By Anthony Knox
Follow Me on Twitter @ff_knox
I’ve been watching all offseason and it has finally happened! Arian Foster is no longer a free agent as he signed a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins. I don’t feel this is a surprise since it was reported his meeting with the Dolphins earlier in the offseason went well, but he wasn’t healthy enough for physical activity at the time.
Foster was also scheduled to meet with the Lions later this week, but clearly that won’t happen now that he has signed with the Dolphins.
What does this mean for the Dolphins fantasy value? I believe it makes the entire offense improve significantly!
Well, let me back up. As long as Adam Gase has his way, Foster will be used correctly and the Dolphins’ offense improves. The Dolphins didn’t know how to properly use Lamar Miller (which is funny since Miller now plays for Foster’s old team), which was under a different regime. Gase likes using the running back position prominently in his offense, so Foster has the possibility of being an elite running back for fantasy football playing for Miami.
Arian Foster has played 13 games or more only four times in his career. When he plays at least 13, his averages are:
Rushing Attempts – 304
Rushing Yards – 1,378
Rushing Touchdowns – 12
Targets – 68
Receptions – 49
Receiving Yards – 441
Yards Per Receptions – 9
Receiving Touchdowns – 3
If you take those average totals alone, Foster scores 272 points in standard scoring leagues and 321 points in PPR leagues. Per game, that means you’re getting 17 points in standard and 20 in PPR. Even coming off the Achilles injury he suffered, I don’t doubt that Foster can match his averages from those seasons.
Arian Foster’s presence in the offense helps Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry, and DeVante Parker. Tannehill now has another weapon to pass to out of the backfield, and Foster excels at taking the dump passes and either scoring or getting the first down. Foster will take pressure off of Tannehill to be able to pass more when needed, which Landry and Parker will be the beneficiaries of Tannehill having more time in the pocket.
What does this mean for Jay Ajayi? It means two things. First, the Dolphins do not have a lot of faith in him to be the lead back. Foster was not the first running back brought into Miami as the Dolphins were close to signing C.J. Anderson when free agency began. The Dolphins had been looking for someone else to take the lead role.
The other thing this means for Ajayi is that he gets a year to learn from one of the best running backs ever in the NFL. If Ajayi can remain focused and not have a bitter taste in his mouth about Foster being there, he will not only grow as a player but also still have a chance to play significantly if and when Foster gets hurt. Foster has 3 seasons where he played in less than half of the games in the season.
Ajayi has a lot of value in the “garbage time” of the game this year. If the Dolphins are winning towards the end of the game, they will take Foster out of the game so he doesn’t injure himself and Ajayi will get the work. A running back that is trying to run out the clock has a tendency to get good yardage, and scores quite often.
Arian Foster is the starter in Miami, and should be drafted as such. If you draft Foster, like I plan to do a lot now, you need to draft Jay Ajayi earlier than you probably want to in your draft.