As slow as it’s moving, now is the time to get on the Kalen Ballage fantasy football bandwagon.
With first-team reps early in training camp, Kalen Ballage was easy to point to as a deep fantasy sleeper this year. The depth chart has cleared out for him slowly but surely, with Kenyan Drake traded to the Arizona Cardinals and Mark Walton suspended (now waived after involvement in a police matter).
In fantasy football terms, opportunity drives value. In the first two games Walton was suspended, Ballage played 82 and 77 percent of Miami’s offensive snaps. Being especially productive is another matter though, as he had 43 yards on 20 carries against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10 and nine carries for nine yards and a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills in Week 11. Of some note is his nine catches (albeit for only 10 yards) on 10 targets over those two games.
Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post offered a dismal note regarding Ballage.
If the Dolphins had much faith in who has been and will be behind Ballage (Patrick Laird, Myles Gaskin), it’s safe to assume more opportunities would be going their way. Over the next five weeks, only the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13 stands out as a particularly stifling matchup for Ballage. The New York Jets in Week 14 is a fairly tough-looking matchup, but in recent weeks they haven’t exactly faced great running backs and the one they did (Saquon Barkley) was not at full capacity.
Even with the Dolphins trailing in games and throwing the ball plenty, Ballage is getting the lion’s share of the backfield work and there are no signs that is going to change. As fantasy owners have mostly been turned off by his lackluster showing as Miami’s lead back, Ballage is only owned in 37 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 34.2 percent of ESPN leagues.
It doesn’t have to be pretty to be fantasy relevant and productive. As a RB3 or flex option in 12 and 14-team leagues, and a bench stash candidate if nothing else, it’s time to get on the Ballage fantasy bandwagon. I promise it won’t be hard to catch up to, as he probably continues to fall forward for less than two yards per carry. But on the idea some of that falling comes across the goal line, there’s some latent upside if you look really hard.