The Pittsburgh Steelers backfield is in a bad place. Running backs James Conner and Benny Snell both went down with injuries during Week 8’s matchup against the Miami Dolphins, and Jaylen Samuels is in the midst of recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. As of this posting, it looks like there’s a possibility all three are going to be out for Week 9’s matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. If all three miss, that means fourth-string running back Trey Edmunds is going to have some fantasy football value. Edmonds is unowned in all but the deepest of leagues, so let’s take a look at what we can expect from the former undrafted free agent.
Fantasy Football: Trey Edmunds Outlook Without James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, and Benny Snell
Trey Edmunds Talent, Situation
Trey Edmunds only carries fantasy football relevance if all three aforementioned running backs miss Week 9’s action. Mike Tomlin likes to use a workhorse running back, so Edmunds won’t see action unless every other running back is out.
Trey Edmunds entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2017, and he hasn’t had much of a chance to demonstrate his talent. Initially signing with the Saints, Edmunds spent the year primarily returning kicks and warming the bench behind Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. When he actually saw time on offense, Edmunds recorded 48 yards and one touchdown on nine carries. It’s worth noting that 41 of those 48 yards came on one play in a blowout win over the Buffalo Bills. The former undrafted free agent couldn’t crack New Orleans’ roster in 2018 and spent most of the past two seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers organization.
Ultimately, Edmunds is a fringe NFL talent who won’t make too many plays on his own. This normally wouldn’t be a problem for Pittsburgh running backs, as the Steelers annually have one of the best offensive lines in the league. However, the offensive line took a major step back without coach Mike Munchak. Right now, they’re currently ranked 28th in run-blocking DVOA, 27th in power blocking, and 28th in stuffed rank. Quite frankly, it’s going to be hard for a lesser talent like Edmunds to be efficient with this type of blocking.
The good news is that Edmunds should see the vast majority of the work. Mike Tomlin doesn’t believe in switching out his running backs, so Edmunds should see a solid, dependable workload. The offense isn’t nearly as good as it was with Ben Roethlisberger, but it’s still good enough to give Edmunds his fair share of scoring opportunities.
The Steelers face off against an Indianapolis Colts team which struggles against the run. According to Football Outsiders, the Colts currently rank 31st in run defense DVOA. Strangely, this hasn’t translated to fantasy success, as Indianapolis allows just 16.3 points per game to the running back position.
Given Pittsburgh’s underwhelming offensive line and Edmund’s questionable talent level, it’s probably safe to assume that the fantasy points per game give a better projection of what to expect than the DVOA. Additionally, the Colts defense as a whole allows 21.6 points per game, good for the 14th-best mark in the league. This means that the Steelers should have a few scoring opportunities, but not that many.
Ultimately, Trey Edmunds projects as an inefficient volume play for the upcoming slate of games. He’s not a great talent, the offensive line isn’t anything special, and the Colts have managed to limit fantasy points to the running back position. However, Edmunds is also the only healthy running back the Steelers have, and Mike Tomlin loves to use a single running back whenever possible. Edmunds possesses a relatively high floor and decent enough upside if he falls into the endzone. He’s not going to do what Latavius Murray is doing in New Orleans, but he’s a solid bye week streamer.
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