of my sleepers or breakout articles, the Zero RB targets, and even best ball targets, you would be well aware I have been all over Edwards. Even as a part of a committee, his ADP was egregious for what he brings to your fantasy football lineup.
Entering his fourth season, Edwards has seen over 133 carries and 700 rushing yards in each of his three years in Baltimore. In 2020, he faced a stacked box (eight-plus defenders) the sixth-most times at 34%. Additionally, Edwards played second fiddle to J.K. Dobbins and Lamar Jackson, and he split reps with Mark Ingram. Regardless, Edwards finished the season 21st in rushing yards (723).
What I don’t think people realize is how well Edwards played last year. From Week 6 on, Edwards was the RB26 in PPR, scoring 9.9 ppg. In fact, Dobbins was trailing him in fantasy points heading into Week 17 until the rookie went off for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns.
He was going to be fantastic no matter what. But after the Ravens lost Dobbins to a season-ending ACL tear in the preseason finale, Edwards now has the chance to be the steal of the draft. This team has attempted the most rushes of the last four seasons, averaging 539.5 attempts per year. Knowing that he would be in line for over 220 attempts and has virtually no proven competition behind him makes Edwards an absolute must-draft in fantasy.
Volume is the key for Edwards. Usually, when you have a rushing QB and a sensational RB in front of you, there would be little left to go around. But, as we noted, the Ravens have ample work to go around.
I see people talking about Jackson potentially taking all of the touchdown upside away from Edwards. Stop. Last season, Ingram and Dobbins combined for 11 touchdowns. With Dobbins out for the year and Ingram no longer on the team, the opportunity is there for Edwards.
Behind Edwards is Ty’Son Williams, a 2020 UDFA with zero career touches, and Justice Hill, who has 83 in two seasons. Do we really think they can pose a similar threat to Edwards’ production this season as Dobbins or Ingram did?
Even with the additional wide receivers on the roster (Rashod Bateman, Sammy Watkins, and Tylan Wallace), the offense will still be run-centric.
What also gets overlooked is the additions of Kevin Zeitler and Alejandro Villanueva in the offseason to shore up the right side of the OL. Not to mention, the Ravens could very well get Ja’Wuan James back at some point this season.
With the season less than a week away, Edwards saw an enormous jump in workload based on my projections. He is slated for around 225 attempts, 1,050 yards, and 8-10 touchdowns. Additionally, he could record 25 receptions for another 200 yards.
However, those can change if the Ravens sign a veteran in the backfield. Baltimore did put in a waiver claim for RB Royce Freeman, but he landed in Carolina, who had a higher waiver priority.
Gus Edwards’ fantasy ADP
While I am going to give you ADP data, it likely means absolutely diddly squat. We have months and months of drafts that have established the ADP of players, and when an injury happens this late, sites generally cannot adjust their ADP to reflect it fully.
According to Sleeper, Edwards is currently the RB42 with an ADP of 141.5 in PPR formats. Both NFC (a high-stakes site) and FleaFlicker have updated their ADP or are sortable for post-injury drafts. On NFC, Edwards is the RB22 (52.7 ADP) and the RB21 (ADP 47) on FleaFlicker.
Should you draft Edwards in 2021?
Edwards is a must-draft player for me. Wherever you felt comfortable drafting Dobbins, Edwards is not far off at all. I would have zero issues with Edwards in Round 4 of drafts. If you want to risk it and see how late he goes, that is fine. But also know that managers are now aware of the impact Dobbins’ injury has on Edwards and what he could be this season.
Across all my redraft and best ball leagues, Edwards was my most drafted player. For those on the Gus Bus with me, get ready for one heck of a ride.