Chase Edmonds is smiling a lot right now. He had the best game of his brief NFL career Sunday with two touchdowns in Green Bay. The rookie running back is also smart and self-aware. Is he getting a lot of respect? Well, Mom and sister came to the Packers game, he said, to see Aaron Rodgers. So there's that.
But Sundays are usually beyond family in that regard. The Cardinals' coaches have loved Edmonds all summer. They believe he can be a very good player in this league. But in this mostly lost season, most Cardinals fans know him only as the guy the Cardinals put in the game instead of David Johnson for a crucial running play late in an early-season loss to the Bears. Fans know Johnson is the big-money back, the superstar with 2,000-yard capabilities, and want to know why he isn't taking every snap.
(Johnson was never going to get every snap, of course. Edmonds is going to be used, just like every other team uses multiple backs.)
Edmonds knows fans can get frustrated.
"I understand that," Edmonds said with a chuckle. "I'm a fan of football. I understand it. To me, I just use that as motivation, to one day I can have those fans be on my side and be like, 'Oh, he's not stealing David Johnson's fantasy points, he's just helping out the team.' I know how it goes. You have to earn your keep. I'm just trying to improve every single day."
Ahh, fantasy. That's the balance. Some fans have legitimate concerns Johnson is hurt (although if you are worried every single time Johnson doesn't play on offense that he's hurt, that gets exhausting.) But when Edmonds is producing like he was Sunday -- five carries, 53 yards, two touchdowns -- that's the time it's understandable the Cardinals run with the hot hand.
If it's about your fantasy team though ...
I mean, if we want to discuss what no one cares about, it's a fantasy team (and I partake too -- understanding that, yes, no one cares). In 2015, when John Brown started red hot for that powerful Bruce Arians team but then ran into his hamstring problems, making him iffy for a few weeks, the Cardinals played in Cleveland. He was a game-day decision. Arians made him active, but as it turned out, only for an emergency. Brown didn't play a snap. Fantasy Twitter broke. At one point I got a tweet seriously suggesting that the Cardinals should apologize.
Arians' reaction Monday? "Tough s**t." Edmonds isn't bothered quite as much. As the game went on Sunday, Edmonds admitted his Twitter mentions "were blowing up" from people upset he was vulturing scores from Johnson.
"I don't know if you've ever seen the gifs of the (blinking eye guy), it was 'David Johnson not getting his fantasy points? Chase Edmonds is stealing them,' " Edmonds said with a smile. "It made me laugh a little bit."