Salvon Ahmed: Potential Stretch-Run Hero for 2020 (Fantasy Football)
We’re getting to the point of the fantasy football season where you need to start looking for that one guy who can be a stretch-run hero and help carry your team to a championship. In Week 10, undrafted rookie running back Salvon Ahmed churned out a borderline RB1 performance, finishing as the RB14 in PPR leagues. He has seized the opportunity to take over featured-back duties for the Dolphins and is poised to pick up where Myles Gaskin had left off before being sent to injured reserve. So, let’s take a deep look at who Salvon Ahmed is as a player and what he’s worth as a priority waiver wire pickup for this week.
Salvon Ahmed played his college ball as a member of the Washington Huskies. It’s hard not to compare him to fellow Dolphins RB Myles Gaskin as the two were teammates there. Ahmed had a small role as a freshman, but he played as Gaskin’s direct backup by his sophomore season. Ahmed had a solid role in the passing game early on, logging 21 receptions for 170 yards as a sophomore. Gaskin managed just 77 yards on the same amount of receptions that season, though he out-touched Ahmed on the ground with 259 carries to Ahmed’s 104. In 2019, with Gaskin in the NFL, Ahmed took over as the lead back for Washington, recording 1,020 yards on 188 attempts with 11 TDs.
In college, Ahmed was touted as having top-end speed, but he bombed at the combine, running just a 4.62-second 40-yard dash. His poor performance and lack of a solid college workload resulted in him going undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. He was first picked up by the 49ers post-draft alongside JaMycal Hasty as an undrafted depth piece. Hasty stuck on the practice squad while Ahmed was placed on waivers. The Dolphins quickly scooped him up as a practice-squad depth piece, seeing the potential he had.
Ahmed made his debut in Week 9 against the Cardinals behind $5-million-dollar-man Jordan Howard. Howard managed just 19 yards on 10 carries in that game, but Ahmed led the team with 38 rushing yards on seven carries. Between outplaying Howard in Week 9 and flashing in practice before Week 10, Ahmed proved enough to coaches to make them comfortable starting him in Week 10 and declaring Howard a healthy scratch, per the Miami Herald. Ahmed handled 21 carries in Week 10, running for 85 yards and a touchdown. No other Dolphins RB handled more than three touches in the game.
State of the Offense
The Dolphins have been a revelation this season after being one of the worst teams in the league in 2019. They’re currently in second place in the AFC East and firmly in the playoff picture as a Wild Card threat at worst. They’re top 10 in the league averaging 27.9 PPG on offense. Their rushing offense specifically doesn’t paint quite as rosy of a picture. Their 888 total rushing yards ranks bottom five in the league. Despite the low production numbers, they’re running the ball 46% of the time overall this season, which ranks eighth-most in the NFL. That is up significantly from the 34% they ran last season. Their rushing production is up slightly as of late, with Tua Tagovailoa under center as well. They’ve run the ball 50.9% of the time over the last three weeks and ran it 56% of the time in Week 10 per Team Rankings.
According to our Fantasy Leaders tool, before getting hurt, Myles Gaskin ranked as RB17 in PPR leagues between Weeks 1-8. He finished no worse than a Flex play (top-36) every week while notching two top-10 finishes. He was averaging 14.1 PPG, which was right below Chiefs’ rookie Clyde Edward-Helaire. He is still expected to remain on injured reserve until at least Week 12 or 13 according to Dr. Jesse Morse. Salvon Ahmed presents the same skill-set, similar size, and has already been given the same opportunity share the Gaskin had. I highly question what Gaskin’s workload will look like when he returns. The fact that the team made Jordan Howard, a player they actively pursued in the offseason and paid well, completely inactive speaks volumes about how much faith they have in Ahmed. Their release of Howard on Monday further cements Ahmed into an unquestioned bell-cow role for the time being.
Not only does Ahmed’s opportunity share going forward look incredibly optimistic, but his strength of schedule is also one of the easiest for the remainder of the season. Over the final six weeks of the fantasy season, the Dolphins will face four teams who rank inside the top-10 when it comes to most fantasy points allowed to running backs this season. During the traditional fantasy playoffs specifically, they’ll face the Chiefs (14th), Patriots (10th), and Raiders (4th). Barring injury, Ahmed has weekly RB2 appeal as we advance with RB1 upside, given all the soft matchups he’ll face. I would drop a significant remainder of my FAAB to acquire Ahmed as a potential stretch-run hero.
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