The Miami Dolphins have shaken up the fantasy football landscape a bit by injecting yet another electrifying playmaker into their offense. And in turn, it’s created somewhat of a headache and a tough call for fantasy players in Week 16. With Frank Gore suffering an injury last week, the Dolphins offense briefly became the Kalen Ballage show.
For those who haven’t taken the deep dive into Ballage’s background just yet, it’s tough to blame you. After all, the rookie running back out of Arizona State had received just eight carries this season prior to his number being called against the Minnesota Vikings.
But when Ballage finally received his opportunity, he made his presence felt with a 75-yard touchdown which had many scanning the fantasy football waiver wires. He wrapped up the day with 12 carries for 123 yards and the one touchdown but is primed for a bigger workload moving forward.
This comes due to the Dolphins’ decision to place Frank Gore on injured reserve with a sprained foot. With Gore on the shelf and Kenyan Drake’s workload being cut back, the fantasy outlook for Ballage in Week 16 against the Jacksonville Jaguars is worth discussing.
Kalen Ballage Week 16 Matchup & Fantasy Outlook
The situation is somewhat of an interesting one, but it does bode fairly well for Ballage from a fantasy standpoint. Even with Gore playing 13 percent of the offensive snaps last game, the rookie received 49 percent of the work, just narrowly behind the 53 percent given to Drake, per Football Outsiders.
But those numbers don’t tell the entire story, as Drake has been battling a shoulder injury which will impact things moving forward. This led to him earning just one carry through the entirety of last game. Drake seems to be working more as the pass-catching back, which would leave Ballage to handle the bulk of the ground duty.
As far as this matchup goes, the Jaguars are a bit scarier in name than actual run defense currently. On the season, they’ve allowed 1,232 yards on 294 carries with eight rushing touchdowns. The numbers aren’t overly incredible, but this is also the team that just allowed 238 yards and four touchdowns in one game to Derrick Henry.
Should You Start or Sit Kalen Ballage?
I wouldn’t go wild trying to start Ballage in 10-team leagues unless you need a flex play due to an injury. A case can at least be made for the Dolphins young running back to be in the mix for 12-team leagues, but anything smaller than that is probably a stretch.
But when factoring in that multiple big-name running backs such as James Conner and Todd Gurley could sit out, it makes the decision interesting. Even beyond those two, the likes of Spencer Ware and a few others may miss Week 16, leading to a player like Ballage being a solid fill-in option, specifically in larger leagues.
I’d feel confident using Ballage in all 14-team leagues or larger, and there are certain cases where he makes sense in 12-teamers also. This will mainly depend on your team’s depth and other options on the roster.