Jay Ajayi started the 2017 season as a Dolphin but finished it as a Super Bowl champion. The Dolphins traded Ajayi to the Eagles prior to Week 9, and he helped Philadelphia win the championship as part of a strong running back committee with LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement. Blount left the Eagles as a free agent, and Ajayi should enter this season as the lead back. That makes him a solid No. 2 Fantasy running back coming into the year, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 4 in the majority of leagues. Clement and Darren Sproles will share touches with Ajayi, and that could hurt Ajayi in the passing game. With the Eagles, Ajayi had four games with at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in seven regular-season games, but he only had double digits in carries in three of those outings. He should take on more work in 2018, and this is a dynamic offense with a standout offensive line. Ajayi should be in line for a quality season.
Ajayi carried the ball four times and tallied 20 yards during Thursday's 31-14 loss to the Steelers. Ajayi's highlight of the night came midway through the first quarter when, with Eagles operating out of their own end zone, the powerful back bulldozed through the Steelers' defense for a 22-yard gain. The Eagles have a deep and varied backfield heading into this season, but with LeGarrette Blount now in Detroit, Ajayi should get the bulk of the carries in Philly's offense. Entering a contract season, Ajayi has a ton of incentive to make the most of those opportunities.
Ajayi could be tasked with a heavy workload heading into a contract season, Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.com reports. Ajayi usurped LeGarette Blount for the lead-back role late last season, averaging 13.8 carries in six games (including playoffs) after Week 13. Of course, Blount still averaged 8.1 carries during that stretch, so his departure for Detroit should open up quite a few snaps and touches for the running backs left behind. The backfield group also includes Corey Clement and Darren Sproles (knee/arm), but Ajayi is a clear favorite to lead the team in carries. The 25-year-old certainly won't object to a large workload, as he enters his contract season with a lot to prove in terms of both effectiveness and durability. It helps that he'll run behind one of the best offensive lines in the league, though a lack of pass-catching prowess (79 career receptions) does hint at some limitation in his ceiling.
Eagles executive vice president Howie Roseman said Wednesday that he expects Ajayi to get "more involved" in the team's offensive game plans during the upcoming season, Joe Schad of The Palm Beach Post reports. After a breakout 2016 campaign with the Dolphins, Ajayi failed to live up to expectations last season for those that invested an early round pick in the running back in fantasy drafts. Ajayi averaged just 3.4 yards per carry and scored no touchdowns in seven games with Miami before being dealt to Philadelphia on Oct. 31. While he saw more limited snap counts with the Eagles as part of a backfield committee with LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement, Ajayi displayed the big-play ability that made him an attractive commodity entering the year, cranking out 5.8 yards per carry on 70 totes in his final seven regular-season contests. With a full offseason to familiarize himself with the Eagles' offensive schemes and Blount likely headed elsewhere in free agency, Ajayi seems primed for a larger workload in 2018, though the 24-year-old's chronic knee issues may make head coach Doug Pederson reluctant to use Ajayi as the true three-down back many envisioned he would become.
Ajayi (ankle) practiced in full Wednesday. Last week, Ajayi followed a full session Wednesday with limited participation Thursday and Friday. However, the Eagles didn't attach a status to the running back, indicating he would have been active if a game was played this past Sunday. With a full practice to kick off this week, Ajayi seems set to lead the backfield Sunday against the Patriots, as he has in the first two playoff games. In those outings, he earned the most offensive snaps (60) and touches (39) among Philly running backs.
Ajayi (ankle) was a limited practice participant Friday. In nine contests as an Eagle (including playoffs), Ajayi has averaged 77.3 yards from scrimmage per game and scored a pair of touchdowns. Based on Friday's injury report, if the Eagles were playing this Sunday, Ajayi would be free of an injury designation. The running back is thus firmly on track to be available when his team faces the Patriots on Feb. 4 in Super Bowl LII.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/16||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||29||19.13|
|6||10/12||@New York Giants||21||17.88|
|11||11/18||@New Orleans Saints||12||17.22|
|12||11/25||New York Giants||21||17.88|
|15||12/17||@Los Angeles Rams||27||19.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||172||777||3||19||133||0||106|