Dolphins’ RB Outlook: Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel (2022 Fantasy Football)
Is there a depth chart in the NFL that’s more jumbled and confusing than the Miami Dolphins backfield?
Miami’s acquisitions at running back didn’t get as much attention as the Tyreek Hill trade, the Terron Armstead signing and the hiring of new head coach Mike McDaniel. But take a look at Miami’s depth chart and you’ll see several new and familiar names.
The Dolphins brought in Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert and Sony Michel during free agency this season. Last year’s leading rusher, Myles Gaskin, is still in the fold too. But he’s now fourth on the preliminary depth chart leading up to training camp.
Does anyone in this backfield offer any value from a fantasy perspective? Or will Miami’s backfield be nothing but a heartburn-inducing timeshare? Here’s a closer look at the Dolphins’ tailbacks.
- A Closer Look at the Chiefs Wide Receivers
- A Closer Look at the Falcons Running Backs
- A Closer Look at the Cardinals Wide Receivers
Miami’s running game was pretty awful last season, ranking 30th in rushing yards. And the tailbacks were primarily to blame, as Miami ranked 30th in running back yards, 30th in open field yards and 31st in second-level yards.
However, Miami’s running game could be drastically different in 2022. For starters, McDaniel arrives after serving as the running game coordinator for Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. In McDaniel’s five years in the role, the 49ers rushed for the 11th-most yards in the league. And San Francisco finished seventh in rushing in 2022, McDaniel’s first year as offensive coordinator.
McDaniel will likely utilize the zone running scheme that Shanahan has made famous in the Bay Area. This scheme requires running backs with the ability to hit the hole fast along with good enough vision to identify cutback lanes. It’s a system that’s made fantasy stars out of relative unknowns such as Elijah Mitchell and Raheem Mostert. However, it’s a system that also can yield to a committee.
Edmonds could be the only back in this group who has a solidified role entering training camp. Edmonds delivers the most value as a pass-catching back, as he’s hauled in 96 receptions for 713 yards over the last two years with the Arizona Cardinals.
The problem with Edmonds is he’s spent most of his career in a timeshare. He finished as the RB35 last season in Arizona and was essentially the third-down replacement for James Conner, who had 239 touches to Edmonds’ 159.
Fantasy Outlook: Edmonds isn’t a bad player at all, but he hasn’t proven he can handle a heavy workload. He’ll likely be Miami’s primary pass-catching back, which certainly offers value. But his ranking as the RB35 is proof of the market’s skepticism regarding his ceiling.
Mostert is one of this scheme’s most recent success stories. He was practically an unknown in league ranks until the 2019 season, during which he rushed for 772 yards on just 137 carries and finished as the RB20. He joined Miami on a one-year deal this offseason.
And while Mostert has familiarity with this system and with McDaniel, his career has fizzled out ever since that 2019 season. Injury is the primary reason why, as Mostert missed half the season in 2020 and played only one game in 2021.
A former track athlete, Mostert’s speed is his greatest attribute. However, he turned 30 recently and his durability is in question.
Fantasy Outlook: Mostert’s ranking as the RB44 conveys that the fantasy community doesn’t seem to know what to do with him. He’s ranked below Edmonds, but above Michel. If you believe that Mostert’s decline was entirely due to injury, then he might be worth a late-round flyer as a bounce-back candidate. His experience with McDaniel is certainly an advantage.
Michel joined Miami in May, agreeing to a one-year deal with the club. Last season, Michel rushed for 845 yards and five touchdowns for the Los Angeles Rams and started seven games when Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson were sidelined with injuries.
The former first-round pick hasn’t delivered on his potential. But it’s worth noting that Michel has rushed for at least 845 yards in three of his four seasons. The problem is Michel isn’t a dynamic or efficient runner, as he’s averaged 4.2 yards per carry over his career.
Fantasy Outlook: Call me crazy, but Michel might be the most appealing back in this group. He could find a role as Miami’s lead back on early downs and is a good enough plodder to run between the tackles and get what’s blocked for him. He also could be Miami’s goal-line back, as he’s the biggest back of this new committee. If Miami’s offense takes a big step forward in 2022, then Michel could be this season’s version of Conner. At RB47, Michel could be an afterthought in drafts who delivers RB3 value.
Sometimes, being the incumbent in the NFL is a good thing. But that isn’t the case for Gaskin. Miami’s new regime essentially told us what they think of Gaskin by bringing in three new players on cheap deals. Gaskin lost the trust of his coaching staff last season because he was horribly inefficient, rushing for just 3.5 yards per carry. He managed to finish as last season’s RB26 because Miami had nobody else and because he lucked into four receiving scores.
Fantasy Outlook: Gaskin is ranked as the RB64 right now, 17 spots behind Michel. That’s awfully telling. While Miami’s backfield could be an ugly committee in 2022, I wouldn’t expect Gaskin to get in on the fun. And that’s if he even makes the 53-man roster.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.