There is a lot of hype this season over many NFL team’s running back situations. Multiple teams are employing the running back by committee approach, while others are rolling with a rookie or second-year breakout candidate type running back to carry the load. Enter, the Miami Dolphins.
Sophomore year running back Jay Ajayi is slated to be a workhorse type running back for the Dolphins in the 2016 season. There is another running back that could take the “workhorse” label from him, that, I will explain later. Ajayi was a college standout at Boise State, but a very unproven running back in the NFL. On September 6th, 2015, Jay Ajayi was placed on injured reserve by the Miami Dolphins. Ajayi came back to action mid-season and ran for 187 yards on 49 carries and 1 touchdown. This little sample size is why some fantasy owners are hesitant to draft the second year running back.
After the 2015 season, the Miami Dolphins hit the free agent market looking for an experienced running back to plug into their system. Shortly after, the Dolphins signed Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson to an offer sheet. After the deal didn’t work out, they sought out Chris Johnson. Miami was looking for a solid veteran running back to complement and help with the workload. Eventually, the Dolphins would sign former Houston Texans running back Arian Foster. After a long injury recovery, Foster is now healthy and looking great in camp.
The talk around the NFL and fantasy football circles is that Foster will step in and return to his old self. The Dolphins definitely now have that veteran skilled back to assist Jay Ajayi with running back duties. The real question is how much will Foster be involved? Is Foster now worth drafting ahead of Ajayi? My answer to question two is yes. Granted we still have to wait through the preseason to make sure Foster is truly healthy and moving well, but all signs point to Foster taking over the Lamar Miller role in the Miami Dolphins offense. Lamar Miller built his name by being a multi-skilled running back that could run the ball, catch passes and gain big yards after the catch. I see Foster filling this role, with Ajayi getting the change of pace or 1st down carries. Arian Foster is a great fit for Miami’s offensive scheme and could really become a threat to Jay Ajayi’s fantasy football potential. Currently, Foster is being drafted around the 5th round. My advice with drafting Arian Foster would be to either draft another solid running back quickly after him for insurance, or plan on also drafting Jay Ajayi to protect your investment of Foster.
Overall, I see the Miami Dolphins being a mediocre at best team, who will be forced to pass a lot this year. Both Foster and Ajayi are no more than low-end RB2’s or High-end RB3’s given that the number of carries simply will not be there. Both of these running backs also come with a lot of injury risk. So when drafting these running backs, remember to choose wisely and protect your investment.