Fantasy Reaction: Jay Ajayi to Philadelphia

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All aboard the J-Train, next stop Philadelphia. Jay Ajayi was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles today for a 4th round pick and I imagine he is thrilled. There is a good reason to be happy about this trade for Ajayi fantasy owners as well. Most notable among those reasons: he goes from a team that was near the bottom in carries to the team that leads the league in carries. Now the Philly backfield is infinitely more crowded than what Ajayi faced in Miami so it’s time for him to show that those 200-yard rushing games from a season ago were not a fluke.

Fantasy Reaction: Ajayi and the Eagles

It seems that the Eagles have brought in Ajayi to handle long yardage and passing down duties. He will fight for carries with LeGarrette Blount and cede some passing down work to either Wendell Smallwood or Corey Clement (I can’t imagine the Eagles keep both). In Miami, he was in on nearly every down and seemed to be worn down by the workload. My go-to saying this year has been that volume = value in fantasy football so does this mean that Ajayi stock is dropping? Short answer: No.

As I previously mentioned, the Eagles run the ball more than any team in the league. They’ve run 78 times more than Miami and that means there will still be plenty of work for Ajayi. He just won’t have to do all of the work. Of their 246 carries, Blount has accounted for 100, Carson Wentz for 42, and all other backs took the remaining 106 carries. That is only 32 fewer carries than what Ajayi saw in Miami. But the quality of those remaining carries is much better.

Miami was one-dimensional as they come…in fact, they were basically zero-dimensional. They couldn’t pass the ball and defenses keyed in on stopping Ajayi and the run game. Ajayi was repeated hit behind the line of scrimmage and the team only averaged 3.2 YPC. In Philadelphia, the grass is much greener. The Eagles sport one of the league’s best offenses and it has allowed Blount and Co. to thrive. The team is averaging 4.2 YPC and Blount is at 4.7 individually, his best since 2014. In this offense, Ajayi will be used in packages suited to his talents and not run into a brick wall every play. Not to mention when December rolls around, and the snow starts to fall, there will be even more work to go around in Philadelphia.

Elsa/Getty Images

It is fathomable that Jay Ajayi will only see a slight decline in carries, an increase in receptions, and overall, more yardage than what he saw in Miami. Playing in this offense will also increase his chance at finding the end zone, something he was unable to do with the Dolphins this season. Ajayi is currently the RB30 in .5 PPR leagues and I think we’ll see him crack the top 20 by season’s end. I don’t expect much change in Blount’s workload at all and, if the Eagles keep winning, he should still end the season as an RB2.

Fantasy Reaction: Miami Dolphins

Before you run to go grab Kenyan Drake or Damien Williams from your waiver wire, please remember 2 key points that I mentioned about Ajayi’s time in South Beach:

  1. The Dolphins are bottom 5 in rush attempts
  2. The Dolphins are bottom 3 in Yards-per-Carry

Again, volume is king in fantasy but Drake wasn’t good enough to take the job away from Ajayi so I can’t imagine he’ll do much more with those carries.  In fact, Drake and Williams were only averaging 2.6 YPC between them. Williams is the obvious passing down back, so he should see an uptick in receptions. Though, if you watched the recent Thursday night game, you saw him get blown up many times in pass protection so I don’t even know how safe his job is. The Dolphins offense is just plain bad and it’s hard to trust RBs in bad offenses. My guess is, even with the increased workload, these 2 will struggle to crack the top 40.

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