Through five weeks of football, the Miami Dolphins might be relieved knowing they are not the worst fantasy football team. They shouldn’t be proud of it, though, as only the New York Jets have accrued fewer fantasy points in that span. The worst of Miami’s units has been the backfield, having a combined 53 points through five weeks—dead last league-wide followed by Detroit’s 72.8.
Obviously, this is not a team that had or will ever see favorable game scripts. You can count the times the Dolphins have led a game this season with half the fingers on one hand. Miami is forced to rely heavily on the passing game, and it shows. Adding wood to the fire, what was a two-player backfield at the start of the season seems to be turning into a trio with the progressive inclusion of Mark Walton as the RB2/RB3 of the team.
The leading back of the Dolphins, Kenyan Drake, has rushed the ball a measly 31 times so far. That is less than a number of backup RBs around the league. At least he has been able to add to his numbers thanks to his receiving skills, ranking second in receptions (13) and third in targets (20) among all Miami players. Drake has rushed for 113 yards on 31 attempts, while he has added 107 yards receiving.
Drake’s sound backup was always Kalen Ballage but he seems to be falling out of favor lately. As if his production wasn’t bad enough (29 rushing yards on 19 attempts, 29 more on three receptions), he gave up most of the snaps he was playing to second-year man Mark Walton in Week 4 (they finished with eight and 13 respectively). Given Ballage’s injury (foot) concerns—he’s listed as questionable on Friday and is at real risk of missing Week 6—and this change in roles, all points to Walton taking on RB2 duties once again. In just 10 attempts Walton has surpassed Ballage with 39 yards, and he has also put up 23 yards on three completions.
Fantasy football analysis, Dolphins RBs Kenyan Drake, Mark Walton
Having a Dolphin on your fantasy team is already a bold move, let alone starting any of them. But if there is a week to make the gamble, it is this one. Washington is as bad as Miami, if not worse, and are in a much more unruly situation as a franchise. In pure football terms, Washington is allowing opposing running backs to rack up 27.7 fantasy points per game, seventh-worst in the NFL, and four of the five running back groups they have faced have logged 145-plus yards from scrimmage—including their last trouncing against New England in Week 5 when Washington surrendered 237 yards.
While I’m not benching any stud for Kenyan Drake, he should be considered as an RB3 or Flex option this weekend. Even if Miami is trailing in this game, who knows if they will try and keep up with Washington in the midst of a taking season. He will keep carrying the heavier load of the Dolphins running game no matter what and somehow the game script could benefit him.
Mark Walton, on the other hand, is an ultra-flier for the time being. You shouldn’t have him in your roster even as a handcuff, so starting him would be a suicidal move.
Kenyan Drake: Start (Flex with upside)
Mark Walton: Sit