It’s not often you can find a running back with a guaranteed share of carries widely available in fantasy football at this point in the season. Nevertheless, that’s where we are with Miami Dolphins running back Mark Walton. Walton, a former member of the Cincinnati Bengals, joined the Dolphins in the offseason and should be the lead back now that Kenyan Drake is a member of the Arizona Cardinals. The Miami Dolphins might be the worst team in the league, but Walton’s guaranteed share of carries makes him at least remotely interesting for fantasy. Let’s take a look at Walton’s projected rest of season and see if he’s worth a pickup in deeper leagues.
Fantasy Football: Mark Walton Outlook Without Kenyan Drake
The Positives for Mark Walton
Opportunity is king in fantasy football, and Walton’s going to have a guaranteed share of carries each and every week. Even when Kenyan Drake was around, Walton started to take over the backfield. Now that Drake’s out of town, Walton has sole command of the backfield. During Week 8’s matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Walton recorded a team-high 11 carries for 35 yards. Kalen Ballage was the only other running back to receive work, and he only recorded eight yards on three carries.
The good news is that this usage probably won’t change as the year progresses. It’s hard to imagine the Dolphins adding another running back between now and the end of the season, as they’re actively trying to lose. If they do sign somebody, it’s going to be a street free agent who probably isn’t talented enough to usurp Walton. The only other running back on the roster is Kalen Ballage, and he’s no threat to Walton. Based on everything we’ve seen from Ballage, he’s simply not an NFL-caliber runner and is clearly the inferior player.
Additionally, Walton appears to be the first man in line for the pass-catching work. During Week 8’s loss, Walton recorded three receptions for 19 yards. This obviously isn’t much, but it’s better than Kalen Ballage and his one reception for 11 yards.
Walton has the opportunity, but the situation around him is absolutely terrible. Miami probably has the worst roster in the league, and everything is working against Walton’s fantasy value. Rushing production has more to do with the offensive line than the actual running back, and Miami’s offense is atrocious at creating rushing lanes. According to Football Outsiders, the Dolphins offensive line ranks 25th in overall run blocking and 30th in stuffed percentage. Walton entered Week 8 averaging a surprisingly good 4.6 yards per carry, but that’s probably going to decrease with a larger workload. This offensive line simply cannot move anyone around, and Walton’s going to be running into a lot of defenders in the backfield.
Additionally, Miami’s projected game scripts are not friendly to running backs. The Dolphins have the worst offense in the league, and thus Walton won’t have that many touchdown opportunities. On top of that, the Dolphins’ defense is atrocious, and Miami is going to trail in most of their outings. Because of this, the Dolphins are going to have to throw at a high rate, which means fewer touches for Walton.
If you’re playing in an eight- or 10-man league, leave Walton on the waivers. Even though he should have a high snap count, he’s working in an atrocious situation. Through no fault of his own, Walton is going to be one of the least efficient runners in the league with little to no touchdown upside. That said, he should receive 10-15 touches a game, which makes him a valuable bench piece and emergency bye week stream in deeper leagues.
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