Kenyan Drake sustained a right foot injury during practice on Tuesday, August 13, and was seen in in a walking boot on Wednesday. In Drake’s absence, Kalen Ballage has an expanded opportunity for first-team reps and has already been making waves on social media.
Kalen Ballage is coming.pic.twitter.com/5S8ECruhTM— FFcouchcoach ⚖️ (@FFcouchcoach) August 14, 2019
Ballage has been a trendy Year 2 breakout candidate, and his ADP has risen steadily since mid-July. Drake’s injury news — which may threaten his Week 1 status — could push Ballage’s ADP even further.
Ballage Sits in the “Perfect Price Window” for RBs
Ballage’s current ADP is vital to his fantasy upside. According to Shawn Siegele, Ballage sits in the perfect price window wherein RB value bests WR value.
His ADP also places him in “Zero RB Shangri La” — a metaphorical oasis of Zero RB talent available on teams with low preseason Vegas win totals. This group of running backs (ADP RB37 to RB48) boasts elite production relative to their ADP, with an average end-of-season PPR RB finish of 28.7.
In a tiny rookie year sample, Ballage earned 37% of his PPR production via the receiving game. This key element of his profile puts him in position to jump from RB3 to RB1 status with an increase in usage. He caught 82 passes for 684 yards at Arizona State, which also suggests that Ballage is capable of handling receiving duties in the Miami backfield.
Entering the 2019 season, it was already assumed that the 230-pound Ballage would earn the majority of Miami’s early-down rushes. But, with Drake sidelined with injury, Ballage now has an extended opportunity to make his case for three-down work as a pass-catcher. If Ballage can challenge Drake’s role as the Dolphins’ dedicated receiving back, then the sky is the limit for him in 2019.
He has the athletic profile, he’s at the right price point, and he has standalone value with or without Drake. But, rest assured, as long as Drake remains out, Ballage’s ADP will continue to climb — perhaps eventually moving him from our buy window into the clear-avoid range. Buy him in redraft now before his ADP window slams shut.