The Miami backfield has been dominated by Jay Ajayi this year. He has taken 86.3% of the running back carries this year, but picked up just 3.4 yards a carry.
Those that drafted Ajayi in the late second, early third round this year have seen very little return for their investment so far, and his trade to the Eagles basically makes him impossible to play with any confidence.
However, he leaves behind a massive void in backfield that the Dolphins need to fill, the question is who gets the carries, and are they worthy of picking up and even starting?
The pros & cons of Damien Williams
Williams has been in the NFL for four years now, and has totalled 401 touches and eight touchdowns for the Dolphins in his time. He is the veteran choice and has a more bruising style than Kenyan Drake does.
However, Williams has never been overly impressive. He has 3.31 yards per carry in his career and has taken double-digit carries just once in 55 games (54 regular season, 1 playoff game). Now maybe with more touches and a chance to be “the man” he can find more of a rhythm and some success, but if Ajayi’s 3.4 yards a carry were disappointing to fantasy owners why would Williams’ 3.3 be any better?
The pros & cons of Kenyan Drake
Drake is a sophomore in the NFL, and coming off a rookie season where he averaged a wonderful 5.4 yards per carry. Drake comes with a little more big play potential than Williams. His 4.45 40-yard dash and 4.21 20-yard shuttle at the combine backed up his college film that was full of elusive running and impressive burst.
However, he’s not got the bulk for an every-down, between the tackles kind of a player and his injury history is also a problem. While he can break off big plays, more often than not he gets ahead of himself and ends up bottling himself up.
Should you pick up either one?
Week 9 sees six teams on a bye and several useful running backs sidelined. If you are scrabbling around for someone to start then I have nothing against taking a shot on either one. After all, opportunity can be far more valuable than talent when it comes to one week of fantasy football.
If you are hoping to find someone who can give you 80 yards and a touchdown every week then these almost certainly aren’t the guys for you. In four years there are a good percentage of players who have taken a shot with Damien Williams and been burned, but one more time shouldn’t hurt too bad.
This week, with a visit from the struggling Oakland Raiders on primetime (god help us) there is a chance one of these guys goes off. Oakland are ranked 23rd in DVOA against running backs catching the ball, which bodes well for Drake, especially if the Dolphins get down and start to go pass-heavy, however for as long as the game is tight I think Williams will be the guy. Maybe he will take 15 carries for 54 yards, but he might just sneak into the endzone as well.
If you have to take one, take Williams, but be warned that by Week 10 both may be unstartable.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?