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Dolphins Running Backs: The good, the Bad and the Decision

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On paper, Miami looks to have an impressive stable of running backs that
are capable of handling the three down duties in Gase’s offense, as the
Head Coach emphasizes his point’ not allow the defense time to adjust’.
Talking how ‘he is comfortable exploiting the horizontal aspect of the
field more than the vertical..’ ‘Get the ball out quick’ ‘hurry up’ ‘short
and intermediate passes’. That sounds like his M.O., it also provides a hint
into what we might be able to expect during this season, a continuation of
a dink and dunk approach. Realizing there is a ‘time and a place to get
your QB sacked 60 a year,’ I believe there to be plenty of opportunities
coming out of the Dolphins back field in 2016.

The Good

Arian Foster and Jay Ajayi both fit a scheme, Kenyan Drake,
the 3rd Round draft pick, brings the same attributes, and the Wild card I
like is the 3rd year Free Agent signee, Damien Williams. This offensive
approach was able to squeeze respectable numbers out of the running back
position. The 2013 Denver Bronco’s Knowshon Moreno had his most productive
season (1,038 on 241 attempts and another 60 receptions for 548 with 13
total touchdowns). In 2014, C.J Anderson was next up and produced his best
season with over 1,100 yards from scrimmage, 34 receptions and 10 TD’s.
His time Chicago gave him Matt Forte, though Forte was not lights out in
15, he only played 13 games, yet tallied over 1000 yards from scrimmage, 44
receptions and 7 total TD’s.
.

The Bad

Jay Ajayi gets the nod to start over Arian Foster. Foster is 31 years old and his myriad
of injuries may best be suited for spot duty. Still, Ajayi will need to be
playing lights out from the get go if he is going to keep Foster at bay.
This is looking like a time share.

My Projection

Jay Ajayi 173 attempts, 4TDs, 734 rushing yards, 21 receptions, 168 receiving yards, 2TDs
Arian Foster 142 attempts, 3TDs, 601 rushing yards, 34 receptions, 194 receiving yards, 2TDs

Bold prediction; mid-season waiver wire Gold: Daimen Williams.

The decision

Ajayi’s current ADP is sitting at #79 and Foster’s #83. Then looking at the QB prospects around the 7th and
8th rounds has me thinking of adjusting my draft strategy. Load up on RB’s,
WR’s through six. Not worry about Ajayi or Foster. Draft at the back of
the first, get the turnaround at 7th and 8th rds. We could conceivable
find any two of these QB combos sitting there. Brady, Bortles, Palmer,
Rivers and Eli. Tab Daimen Williams with my last pick 17th round stash.

NEWS: Lamar Miller (shoulder) practiced some on Tuesday.

SMITTY: This is good news, and it’s looking a little more like the runner could play Week 10. Stay on our news, as Miller remains a high-end flex option, if not a low-end RB2 option whenever he is getting starter carries. Looking for Week 10 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Lamar Miller to Start Week 3; uptick in production on the way?

SMITTY: Is it finally Miller time, or will that Dolphins coaching staff still underutilize the ultra-talented rusher? We have been waiting for Miller to consistently get starter carries since this time last year, but Miami has refused to invest in their Frank Gore-like talent. With Moreno (elbow) on the shelf through at least Week 5-6 (some suggest longer), Miller has a real opportunity to produce like a fantasy RB2. Looking for Week 3 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Lamar Miller time now that Knowshon Moreno is out 4-8 Weeks?

SMITTY: This is a great opportunity for a runner that failed so many of us last season. Hopefully Lamar Miller stays healthy, as he has sneaky-good RB2 upside now that he is expected to see starter carries. Looking for Week 3 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Lamar Miller still ahead of Knowshon Moreno on depth chart?

According to the Miami Herald, both Dolphins RB Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno split first-team reps over the past two days.

SMITTY: Joe Philbin claims that the starting gig is up for grabs, but seemed to talk up Lamar Miller quite a bit more than Knowshon Moreno, saying this about the runner: “I like everything Lamar has done since he’s gotten here,” Philbin said. “He’s had an excellent offseason and camp… I like everything he’s done since April 21.” With a 6th- to 7th-round ADP, there isn’t much risk investing in Miller this year, yet there is a lot of upside. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Knowshon Moreno activated from PUP; Lamar Miller still setup to thrive in 2014?

According to Armando Salguero on Twitter, Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno has come off the PUP list and is “Ready to practice.”

SMITTY: Lamar Miller has already created some nice distance between he and Knowshon Moreno, and Bill Lazor is going to use Miller much like the Eagles use LeSean McCoy. Given his 70-80 overall ADP right now, I love the value and reward compared to risk. Could Miller once again get the short end of the stick in 2014? Absolutely. Coaching and situation are half the battle, and Miller could get hurt tomorrow and lose all kinds of ground by Week 1. But, at 70-80 overall value, the risk is minimal and the reward is great, as I truly see an elite skill set in Miller, none of that has changed since last off-season for me. He just needs a chance to handle starter carries. Let’s hope he gets that chance right out of the gate in Week 1 (at home against the Patriots). Looking for Week 1 Lamar Miller Power Rankings? As for the preseason, we will see Miller this Friday at Atlanta.

NEWS: Lamar Miller to finally breakout in 2014; Moreno could miss entire preseason?

According to numerous reports, Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno could miss the entire preseason with a knee injury; Lamar Miller has been the first-team rep rusher during camp, which is expected to remain the case during the preseason.

SMITTY: No one was more disappointed in the usage of Lamar Miller last season than I was, and I still stand by my valuation of the guy — that he has elite talent. Given how much support he has recently received from his coaching staff, I won’t lie, I’m starting to get excited again, especially given the fact that Miller holds roughly a 7th-round ADP. New play caller Bill Lazor has backed Miller, something we never saw last year in Miami, and Lazor is going to be conducting a run-based attack in 2014, so Miller has both a “bounce-back” and “sleeper” tag heading into Week 1. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Lamar Miller to finally be utilized in 2014?

According to the Miami Herald, the Dolphins reportedly have hopes that Lamar Miller “can play the role of LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy’ — the Eagles’ running back who was wildly productive during Bill Lazor’s year with coach Chip Kelly in Philadelphia.”

SMITTY: Lamar Miller was on our Upside Board (bold predictions) last season, and let me tell you, he didn’t fail due to lack of talent. That Miami staff last season refused to use the ultra-talented running back, but Bill Lazor has his head on straight. With a 7th-round ADP, we’re looking at mostly ‘high-reward’ and very little risk, folks. He disappointed last year, no question; however, invest once more in the guy given the price tag — the upside is huge! View our 2014 Top 10 Bold Predictions!

NEWS: Knowshon Moreno will undergo knee surgery; Is it Miller time?

According to Adam Schefter on Twitter, Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno “will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery this week and miss four to five weeks, per ESPN sources.”

SMITTY: While Knowshon Moreno should “technically” be back in time for Week 1, Lamar Miller should have a kung fu grip on that Dolphins’ starting running back job by then; Moreno is not fully conditioned now, it’s hard to imagine him being in shape come Week 1. Miller disappointed me more than anyone last year, as I had him pegged to breakout. However, given his 8th- to 9th-round ADP in redraft, he is well worth the grab, as that’s practically no-risk territory. It was the coaching last year that led to Miller’s underutilization, and while poor decision making could once again rob opportunity, Miller has a nice little window between now and Week 1 to show his elusiveness and Frank Gore-like skill set. Want 2014 projections? Get it here:
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NEWS: Knowshon Moreno might need knee surgery; Lamar Miller’s time to shine?

UPDATE: According to Jason Cole on Twitter, the knee of Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno is “bad”. He added, “Prob will play, but the issue is how long.”

According to profootballtalk’s Mike Florio, Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno “may need knee surgery”. The report also suggests that if Moreno needs arthroscopic surgery, “he’d likely be ready to go in time for training camp.”

SMITTY: We previously reported that Moreno was sitting out practice, and Lamar Miller was getting the first-team reps — now we know why. Miller was one of my breakout candidates last year, but that Dolphins’ coaching staff refused to let him loose. I stand by all my statements last year, that Lamar can become Frank Gore-good, but he needs to get starter-type carries, something that now might look possible. While most will avoid this situation entirely in 2014, disappointment is actually built into his ADP (9th-round) right now — He is well worth the risk given that ADP. Check out our 2014 projections for both backs:
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