The Miami Dolphins made what seemed like an inevitable trade Monday morning when they traded running back Kenyan Drake to the Arizona Cardinals. The final destination came out of the blue, but they had been shopping Drake for a couple weeks now. He did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh for Monday Night Football, and so a trade seemed in the offing before Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
The move shakes up the backfields in both Miami and Arizona. Mark Walton gets a boost in Miami, while we have big questions about Chase Edmonds and David Johnson in Arizona. And of course, Drake himself becomes more of a question mark over the rest of the season.
Mark Walton had moved ahead of Drake prior to the trade. Walton started moving up the depth chart in Week 4, and by Week 7 had moved past Drake in terms of touches (15 to 10) and snaps (38 to 29). Walton becomes the clear No. 1 with Drake departing. It’s not a great No. 1 position given how bad the Dolphins are, but he’s the biggest winner of this whole situation. He’ll be a solid enough flex option, particularly during the remaining four bye weeks.
Kalen Ballage will see more work as well, but Walton had already lapped him. Ballage is not a fantasy option outside of as a handcuff for Walton in deeper leagues. Ballage will see some short yardage work, but not enough to justify a roster spot.
The Cardinals made the move following word that Edmonds suffered a hamstring injury in Week 8. Johnson was already out with an ankle injury, and both running backs could be out for the Cardinals short week game against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football in Week 9. Without this trade, the Cardinals would have gone into the game with Zach Zenner and Alfred Morris as their only healthy backs.
UPDATE: Edmonds is expected to miss a few weeks with a hamstring strain, according to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero.
This is not a great matchup for Drake. He is new to the offense and facing a 49ers defense that is second only to the Patriots in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Drake will get plenty of touches, so as a volume play he brings value. But he's not a strong start in Week 9 fantasy football.
The bigger question is for the rest of the season. We don’t know the extent of Johnson and Edmonds for Week 10 and beyond. When they do get back, Johnson would seemingly be the clear No. 1, but can anybody say that with certainty? Do we potentially see a three-person committee? Drake seems the likely odd-man out of the group, but it’s hard to say for sure what Kliff Kingsbury would have in mind for the position.
All that in mind, Drake gains some short term value, but loses some full season value. David Johnson and Chase Edmonds lose a little full season value, but we’ll need to wait and see just how much.