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Dynasty: Kalen Ballage, RB Arizona State


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Kalen Ballage took the first snap at running back during team drills Thursday at Dolphins practice.

This could mean nothing, though it should serve as a reminder than Kenyan Drake's standing atop Miami's backfield depth chart isn't set in stone. Drake was out-rushed by aging plodder Frank Gore in 2018 and has never operated as a workhorse, even at the college level. Ballage struggled to get on the field as a rookie, but when he did he was effective, averaging over five yards per carry. He's an immense bargain at his current 14th-round ADP.

SOURCE: Armando Salguero on Twitter

Jul 25, 2019, 10:53 AM ET

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Knile Davis -- 227 lbs, 4.37 forty time, 33.5" vert, 121" broad, 6.96 3-cone, 4.38 20 yd shuttle K. Ballage -- 228 lbs, 4.46 forty time, 33.5" vert, 122" broad, 6.91 3-cone, 4.35 20 yd shuttle

I said it could be a lot worse...that is not cavalier...if Ballage turns into a Kareem Hunt level player Drake owners can worry but that is an awfully big leap from what he has shown to date...bottom

I don’t do this often because I like predictive metrics but going to call my shot that after years of the community chasing the Chris Henry’s and Christine Michaels of the world and then taking a coll

5 minutes ago, Twenty-Four Eighty-Four said:

Much more info will come out about time share, starters and such as training camp goes on. I wouldn't call myself out in this situation yet.

Very true and right now Ballage is a screaming value. However, there are a lot of signs that say perhaps neither Drake nor Ballage are all that good or capable of a workhorse role and they play on a team that be among the worst offenses in the NFL. 

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6 hours ago, King of the Jungle said:

This is interesting to me..

9h

Kalen Ballage takes first snap in team drills at RB. Sooo...Interesting what that means for Kenyan Drake.

You weren’t winning games with Drake as the lead back. Maybe they want to give Ballage a shot.

You can always go back to Drake.

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46 minutes ago, Raptors409 said:

You weren’t winning games with Drake as the lead back. Maybe they want to give Ballage a shot.

You can always go back to Drake.

While it's true they weren't winning games with Drake, they weren't winning much without him either.  What we do know is that he has about the equivalent of 1 Zeke-like workhorse season in his 3-yr career.  286 carries/94 catches = 380 touches.  And with those 380 touches, he averaged 4.7 YPC with 2120 total yards.  Zeke had 381 touches last year, with the same 4.7 YPC, with 2002 total yards.

What we don't know is how he would handle a workhorse load over an entire season, because he hasn't been tested yet.  The only glimpse was a 5 game stretch at the end of 2017.  He had 91 carries for 444 yards (4.9 YPC), to go along with 17 catches for 150 yards (8.8 YPR).  Now, I am not a fan of extrapolating small sample sizes, but I will do it here - over a 16 game season, that would equate to 291 carries for 1427 yards and 54 catches for 480 yards = 345 touches for 1907 yards.  Would he have been able to keep up that pace for 16 games?  We can't be sure, but my guess is no.

I think Drake is a good RB, but best suited for a shared role.  I see about a 60/40 split in Drake's favor, with Drake dominating the receptions.

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20 hours ago, Faust said:

 

Ballage struggled to get on the field as a rookie, but when he did he was effective, averaging over five yards per carry.

This stat is misleading.  Take away his 75 yard run and he's a little over 3 ypc.  36/191 5.3 vs 35/116 3.3 ypc. 

 The situation will be RBBC with neither Drake nor Ballage worthy more than a mid/late flyer.

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5 hours ago, TheWinz said:

While it's true they weren't winning games with Drake, they weren't winning much without him either.  What we do know is that he has about the equivalent of 1 Zeke-like workhorse season in his 3-yr career.  286 carries/94 catches = 380 touches.  And with those 380 touches, he averaged 4.7 YPC with 2120 total yards.  Zeke had 381 touches last year, with the same 4.7 YPC, with 2002 total yards.

What we don't know is how he would handle a workhorse load over an entire season, because he hasn't been tested yet.  The only glimpse was a 5 game stretch at the end of 2017.  He had 91 carries for 444 yards (4.9 YPC), to go along with 17 catches for 150 yards (8.8 YPR).  Now, I am not a fan of extrapolating small sample sizes, but I will do it here - over a 16 game season, that would equate to 291 carries for 1427 yards and 54 catches for 480 yards = 345 touches for 1907 yards.  Would he have been able to keep up that pace for 16 games?  We can't be sure, but my guess is no.

I think Drake is a good RB, but best suited for a shared role.  I see about a 60/40 split in Drake's favor, with Drake dominating the receptions.

:goodposting:

 

Have you ever considered working in the entertainment industry, son?

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8 hours ago, Raptors409 said:

You weren’t winning games with Drake as the lead back. Maybe they want to give Ballage a shot.

You can always go back to Drake.

We think Drake 13 touches a game the last 2 years was the reason they were finishing under 500? Lots of the metrics at playerprofiler showed he was really efficient last year. Now I don't think these metrics are the end all and ofcourse football is a small sample game, but they seem to hint he was pretty good in his role. 7th in juke rate, 13th in evaded tackles, 10th in yards per touch. Now he faced a lot of light fronts and got a lot of targets so they were getting in space which helped he be more efficient. The other interesting note is he got only 1 GL carry last year. To me, it says this backfield is likely to be a bit of a mess. Drake is almost certainly going to have a significant enough role to hurt Ballage but probably not a big enough role to warrajt his current ADP. 

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Kalen Ballage was the starting running back in team drills again at Friday's practice.

Ballage has been the first back in team drills through both days of camp, so this at least shows him getting the first nod on day one wasn't a fluke. Coach Brian Flores cautioned to not read too much into it, but he did say Ballage had a "great" offseason. Ballage flashed late last season but is not a perfect runner by any means. He's still too cheap in fantasy, being drafted as the RB59, which is virtually free. Kenyan Drake is currently going in the early middle rounds.

SOURCE: Armando Salguero on Twitter

Jul 26, 2019, 11:12 AM ET

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8 hours ago, TheWinz said:

While it's true they weren't winning games with Drake, they weren't winning much without him either.  What we do know is that he has about the equivalent of 1 Zeke-like workhorse season in his 3-yr career.  286 carries/94 catches = 380 touches.  And with those 380 touches, he averaged 4.7 YPC with 2120 total yards.  Zeke had 381 touches last year, with the same 4.7 YPC, with 2002 total yards.

What we don't know is how he would handle a workhorse load over an entire season, because he hasn't been tested yet.  The only glimpse was a 5 game stretch at the end of 2017.  He had 91 carries for 444 yards (4.9 YPC), to go along with 17 catches for 150 yards (8.8 YPR).  Now, I am not a fan of extrapolating small sample sizes, but I will do it here - over a 16 game season, that would equate to 291 carries for 1427 yards and 54 catches for 480 yards = 345 touches for 1907 yards.  Would he have been able to keep up that pace for 16 games?  We can't be sure, but my guess is no.

I think Drake is a good RB, but best suited for a shared role.  I see about a 60/40 split in Drake's favor, with Drake dominating the receptions.

Good post, but I would lean toward Ballage getting at close to an equal number of receptions as Drake if they are in a timeshare. Catching passes out of the backfield was about the only thing Ballage did well in college. 

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ESPN's Cameron Wolfe confirms Kalen Ballage has a "real chance" to win the starting running back job.

Ballage has been the first back through team drills at training camp. He profiles as the better early-down option for Miami, with Kenyan Drake potentially playing a high volume change-up role. It's possible the Dolphins use a near-even timeshare between Ballage and Drake. Ballage offers excellent ROI at his 14th-round ADP.

RELATED: 

Kenyan Drake

SOURCE: Cameron Wolfe on Twitter

Jul 26, 2019, 4:52 PM ET

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11 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

We think Drake 13 touches a game the last 2 years was the reason they were finishing under 500? Lots of the metrics at playerprofiler showed he was really efficient last year. Now I don't think these metrics are the end all and ofcourse football is a small sample game, but they seem to hint he was pretty good in his role. 7th in juke rate, 13th in evaded tackles, 10th in yards per touch. Now he faced a lot of light fronts and got a lot of targets so they were getting in space which helped he be more efficient. The other interesting note is he got only 1 GL carry last year. To me, it says this backfield is likely to be a bit of a mess. Drake is almost certainly going to have a significant enough role to hurt Ballage but probably not a big enough role to warrajt his current ADP. 

No, but if you’re not winning anyways might as well see if your guy looks like a bell cow can be one when given the opportunity.

You can always go back to Drake if it no work.

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I don’t do this often because I like predictive metrics but going to call my shot that after years of the community chasing the Chris Henry’s and Christine Michaels of the world and then taking a collective dump on Ballage... he’s the one that lives up to the athletic ceiling for no reason other than that’s what the fantasy gods do.

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1 hour ago, Biabreakable said:

I was reading something about RBs and how many sacks and pressures they allowed. 

IIRC Drake allowed 6 sacks and a lot of pressures.

Maybe Ballage can block?

A lot of people around the Dolphins(beat writers and homers) have talked about Drake's work ethic being almost non-existent. Last to arrive, first to leave kind of thing, and general sloppiness in practices. I think that gets under coaches skin, and makes them want to find reasons to use someone else. Based on how he has performed when he has played, it makes sense, as his stats are very good, and he certainly passes the eye test, but staff after staff seems to find reasons not to feature him.

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20 minutes ago, travdogg said:

A lot of people around the Dolphins(beat writers and homers) have talked about Drake's work ethic being almost non-existent. Last to arrive, first to leave kind of thing, and general sloppiness in practices. I think that gets under coaches skin, and makes them want to find reasons to use someone else. Based on how he has performed when he has played, it makes sense, as his stats are very good, and he certainly passes the eye test, but staff after staff seems to find reasons not to feature him.

Sounds like Mewelde Moore, lol.

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5 hours ago, Iceman03 said:

The biggest sour grapes people so far this offseason is Kenyan Drake owners. They’re dying to tell people how incompetent of a runner Ballage. Do these same people expect Derrick Henry to juke on a time?

Like with Derrick Henry, being big and fast is only good if the blockers give a runway for takeoff. I don't know how the Fins line will look this year, do you have some insight?

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7 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

Like with Derrick Henry, being big and fast is only good if the blockers give a runway for takeoff. I don't know how the Fins line will look this year, do you have some insight?

Out of 32 teams, I'd say they are about 32nd or so best...

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20 minutes ago, Fred Lane said:

Out of 32 teams, I'd say they are about 32nd or so best...

Yeah it is a situation I want to avoid for fantasy. Right now Ballage's ADP is low enough that it is worth a flyer but I suspect if continues getting 1st team reps in preseason he will rise. 

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4 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

Like with Derrick Henry, being big and fast is only good if the blockers give a runway for takeoff. I don't know how the Fins line will look this year, do you have some insight?

The line didn't look good yesterday.  On one 'carry' last night Ballage barely was handed the ball before being hit immediately.

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Ballage looked very good last night.

Maybe Drake leads this team in touches, maybe he ends up being the better fantasy back to have.  But, I think Ballage likely will have more goal line looks, and will get plenty of opportunities.

Even knowing that Miami might not score a ton of points, I'm a buyer at his ADP.

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12 hours ago, Iceman03 said:

The biggest sour grapes people so far this offseason is Kenyan Drake owners. They’re dying to tell people how incompetent of a runner Ballage. Do these same people expect Derrick Henry to juke on a time?

Derrick Henry powers through tackles though. Ballage hasn't shown he can do that. He's 230 and runs like he's 180 at times. If he ever learns to run behind his pads, he could be dangerous at his size, but its not a part of his game yet. 

That said, this looks like yet another coaching staff, that has seen all they need to see of Drake as a starter.

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5 minutes ago, travdogg said:

Derrick Henry powers through tackles though. Ballage hasn't shown he can do that. He's 230 and runs like he's 180 at times. If he ever learns to run behind his pads, he could be dangerous at his size, but its not a part of his game yet. 

That said, this looks like yet another coaching staff, that has seen all they need to see of Drake as a starter.

Henry is not a bad comp as both need a long runway to get up to speed. The knock coming out of college is athletic freak, will post great workout numbers, doesn’t make people miss, and does not run with power. Haven’t seen anything to dispel that yet.

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12 minutes ago, zeeshan2 said:

Joe Schad‏ @schadjoe

Kalen Ballage has looked like a monster today, with Kenyan Drake sidelined. Size, speed, power. #miamidolphins

8:13 AM - 14 Aug 2019

Go home, Joe, you’re drunk

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52 minutes ago, BobbyLayne said:

Looking like 2019 roles might be the same. Plodder (Ballage inheriting the Gore usage) on the early downs, Drake on third downs. 

Drake had a slight edge last year inside the 20.

Dolphins 2018 RZ Looks (target + rush att)

That might be how Miami uses them, but its backwards to what they are more effective at. Drake is a better short yardage runner than Ballage, he has better vision and ability to create from nothing. Ballage is more dangerous in the open field(once that 230 gets rolling) and is a better receiver. Drake has effort issues that 2 coaches have hated, and if Flores is even 25% like Belichick, he'll get sick of quick too. Ballage's biggest issue, is that he's 230 and often runs like he's 190. He should be a Derrick Henry type, not a Darren McFadden.

Really though, with Drake in a contract year, and unlikely to be brought back, they have no reason not to see what Ballage can do as a starter. I'm not optimistic, but why not give him the chance? Drake being hurt right now, might be a blessing in disguise.

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2 minutes ago, travdogg said:

That might be how Miami uses them, but its backwards to what they are more effective at. Drake is a better short yardage runner than Ballage, he has better vision and ability to create from nothing. Ballage is more dangerous in the open field(once that 230 gets rolling) and is a better receiver. Drake has effort issues that 2 coaches have hated, and if Flores is even 25% like Belichick, he'll get sick of quick too. Ballage's biggest issue, is that he's 230 and often runs like he's 190. He should be a Derrick Henry type, not a Darren McFadden.

Really though, with Drake in a contract year, and unlikely to be brought back, they have no reason not to see what Ballage can do as a starter. I'm not optimistic, but why not give him the chance? Drake being hurt right now, might be a blessing in disguise.

I have no capital in either atm, I just think one looks better than the other on film. No doubt who crushes who in the workout metrics,

Probably gonna be another lousy year for the Fins, behind often. Ballage did catch 44 balls as a junior.

 

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Miami Herald's Adam Beasley notes that Kalen Ballage is the Dolphins' starting running back until Kenyan Drake (foot) returns.

Drake is unlikely to play the rest of the preseason after suffering a foot injury during Tuesday's practice, and he should be considered questionable for the regular season opener. If Drake misses time, Ballage will be the starter with unproven talents behind him. If Drake is healthy, this will be some degree of a committee backfield. In the preseason opener (when both were healthy), Drake played on 9-of-13 first-team snaps while Ballage subbed in for four snaps.

RELATED: 

Kenyan Drake

SOURCE: Miami Herald

Aug 14, 2019, 3:08 PM ET

 

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"We take things day to day here," Flores said. "The opener's down the road. He's got a little injury, and I think we - he's just going to take it day to day. He's got a great attitude about it. I think he'll be okay."

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Kalen Ballage rushed 12 times for 17 yards in the Dolphins' third preseason game, "adding" two receptions for -2 yards.

Ballage has drawn strong reviews for his work in practice, but it did not translate to preseason games. His summer finishes with 18 carries for 40 yards (2.22 YPC). The entire Dolphins' offense was off the rails this evening, so there wasn't much Ballage could do. Ballage is currently in line to start Week 1, but Kenyan Drake (foot) recently shed his walking boot. A size/speed prospect a la early-career Latavius Murray or Darren McFadden, Ballage is a boom-or-bust pick in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.

Aug 23, 2019, 12:05 AM ET

 

 

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On 8/1/2019 at 9:40 PM, Iceman03 said:

I don’t do this often because I like predictive metrics but going to call my shot that after years of the community chasing the Chris Henry’s and Christine Michaels of the world and then taking a collective dump on Ballage... he’s the one that lives up to the athletic ceiling for no reason other than that’s what the fantasy gods do.

:blackdot:

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