Welcome back to another edition of Vox Talks; the series that peels back the curtain on the private DLF writer Voxer chat.
The NFL trade deadline this season was bananas. I’ve been watching this game for 25 years and it was the most active and exciting one I’ve ever seen play out. There were several deals relevant for fantasy, but the most intriguing was Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles for the price of a 2018 fourth-round NFL draft pick. Make no mistake, this is a huge upgrade for one of the best teams in the league. One NFL executive compared this move to when the Seahawks traded for Marshawn Lynch.
Instead of pretending that LeGarrette Blount can catch the ball and that Wendell Smallwood can be productive in the NFL, the Eagles get a running back who can do it all. Let’s not forget that head coach Doug Pederson is an Andy Reid disciple and we know what Reid does for running back fantasy value when he has a versatile player that can do it all. I’m not saying that Ajayi will get everything, but I think once he is established in this offense he will get the lion’s share of the workload and that includes scoring opportunities inside the ten.
Perhaps my favorite part about adding Ajayi to a contender is the fact that he gets three of the worst run defenses in the fantasy playoffs. In week 14 the Eagles face the Rams, who gave up big games to Carlos Hyde, Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette, and Chris Thompson. In week 15, Ajayi gets the Giants who gave it up to Zeke, Ameer Abdullah, Melvin Gordon, and Todd Gurley. In week 16, the fantasy Super Bowl, he gets the Raiders who have given up nice production to Thompson, C.J. Anderson, Javorius Allen, Kareem Hunt, Gordon, Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams.
I expect Ajayi to be a big part of fantasy championships in 2017 for owners willing to spend a mid 2018 first to acquire him. Let’s see what some of our writers had to say about what they are doing with Jay Ajayi.
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LeGarrette Blount has 12 carries inside the ten, with just one touchdown and eight carries inside the five. He is the worst red zone running back inside the five and ten-yard lines. It’s probably one of the reasons the Eagles went after Ajayi. I am not remotely concerned about Blount taking touches from Ajayi in the red zone.
In regards to Ajayi, I think the move is a positive one. I’m just not sure it’s as much a positive as everyone seems to think. If I recall correctly, I read on Twitter that Darren Sproles was the last Eagles RB to play 60% or more of snaps.
Dating back to start of 2016, there are just 3 instances of an #Eagles RB playing 60+ percent of snaps in a single game. All were Sproles.
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) October 31, 2017
I know Ajayi also got his first touchdown this season on Sunday, but the presence of Blount does worry me for his red zone touches for this year.
Buying, holding, or selling depends on his price. I sold my two shares this off-season. In one league I got Tevin Coleman, Devante Parker, and a second. In the other, I got Kareem Hunt, Kenny Golladay, and a 2018 first. I doubt he’s as expensive anymore but I wouldn’t buy unless his price was cheaper than two firsts. I wouldn’t sell Ajayi either though, unless I could get at least two firsts.
I’m very high overall on Ajayi in Philadelphia. He went from a struggling offense with a struggling offensive line to its polar opposite – Philly is rolling right now. I love his potential in that situation, and his first week after limited time with the team was a great sign.
If I’m a contender, I’m giving a first plus to buy Ajayi. I’ll give even more if I have a real need and one strong running back could sway my chances toward a championship. I’m not selling, but if I got an offer of multiple first round pick value, I’m not sure I could turn it down. A promising young talent plus a first might get me to hit that accept button. But I’m more apt to hold or buy than sell at this point.
I’m interested in buying Ajayi in the right team situation, but not super excited about it. Clearly, at his best, he’s a tough, bruising, tackle-breaking difference-maker, but I worry about three things. First, he has shown a bad attitude at times and allegedly was not interested in fully understanding Adam Gase’s playbook. Second, the Eagles have shown a preference for a committee backfield under Pederson. I’m not convinced that changes with the addition of a player they spent a fourth round pick on. Third, the ubiquitous but accurate injury worries about his knee.
Where I own shares, I’m thrilled, but he’s not someone I’m going out to buy because in my opinion there is no value to be gained.
Ajayi has looked good all year, something PFF’s grade and other metrics support. The issue with production falls to the Miami offense as a whole. Now free from that dumpster fire and behind a stout line, he is a clear fantasy RB1 the rest of 2017. The bigger question is how long can he sustain it? The knee thing seems real and is a major cause for concern.
So with all that said, I would be happy to buy at a high RB2 price on teams with a short window. But if I am rebuilding, or even just reloading, I am probably looking elsewhere. If I am a seller, I would want a late first to make it happen, but there are situations I would take less.
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