Miami Dolphins Sign Arian Foster: Fantasy Football Impact
July 18 / Jake Ciely / RotoExperts
That sound you hear is Jay Ajayi's Fantasy Football value crashing down. The Dolphins signed Arian Foster, which puts a huge dent in the hopes for an Ajayi breakout season... or does it? Let's examine Foster first.
Foster is coming off an Achilles' injury, one of the more difficult injuries to return from and be your former self. Rarely do we see players have the same burst, speed, etc. after this injury. On top of that, Foster will be 30 years old in August with a high workload for his career. He's also missed time in all but two seasons and averaged just 2.6 yards per carry last year. Foster still had impressive passing game numbers with 22 catches, 227 yards (10.3 per catch) and two TDs in two games, but it's fair to ask if that was a product of the Texans' passing game and lack of weapons, as his per catch numbers were 5.4, 8.3 and 8.6 the three previous seasons. Either way, there are many concerns with Foster at this point of his career. However, it's doubtful that he'd sign anywhere without the chance to be the lead option. That's where Ajayi starts to add in his concerns, and his value takes a hit.
Ajayi was one of the better talents in last year's draft, but a knee injury saw him slide. It's fair for the Dolphins to have hesitations about handing the backfield to Ajayi, despite many - myself included - believing he's the best talent they have and that Ajayi can be a 20-touch back. With Foster in the mix, Ajayi goes from 20-touch upside to a shared backfield at best... at least until Foster possibly gets hurt. That drops Ajayi's value from mid-level RB2 into the mid-to-low RB3 range. Even so, I (and you should too) will be drafting Ajayi everywhere I can as a late round flier. Given Foster's injury history and concerns, Ajayi is one of the top backups to own and could see that RB2 value when handling a full workload.
As for Kenyan Drake, he's left picking up the scraps in a running back committee. Initially, he was a great complement to Ajayi as the pass-catching option, but now he'll be similar to Andre Ellington in Arizona and lucky to see five touches a game. His explosiveness is attractive, and very deep PPR or best ball owners can still draft him late, but in your typical league, Drake lost his draft value.
Let's make one last thing clear, there are no certainties in this backfield. While Foster appears to be the lead, he still is a fringe RB2 and more of a RB3 with the numerous questions. Don't overpay for him based on name and nostalgia, especially when we could be looking at a full-blown and dreaded running back by committee in Miami.
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