Despite going a combined 19-14 over the past two seasons, the Miami Dolphins effectively blew things up this offseason, replacing head coach Brian Flores with San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, and then aggressively overhauling their depth chart. While the acquisition of wide receiver Tyreek Hill grabbed the headlines, the Dolphins’ backfield saw plenty of attention as well — that should come as no surprise given Myles Gaskin led the team in rushing with just 612 yards.
In an effort to put a more dynamic ground game around quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Miami signed a trio of backs in free agency: Chase Edmonds (two years, $12.6 million), Raheem Mostert (one year, $3.125 million), and Sony Michel (one year, $2.1 million). Gaskin returns as well. It’s a crowded backfield, so let’s look at the candidates to see who’s worthy of your attention.
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As the only back to secure a multi-year deal, Edmonds seems to be in the driver’s seat for the top job in Miami. His production has ticked up in each of his four seasons, including 903 total yards last year, and had he not missed over a month with an ankle injury that number would’ve been much higher.
While he served in a complementary role during most of his time with the Arizona Cardinals, Edmonds has the skill set to be a three-down back. Whether that’s what McDaniel is looking for, or if the fifth-year back is up to the physical component of heavy usage, remains to be seen.
Mostert led the 49ers in rushing in 2019, and his performance in that year’s four-touchdown NFC Championship Game is forever etched in postseason lore, but the 30-year-old has played in just nine of the 33 games since that time, including missing all but one last year due to a knee injury.
He has big-time speed, and McDaniel is very familiar with his skill set thanks to their time together in San Francisco. Mostert’s injury history is long and ugly, however, and it’s hard to envision a scenario where the team would lean on him for any length of time.
Acquired by the Los Angeles Rams before last season when Cam Akers was injured, Michel ended up leading LA in rushing (845) and earning a Super Bowl ring for his efforts. The Georgia alum has been a steady presence in four NFL seasons, averaging 57 rushing yards per game for his career.
Michel has never developed as a receiver out of the backfield — his modest 21-128-1 line from 2021 represents his career best — but he could handle early-down and short-yardage work in Miami. He’d also be the likely lead back if anything happens to Edmonds.
Gaskin appeared in all 17 games last season, comfortably leading the team in carries (173) and yards (612), albeit at an unsightly 3.5 yards per attempt. He supplemented that with 234 yards on 49 catches, and he scored a combined seven touchdowns. Gaskin has provided a decent return given he was a seventh-round pick in 2019, but his roster spot is in peril if the team only keeps three backs.
Fantasy football outlook
Coming off a year in which they finished 30th in the NFL in rushing (92.2 yards per game), the Dolphins look decidedly more talented in the backfield with four guys who have served as No. 1 options at some point in their careers.
Of that group, Edmonds holds the most value. He has good speed, is a capable receiver out of the backfield, and he doesn’t have a ton of miles on his body. Selecting Edmonds as your RB3 should net a nice return on investment.
From the remaining three, Mostert would be next on the list. Obviously, his injury history renders him impossible to rely on, but his speed, familiarity with the zone-blocking system, and upside make him worth late-round consideration as a fourth or fifth back.
Michel is one for the watch lists in case injuries happen to Edmonds and/or Mostert. Gaskin holds no appeal at this stage.