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Fantasy camp battles: RB Chase Edmonds vs. James Conner

The Arizona Cardinals have two good running backs on the depth chart. Who will win the camp battle between RBs Chase Edmonds and James Conner?

Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (2) runs with the ball against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of a preseason game at State Farm Stadium.  Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals will look to Chase Edmonds and James Conner to replace Kenyan Drake’s production on the ground last season. Drake put up 955 yards, but Edmonds saw plenty of action as a complementary back. The Cardinals clearly feel Edmonds can be a lead running back, but have brought in Conner in the event the Fordham product cannot handle a three-down workload.

Latest camp news

Week 2 preseason recap: Neither back were really used extensively in the Cardinals’ 17-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday. Conner got two carries for one yard while Edmonds has a single carry for three.

Week 1 preseason recap: Fantasy football players did not learn a ton about the Arizona backfield in their first preseason game. With Conner on the COVID-19 list, he was unavailable to participate, and Edmonds saw limited work. He carried the ball three times for 10 yards, playing in two series before taking a seat for the rest of the game.

According to ESPN Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss, Edmonds will not be the every down running back. Weinfuss also mentioned Conner taking most of the goal line and short yardage work. However, this does not mean Edmonds is taking a backseat to Conner. It’s likely the Cardinals want to utilize both players for their unique skills, but Edmonds is in line to see more overall touches.

8/12/21: James Conner has been placed on the COVID-19 list and will miss the first preseason game, per Pro Football Talk.

8/9/2021: Edmonds saw 97 carries despite Drake being the lead back and QB Kyler Murray having 133 rushes. He also recorded 53 receptions. Even with Conner’s addition in free agency, Edmonds appears to be the lead running back.

Next preseason game: at New Orleans Saints

The Cards will play their third and final preseason game at New Orleans on Saturday, August 28 at 8 p.m. ET. We fully expect both backs to get a significant more number of touches in the Superdome with this being the final dress rehearsal before the actual season begins.

Fantasy football verdict

Heading into Week 3 preseason: Even with a lack of touches in actual preseason games, the edge still goes to the versatile Edmonds who poses as a running/pass catching threat for potential drafters. He’s still a decent RB2/flex option with Conner being a guy to nab in later rounds.

Heading into Week 2 preseason: We are still giving the edge to Chase Edmonds to be the back you want from the Cardinals especially with the increase in reps with James Conner out. Depending on the workload share, Conner could have some decent value being selected much later than Edmonds in fantasy drafts.

Heading into Week 1 preseason: Chase Edmonds has the best opportunity with Conner sidelined. He is the more talented long-term option, which would suggest he’ll hold more value heading into the regular season. Edmonds would not be an RB1 for now, but he could be a decent RB2 depending on how he holds off Conner.