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Backfield Battles -- Miami And NY Jets Preseason Week One


Miami Dolphins

Brian Flores and his duo of offensive coordinators surprised everyone when Malcolm Brown appeared as the clear first-team back last weekend in Chicago. With Miami’s first-team offense, Brown out-snapped presumptive lead-back Myles Gaskin 16-to-7 and edged him in touches by a 10-to-3 margin. And this was not a case of saving Gaksin’s legs – Myles played with the rest of the back-ups into the second half, along with Salvon Ahmed.


Brown, for his part, struggled. He ran for only 8 yards on 9 carries, looking sloppy and slow in the process.


Gaskin has shown himself to be a much more advanced interior runner, who is also more elusive and explosive.


Even Ahmed, who is a serviceable second-option NFL runner with some explosive upside, should be getting touches ahead of Brown.


Takeaway: Following the game, Brian Flores channeled the worst of Belichick disciples, Matt Patricia, when he said “pick one out and put them in, basically” regarding these three backs. It’s a terrible sign for fantasy players who’ve spent 5th-round picks on Gaskin. Gaskin’s ADP has subsequently fallen by nearly an entire round and he’s going as RB27. Despite this potential Belichickian RB hell hole, Gaskin’s strong edge in talent and skill make him a good bet to win out as the season progresses. I have him as a buy given his current tanked cost.


While Brown seems like an obvious buy given his role and cost, I do not see any path to reliable production given his current skill-set. He just is not an NFL-caliber ball carrier at this point.



New York Jets

With Tevin Coleman out for personal reasons, Ty Johnson operated as the primary back, with Michael Carter spelling him for some first-team snaps. With the starting unit, Johnson out-snapped Carter 13-to-9, and saw all third-down snaps. The Jets ran run-scheme potpourri, mixing in a bit of everything, while contributing to some early offensive line mishaps and both RBs settling out at sub-4.0 yards per carry. Importantly, Mike LaFleur looks to be establishing a diverse, run-heavy attack that should be able to return value for more than one runner (assuming the young O-line gels – I’m optimistic).


Johnson was who he has been throughout his early career – an explosive runner who is not a refined craftsman between the tackles. He will pick up chunk yards if holes are big, and struggle when the spaces are tight. Carter, on the other hand, showed his skill-heavy running style is going to carry-over well to the NFL.


Takeaway: I am interested to see how Tevin Coleman mixes in upon his return. But as the youngest and ironically most refined runner on the Jets’ roster, I am confident Carter will grow his role throughout the season. As the current RB30, Carter is priced as a heavy committee back. Given what I saw on film this past weekend, I’m buying at that ADP.


Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson are also buys given their dirt-cheap round 16-plus ADPs. Worthwhile dart-throws in a backfield that wants to lean committee.

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