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NFL Draft

Fantasy Football: When Should You Draft Myles Gaskin?

  • The Draft Network
  • June 22, 2021
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Myles Gaskin burst onto the scene in his sophomore season after logging just 36 carries in 2019. The Miami Dolphins’ lead running back from last season now enters 2021 with a firm grip on the backfield, yet his head-scratching ADP suggests fantasy owners don’t think Gaskin can replicate his success. The doubt is understandable considering the former undrafted free agent missed six games in 2020, including four games with an MCL sprain. Gaskin may not have elite upside, but he’s a safe option for your fantasy roster at his current ADP. 

To determine when you should draft him, let’s look at what Gaskin can do, how he fits in Miami’s revamped offense, and how he compares to other running backs getting drafted ahead of him.

Establishing a Floor

Before we dive into Gaskin’s projected outlook and how he fares against running backs with a similar ADP, we need to establish a floor. That can be found by examining his production from the 2020 season. However, it’s the numbers behind the numbers that can paint a clearer picture of Gaskin’s fantasy potential. 

For example, anyone can see Gaskin averaged 16.4 points per game in PPR formats—11th-most among running backs to play at least six games. But what you may not see is his market share of Miami’s rush attempts. He took 68.9% of the Dolphins’ carries last season, a number eclipsed by just eight other running backs on their respective teams. In the seven games he started, Gaskin was a bellcow running back. He also led the team in touches in each of the 10 games he played. As the cherry on top, Gaskin was third in targets per game.

If that doesn’t indicate he can be a feature back, then I don’t know what does. If Gaskin was fully healthy, his numbers suggest he could’ve been an RB1 in fantasy.

How Gaskin Fits in Miami’s Offense

The Dolphins did little to add competition around Gaskin. The biggest addition to the backfield was dishing out a one-year contract to Malcolm Brown. Brown has nearly 20 pounds on Gaskin, which adds more speculation that Brown will be more of a short-yardage back. In fact, Brown’s 11 career rushing touchdowns have an average distance of 2.7 yards. Despite this, Gaskin still led Miami with nine rushing attempts inside the 5-yard line. I don’t expect Brown to hinder Gaskin’s stock too much. The only other new running back is seventh-round pick Gerrid Doaks, who would be a sneaky breakout candidate if anything were to happen to Gaskin. I’d take a flier on Doaks late in best-ball drafts.

Returning ball carriers for Miami include running back Salvon Ahmed and Swiss Army knives Lynn Bowden Jr. and Malcolm Perry. While neither of them are guaranteed a roster spot, they should factor into Miami’s offense if on the roster. In three games as the team’s starter, Ahmed averaged 16.7 points in PPR leagues. Still, he was relegated back to backup upon Gaskin’s return. If anything, this indicates a viable system for fantasy running backs. Bowden and Perry are listed as wide receivers, though they will likely see a few occasional carries again. 

Perhaps the most impactful additions to the team are wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller. While the two speedsters may lead to a decreased market share of targets for Gaskin, their impact goes beyond the stat sheet.

On the flip side of Flores’ comments, defenses will need to respect Miami’s rejuvenated passing game. This could lead to less crowded looks in the box, which can give the Dolphins’ running game more space to operate. Somewhere, Gaskin is surely smiling at the thought of this. 

It also helps that Miami added rookie tackle Liam Eichenberg to a promising young offensive line. Tackle Robert Hunt looked the part last season, though he’ll likely shift inside to compensate for Eichenberg’s addition. Guard Solomon Kindley also flashed promise despite battling injuries. Hunt, Kindley, and left tackle Austin Jackson all enter their second seasons, which could bode well for their development, and subsequently, for Gaskin.

How Gaskin Compares to Other RBs

As it stands, Gaskin is being drafted as about RB24, per Underdog Fantasy. That typically puts him behind players such as David Montgomery, Josh Jacobs, and Travis Etienne. The common theme with those running backs: competition. Montgomery and Jacobs will likely be overshadowed in the passing game by Tarik Cohen and Kenyan Drake, respectively. As for Etienne, he may have the talent to be a feature back, but the signs out of Jacksonville don’t paint a clear picture of his role. With Gaskin, you’re getting a surefire starter with proven success. Montgomery’s success last season was directly attributed to Cohen’s season-ending injury in Week 3. 

Gaskin is also being drafted right around Mike Davis, another popular selection. Both running backs seemingly stand alone atop their teams’ depth charts, though Davis’ ADP is roughly two spots higher than Gaskin’s ADP. After Christian McCaffrey’s injury in Week 2, Davis far exceeded expectations when filling in for McCaffrey. He was RB15 in points per game in the 13 games McCaffrey missed. 

Despite Davis’ projected role in the Falcons’ backfield this year, Gaskin seems like a slightly safer bet than Davis. As I explained a few weeks ago, Atlanta will likely favor passing the ball as opposed to running it. 

Miami will probably go with a more balanced approach, as evidenced by their 19th-lowest pass-to-run ratio in the NFL last season. It doesn’t help that the Falcons could be playing from behind in most of their games in 2021; they have an implied win total of 7.5, per BetOnline. I may be nitpicking, but Gaskin’s role in a more balanced offense gives him a slight edge over Davis. 

Where to Draft Gaskin

Gaskin saw 10-plus carries in seven games last season for an average of 17 carries per game. That would’ve put him on pace to see the fourth-most carries among all running backs last year. The Dolphins will implement a similar system under newly promoted co-offensive coordinators Eric Studesville and George Godsey. 

Barring an injury, Gaskin has the clear upper leg on the rest of Miami’s ball carriers. I’d be comfortable with him as my RB2 and more than happy with him as my RB3, even ahead of notable running backs like Jacobs and Davis.

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