Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores shocked the fantasy football landscape by stating he likes using the running-back-by-committee approach. RB Myles Gaskin had a great 2020 season, but should you start him for fantasy in Week 1?
Gaskin’s per-game production last season
Gaskin played 69% of the Dolphins’ offensive snaps last season. He averaged 19 opportunities, 97.4 total yards, and 17 PPR fantasy points per game. Furthermore, Gaskin finished as an RB2+ or better in 80% of his games in PPR formats.
He rushed for a touchdown in three contests in 2020 but did not run for more than one in a single game. This is important because a player’s per-game production is very predictive. Gaskin was also on the field for 80% of third-down snaps in 2020. Additionally, he caught 41 of his 47 targets for 388 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Dolphins’ preseason running back by committee
Malcolm Brown’s usage in the Dolphins’ first preseason game had fantasy managers sweating bullets. He played 34% of the snaps while Salvon Ahmed played 21%.
Gaskin should continue to be used heavily on third downs. His ability as a receiver and his proficiency running the football provides him a higher ceiling than Brown or Ahmed. Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa should target him early and often.
How should you view Gaskin in Week 1?
Gaskin can be viewed as a high-end RB3 against the Patriots. He provides you with a relatively high floor and low ceiling, given the matchup as the lead back in Miami’s committee. However, the Dolphins’ offensive line may struggle to create running lanes against the Patriots’ defensive front.
Now, you may be thinking about how the Dolphins rushed for 250 yards against the Patriots the last time these two teams were on the field.
New England’s defense allowed 24+ fantasy points per game to running backs at Gillette Stadium last season. Still, after observing them during the preseason, Miami’s offensive line has more questions than answers.
New England also significantly improved their front seven this offseason. The outcome could be very different this Sunday. The Patriots’ 2021 unit will be far different than the one that allowed 131.4 yards per game and gave up 17 rushing touchdowns in 2020.
Those considering starting Gaskin should be concerned about Patriots edge rusher Josh Uche vs. Dolphins OT Austin Jackson. The former first-round pick and second-year offensive tackle has not lived up to the hype. Uche, meanwhile, has had a tremendous training camp and preseason for New England. He could disrupt the Dolphins’ running and passing attacks in Week 1.
The matchup between the Dolphins and the Patriots isn’t shaping up to be a fantasy bonanza. In fact, based on the 43.5 over/under and the 3-point spread, it’s likely to be slow-paced.
The decision on whether to insert Gaskin into your lineup really comes down to your roster construction. Are you looking for upward volatility or safety?