Fantasy replacement options for Gus Edwards

After J.K. Dobbins suffered a torn ACL, ending his 2021 season, 2nd stringer Gus Edwards was primed to step into that #1 role and have a breakout year. Less than two weeks later, Edwards tragically suffered the same injury in practice. These are serious blows to a Ravens team that is hoping to contend for a Super Bowl in the AFC. More importantly, it leaves Gus Edwards fantasy owners, like me, wondering what to do. Kidding, that’s definitely not as important. For the sake of this article, however, we’re going to focus on the fantasy side of things.

Once Dobbins went down, I was adamant about taking Edwards in my fantasy league. In each of his first three years in the league, Edwards has surpassed 700 yards and has averaged over 5 yards per carry. This was a perfect opportunity for a breakout season, but that will have to wait. With him out, where should Edwards owners look for a possible replacement?

Next man up in Baltimore

Knowing how well and how often the Ravens typically run the ball, adding one of the next men up in their depleted backfield is certainly an option. Rookie Ty’Son Williams will most likely get the start in week 1 and is available in just under 30% of ESPN leagues. The Ravens didn’t shy away from signing available backs in free agency, bringing in Latavius Murray, Le’Veon Bell, and Devonta Freeman.

Between these three, Murray has the best chance to get meaningful reps and is currently listed as the #2 back behind Williams. In his last two years in New Orleans backing up Alvin Kamara, Murray ran for 1,293 yards while averaging nearly 4.5 yards per carry. He also had 57 receptions for 411 yards, scoring 11 total touchdowns. If Williams struggles early, look for Murray to emerge as the Ravens lead back. He’s currently available in 75% of ESPN leagues, but pick him up now as that number will continue to rise.

Fresh start for Bell

If Williams and Murray aren’t available, Le’Veon Bell is another solid option if you’re staying in Baltimore. While it’s been a good 4 or 5 years since we saw Bell at his peak, he may still have some juice left in the tank. He’s been a popular addition for Edwards owners and is now on nearly 50% of ESPN league rosters. I lean more towards Murray because we’ve seen him perform at a higher level in recent years. That said, a fresh start and a solid run-blocking offensive line may be exactly what Le’Veon Bell needs to revitalize his career.

Rookie sensations

If you want to look elsewhere, there are a couple of rookies that are high on my radar and are available in most leagues. The Saints seem to be very high on undrafted rookie Tony Jones, who is taking over the #2 spot after the release of Latavius Murray. Patriots 4th round draft pick Rhamondre Stevenson is another name to keep an eye on. The rookie from Oklahoma had an eye-popping preseason. In three games Stevenson had 30 carries for 216 yards, good for a 7.2 average, and 5 touchdowns. With Sony Michel gone, that will only increase Stevenson’s chances to get more touches throughout the season.

Other possibilities

A few other names to keep an eye on are Alexander Mattison, Chuba Hubbard, and Carlos Hyde. In a PPR league, Giovani Bernard and James White are good options and are available in most leagues. If you’re in a deeper league, a couple of sleepers I like are Justin Jackson and Rashaad Penny. Both are #2 backs behind injury-prone starters in Austin Ekeler and Chris Carson.

Losing a guy like Edwards is bad news for fantasy owners, but one injury will certainly not break your team. Stay positive and enjoy the fun of managing your roster and adding free agents.

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