There are so many big names on both sides of the ball agreeing to deals during the legal tampering period that it’s tough to keep track of it all. Sometimes a significant move is made that flies under the radar. That’s the case here.
Jordan Howard has reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with the Miami Dolphins. If you remember, Miami’s leading rusher last season was quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Let’s just say that’s less than ideal. The addition of Howard is a huge boost to Miami, who may also bring in a rookie running back, but it’s also a move fantasy managers should pay close attention to.
Although many fantasy managers viewed Howard as a spoiler last season, a player who was only taking touches away from rookie Miles Sanders, he actually was really effective when healthy. On a per-game basis, Howard ranked as the No. 25 RB in PPR formats despite only having about one reception per game. That follows up three seasons with the Bears in which Howard finished as the RB38 (2018), RB14 (2017) and RB10 (2016) on a per-game basis in PPR formats.
Howard was limited to just nine games last season after suffering a stinger. He’s healthy now and is in line to get the lion’s share of the backfield touches for Miami, especially near the goal line.
Any starting running back in the NFL has fantasy value, but Howard has proven that he can be a very valuable asset even with another back on the roster getting touches (like Sanders and Tarik Cohen). It feels reasonable to assume that Howard will be sharing some duties with a rookie running back, but it’s unlikely that player will overtake Howard in 2020 unless the Dolphins spend one of their three first-round picks on one. It’s also possible they keep Patrick Laird in the pass-catching role and draft a project running back.
Either one of those scenarios (sans Miami using a first-round pick on a RB) is great news for Howard. Even in full-PPR formats, Howard is an RB3. I can’t sneak him into the top 25, but top 35 is reasonable. He’ll likely be a flex option or one of the top backs on your bench. He has more upside than many think, as evidenced by his two top-15 RB finishes with the Bears, so don’t view him as the classic safe, boring bench option.
You likely weren’t drafting any other backs from Miami (aside from a rookie), so not much changes there. If Miami doesn’t draft a running back (or one who can catch passes), Laird may still have some deep league value in PPR formats.
The excitement we saw late in the season from this Dolphins’ offense is going to carry over to 2020. Howard should have a big role in it overall, but especially in the red zone.
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