Rookie running back Darwin Thompson was one of the biggest stars of the preseason and looked ready for a sizable role in the Kansas City Chiefs offense. He usurped Carlos Hyde on the depth chart and appeared to be the primary backup to Damien Williams. However, the Chiefs signed LeSean McCoy, making Thompson third-string and effectively ruining his fantasy football value. However, both McCoy and Williams are banged up and might not play in Week 3. Thompson is widely unowned in fantasy leagues, so let’s take a look at what the rookie can do with and without Williams and McCoy in the lineup.
First let’s note that if both McCoy and Williams play, you shouldn’t even think about starting Thompson. So far on the season, Thompson has recorded just one catch and one carry. Andy Reid doesn’t like to rotate his running backs, so Thompson is nothing more than an afterthought if McCoy and Williams both play. That said, having both players seems unlikely, so let’s take a look at Thompson’s possible outcomes for Week 3.
Update: Damien Williams has been ruled OUT for Week 3
Fantasy Football: Darwin Thompson Outlook With, Without LeSean McCoy, Damien Williams
If Damien Williams, LeSean McCoy Both Sit
This is the best-case scenario for the Darwin Thompson owner. If McCoy and Williams are both unable to suit up, then Darwin Thompson is a must-start in all fantasy formats. Andy Reid is an absolute wizard and excels at taking running backs and making them fantasy-relevant. Talent doesn’t matter, as Reid’s schemes are simply unmatched around the league. Nobody’s better at drawing up wide-open receptions, and history shows that every running back succeeds with Reid.
And no – it does not seem to matter which Chiefs RB is doing the catching pic.twitter.com/LeFdaeToLG
— ArrowheadAnalytics (@ChiefsAnalytics) August 22, 2019
While you don’t need talent to succeed under Reid, it doesn’t hurt. Despite his sixth-round draft pedigree, Thompson proved to be a talented player throughout the offseason. He reportedly impressed the coaches during OTA’s and lit up the preseason to the tune of 60 yards on 12 preseason carries to go along with three receptions for 38 yards and one touchdown. While he was going up against subpar competition, Thompson still demonstrated NFL-caliber athleticism every time he touches the ball.
The Kansas City Chiefs have the best offense in football, and any running back seeing snaps in that offense is going to have some fantasy value. Darrel Williams will see some work, but Thompson should see the majority of the touches. If Thompson is the top name on the depth chart, he has RB1 upside with a high-RB2 floor.
Darwin Thompson Value if One Plays
The most likely outcome is that one of Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy suits up against the Baltimore Ravens. Having one player active obviously cuts into Thompson’s fantasy value, but it doesn’t make him completely worthless.
Both Williams and McCoy have missed practices throughout the week. If one suits up, chances are they won’t be physically capable of handling a full workload. Even when both McCoy and Williams were healthy, head coach Andy Reid split the workload for these two players. Through two games, McCoy has recorded 25 touches to Williams’ 31. Andy Reid prefers to use one three-down running back, but neither McCoy nor Williams are capable of handling that type of workload even when healthy. Darwin Thompson is going to see the field, and he should make the most of his opportunities.
The Chiefs are going up against a good defense in the Baltimore Ravens, but Baltimore isn’t capable of stopping this high-powered machine. Kansas City dropped 40 points on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1, and Baltimore isn’t as talented as that unit. Even if he’s only seeing 50% of the snaps, Darwin Thompson is going to be an RB2 with RB1 upside if he finds the endzone.
If Darwin Thompson is available in your league, make sure to put in a claim. While there is a chance he won’t have any value this week, he’s a great play if McCoy and/or Williams can’t go in Week 3. His upside easily outweighs the burden of holding him on your bench.
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