NFL Preseason Week 3 Roundup: Jay Ajayi Can Be Your Fantasy Cornerstone – Bleacher Report
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Watching preseason football is a scouting mission for more than just the general managers ready to pounce after roster cuts. You, the fantasy football champion, have your scouting notebook handy too.
We’re in the peak time for strategizing, scheming and reminding Lenny in accounting that you’ve owned him for years. And Thursday night Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi reminded everyone that he can lead their bragging-rights crusades in 2017.
Ajayi is one of just four running backs in league history to run for 200-plus yards in two straight games. That pushed him to finish fourth in rushing during the 2016 season, his first year as a starter after getting only 49 carries in 2015. And remarkably, Ajayi reached that perch even though he didn’t earn his starting status until Week 5.
Many fantasy minds were imagining what he could do over a full year after watching Ajayi bully his way through the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night. Now just as many trigger fingers should be itchy when his name pops up on draft day.
We begin with Ajayi’s adventures in this look back at the opening dress rehearsal night in Week 3 of the preseason. And we’ll get to the continued Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback misadventures shortly.
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Ajayi can be a stud in both fantasy and reality.
In real life he’ll do plenty of rumbling, bashing and bruising for a run-heavy offense. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase will surely look to take the burden of moving the offense away from his aging quarterback, and instead place it on Ajayi’s ample shoulders. He responded with 1,272 rushing yards in 2016 when Gase went with that approach, which included three games with 200-plus yards.
With that heavy workload Ajayi may have helped to push you toward a fantasy football championship, too. And it’s always nice when fantasy football pays for your holiday shopping in December.
Ajayi is effective because of his one-cut power. He used that Thursday night against the Eagles to plow forward for 53 yards on nine carries (5.9 yards per carry). Much of his production came on a 26-yard burst up the middle, and Ajayi also reminded us that he’s a goal-line bruiser by scoring twice, with both touchdowns coming on two-yard plunges.
The 24-year-old is one of the league’s youngest pain trains as he hammers away with his 6’0″ and 223-pound body. And he’ll get lots of opportunities to keep painting opponents black and blue in 2017.
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There are a few annual rituals of late August. And by now back to school shopping and moving into dorm rooms is right up there alongside buying into false hope for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
If you’re a fan of watching great football players do great football things, then at least a small part of you is dying while looking up and down the Jaguars quarterback depth chart. Thursday night your soul became a little darker too.
The Jaguars have a roster filled with talent. Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye could quickly become the league’s best young cornerback duo. Wide receiver Allen Robinson is just one year removed for a 1,400-yard season, and opposite him Allen Hurns was also stellar in the not-so distant past, hauling in 64 receptions for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2015. Then there’s fourth-round pick Leonard Fournette, who’s set to anchor the backfield after recording 4,356 yards from scrimmage over three seasons at LSU.
That’s just naming a few standouts from a roster finally giving a desperate fan base something it’s craved from some time: hope. Sadly, it could all be wiped away in a hurry by the woeful combination of Chad Henne and Blake Bortles.
Bortles was finally removed from his position as the presumed starter. He was wearing a headset instead of a helmet during the first half Thursday night. All Henne had to do was avoid a complete face plant, and he could amazingly take a job from another Jaguars first-round pick.
His response? Henne completed just 57.1 percent of his pass attempts, and was sacked three times in one half of play against the Carolina Panthers. He did connect on one well-placed deep ball to Robinson for 37 yards. But even with that single moment of competence tossed in he still averaged just 5.2 yards per throw.
The Jaguars have reached five-alarm status with their quarterback situation. They have one passer in Henne who is a placeholder and spot starter at best, and another in Bortles who has thrown 16-plus interceptions in three straight seasons.
Hey, I hear that Colin Kaepernick guy is still avaliable.