Fantasy Sleepers

Jay Ajayi Traded to Eagles: Fantasy Impact

Jay Ajayi to Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles acquired Jay Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a fourth-round pick on Tuesday morning. The deal emerged out of nowhere and definitely put a Halloween scare into the hearts of Dolphins fans. With Jarvis Landry also rumored to be shipped out before the NFL trade deadline, the writing is on the wall, the Miami Dolphins are cleaning house and calling it a season.

The Eagles have been masters of trades in recent years. They received a 1st and 4th round pick for Sam Bradford, which they used to draft DE Derek Barnett and now trade for Jay Ajayi. GM Howie Roseman desires a lot of credit in building the team up to where they are today.

Who’s Getting Cut?

Adam Caplan reported the Eagles made the trade due to LeGarrette Blount’s inconsistency. However, even Blount supporters such as myself knew that he wasn’t going to be able to sustain this workload all season long. Blount has been rumored to be on the chopping block as far back as the last summer, but realistically has been a pleasant surprise. He has had some big runs this season and has been most effective as the teams game closer, getting carries late in contests after the defense is worn down.

I had honestly projected a larger role from Wendall Smallwood last week against the winless 49ers. I figured after being back from injury and in a game where the Eagles were favored by 14 points, Smallwood’s opportunity to prove his worth would be week eight. The result was just one carry for 5 yards. To my surprise, it was rookie Corey Clement who had the most yardage with his 10 carries for 54 yards. Blount chipped away with 16 carries for 48 yards and punched in his second rushing score of the season.

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Right now, I would think the team would be trying to deal Smallwood for cheap. If they can’t, I think they waive Kenjon Barner. If he clears waivers, they sign him back to the practice squad. Barner was brought on after Darren Sproles was lost for the season.

Workload Disruption

Jay Ajayi will be given every opportunity to be the bellcow RB1, but he’ll have to earn it. Eagles VP of Football Operations Howie Roseman said LeGarrette Blount remains the team’s starting running back. I would temper expectations this first week against the Broncos, as he doesn’t know the offense just yet. The Eagles have a bye week 10, followed by a Sunday Night game against the Dallas Cowboys. That could be his first game with a large workload. Considering Blount has had his moments this year, and offers size as a compliment RB and surprise elusiveness, I feel he still offers value. I fully expect Ajayi to win the starting job, but it’s not going to happen right away.

My guess for workload disruption after the bye week: Jay Ajayi 60%, Bount 35%, Clement 5%

Jay Ajayi Fantasy Value

Ajayi in Philly is definitely a boost in fantasy value. He will get to run behind a better offensive line and will be playing with a quarterback that defenses know they can’t sleep on. As it turns out, Ajayi will get two bye weeks in 2017 which is a bonus for the Eagles who look to make a Super Bowl run. Those trading for Ajayi today will have to wait a few weeks to see the real fantasy impact. A better strategy may be to target him through trade after the game against the Cowboys if he doesn’t perform well. Remember, this is a move the Eagles are making for the NFL playoffs, they want to ease him along and get him ready for late in the season and post-season. You need to think about Ajayi as more of a sleeper Fantasy playoff trade target.

Thanks for Reading, you can follow me at: @MikeRigz



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