Many of you may know that our podcast host for the Loaded Box, Ben Morgan is a Dolphins homer. So before I even start, I just want to apologize. Hopefully no hard feelings my friend towards me on this piece!
How many of you knew that Kenyan Drake was going to be the running back to own in Miami last year? Anybody? Buehler? Buehler? Buehler? Exactly, none of us knew that.
Will that continue? To be honest, I will say no. Anyways without further ado lets check out the third-year running back from Alabama.
Known for being the key waiver-wire pickup last season, Drake finished as the RB34 with 644 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Drake also added another 239 receiving yards and one touchdown on 32 receptions.
Mind you the final product looks good. But it took Jay Ajayi getting traded before week nine to the Philadelphia Eagles AND fellow running back Damien Williams going down in week 12 against New England for Drake to really shine. But when that’s all you have left, you make what you have works.
Williams going down, or as I like to say, the last man standing, is all that it took for Drake to finally get his moment as he had no more than nine rushes in a given game until week 13. And he made the most of it.
The opportunity was his and he shined, putting up a solid stat line of 120 rushing yards and a touchdown on 23 carries against the Denver Broncos. He also added three receptions for 21 yards.
The following week, against division-rival New England, Drake once again shined putting up another double-digit carry performance with 114 rushing yards on 25 carries along with five receptions for 79 yards. Fantastic for those who picked him up in half and full PPR leagues as Drake was putting up RB1 numbers.
The double-digit touch streak continued for Drake as he had 22, 13 and 17 total touches to end the season, giving fantasy owners a nice RB2/Flex for their championship run (outside of week 17, because if you play through week 17, I want to talk to your commissioner!).
The outlook is looking okay in my opinion. Nothing great, nothing too spectacular, just okay.
In free agency, the Dolphins added some competition to the backfield in the form of last season’s 18th-ranked fantasy football running back, Frank Gore. This doesn’t exactly throw up a red flag, but more of a caution because they didn’t sign him to just ride the bench and coach up Drake. Also, they thought it was necessary to draft a change-of-pace running back in Kalen Ballage in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
To add even more to it, the team is expected to look quite a bit different in 2018 than it did in ’17. They lost a few pieces, including the PPR-king Jarvis Landry, plus with smokin’ Jay Cutler retiring, Ryan Tannehill is expected to reclaim the starting quarterback position after returning from a torn ACL.
The team added two new receivers in Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola while also using a second-round pick on Penn State tight end, Mike Gesicki. DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills remain as familiar faces, but the offense will indeed look much different than it did in the past without the security blanket in Landry.
This may bode will for Drake, or if the new pieces don’t fit and the offense sputters, it could leave Drake owners scanning the waiver wire searching for a replacement for last year’s prized waiver-wire addition.
Who knows what this team might look like offensively in week one. I might have to put them up there with the likes of the Buffalo Bills…. Yikes!
As stated above, when Drake got double-digit carries, he was a very solid RB2. However, that was 2018 and a lot can change in a year – just ask Mr. Ajayi. I see the addition of papa Gore and the rookie Ballage turning this team’s backfield into a dreadful running back by committee. Plus, it’s no secret that head coach Adam Gase prefers his offense to be pass first rather than to committing to the run game.
Gore has become the ageless wonder and refuses to retire. His heart is just too big to hang up the cleats and call it a career, so he’ll definitely steal some carries away from Drake.
On top of that, we can’t forget the pass-catching specialist in Ballage. The rookie has drawn great praise throughout OTA’s and will for sure be a player that sees some action on third downs. Yet ANOTHER spell for Drake.
This backfield for fantasy football purposes is just….. blah…
Drake is our consensus RB24 for 2018, which you can find the complete rankings here. To go out on a limb, I will agree more with Ben’s co-host in DJ Premo as he has Drake ranked as his RB31, and I think that is more appropriate.
If you are able to somehow land him as your RB3/4, consider yourself lucky because his current average draft position of 4.02 is just too rich for my blood. Sorry to be the Debbie Downer here, but I’ll pass and go with a guy like Lamar Miller or a WR/TE depending on who falls to me at that point.
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Be sure to check out the latest episode of the Loaded Box Podcast as the guys discuss which second-year players are set to boom, bust and be targeted as sleepers in 2018