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RB Jay Ajayi - Miami Dolphins

6-0, 221Born: 6-15-1993College: Boise StateDrafted: Round 5

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Recent Stats and Projections

17 vs NE 34 16 59 0 3 3 20 0 0 7.9
18 at PIT 43 16 33 0 3 3 12 0 0 4.5

Recent Game Summaries

2016 Week 18 vs PIT (16 / 33 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 12 / 0 rec)

The Dolphins game plan coming into the game was to rush Jay Ajayi against a suspect Pittsburgh defensive front. That plan backfired on them, as the Dolphins offensive line was no match for the Pittsburgh defensive front in this game. Ajayi carried the ball 16 times for only 33 yards, while also catching three passes for 12 yards on four targets. Ajayi was a non-factor in this game, although it is not like he had any room to operate. The Pittsburgh defensive line often met him in the backfield, and gave Ajayi no-where to run. The Dolphins were missing several key offensive lineman and it showed, and despite Ajayi's talent, this was not a phase of the game that the Dolphins were going to win.

2016 Week 17 vs NE (16 / 59 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 20 / 0 rec)

Jay Ajayi encountered a tough Patriots defensive front that held him to 59 yards on 16 carries. Ajayi also chipped in three catches for 20 yards on four targets. Ajayi has done well beating up weak defenses, but he has yet to capitalize on a bad matchup. This is less of an indictment on Ajayi, as it is the Dolphins offensive line who has been overmatched throughout many of their games. Ajayi was held to three yards or less on seven of his 16 carries, and had a long rush of 11 yards. Ajayi faces off against a Pittsburgh defense next week in the opening round of the playoffs, and should find much more running room, as he was able to gash Pittsburgh for 200+ rushing yards in their first matchup.

2016 Week 16 vs BUF (32 / 206 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 3 / 0 rec)

With Ryan Tannehill on the sidelines the last three weeks, Miami has continued to ride Jay Ajayi, despite having opposing defenses stack the box time and time again. AJayi responded with perhaps his best performance to date, rushing 32 times for 206 yards and a touchdown while keeping the Dolphins in the game. The Miami offensive line also played well against a Buffalo defensive front that is not one of the better units in the league, and this showcased Ajayi's ability to dominate a game when he is not seeing three defenders in the backfield on every play. Ajayi broke numerous big plays in this game, but none bigger than his 57 yard run late in overtime that set up the winning field goal for Miami. One of Ajayi's best qualities is that he gets stronger as the game goes on, and while defenses start to tire, he punishes them with his physical running style. Ajayi's ability to handle a huge work load most likely saved Miami's season on Saturday, as the Bills were moving the ball very well and generating big plays almost at will.

2016 Week 15 vs NYJ (19 / 51 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

With each passing week, Jay Ajayi has found it harder and harder to replicate the success he had in the first several weeks as the Dolphins starting running back. Against the Jets, he rushed 19 times for 51 yards and failed to catch his only target in the passing game. Opposing teams are stacking the box against Ajayi, and with the Dolphins offensive line not able to win their battles up front, he is constantly being hit in the backfield. His longest gain of the night went for eight yards, and even that was due to poor tackling. Eight of Ajayi's 19 carries went for one yard or less, so despite the low overall yardage total, his struggles were not his fault. He ran hard and when the situation was in his favor, he was able to elude tacklers and gain positive yards, especially as the game wore on and the Jets defensive front started to tire. He nearly broke a long gain early in the third quarter on second and two, but was tripped up as he ran off the left tackle before he could turn the corner and gain big yardage.

2016 Week 14 vs ARI (20 / 48 / 0 rush, 3 / 1 / 15 / 0 rec)

Jay Ajayi ran 20 times for 48 yards and caught one pass for 15 yards on two targets. Ajayi was ineffective against a stout Arizona run defense that dominated the line of scrimmage and consistently hit him in the backfield. The Miami offensive line was outmatched by the Arizona defensive line, and there was little that Ajayi could do. Six of Ajayi's rushing attempts went for zero or negative yardage, and another four went for two yards or less. When he was given a little bit of room or an opening at the line, Ajayi ran with his usual anger, taking on defenders and delivering punishing hits while gaining yards after contact. Ajayi did play his part in the win though, as his ability to grind out even small yards went a long way in allowing the Dolphins to keep the pace of the game slow and keep the Arizona offense off the field.

2016 Week 13 vs BAL (12 / 61 / 0 rush, 7 / 6 / 26 / 0 rec)

Jay Ajayi was subject to the dreaded blowout game flow, rushing only 12 times for 61 yards. He did make up for it by catching six passes for 26 yards as the Dolphins were forced to throw the ball for the entire second half of their game against the Ravens. The Ravens lead the league in run defense, allowing only 73.8 rushing yards per game, so from that end, Ajayi did pretty well by averaging over five yards per carry against a tough defensive front. In some ways it was good to see Ajayi continue to see work as Miami went into pass mode, and the six catches were a career high for Ajayi. Despite the lack of touches, Ajayi ran hard and showed off his unique blend of power and speed. On second and five from the Dolphins 45 yard line, Ajayi ran off tackle to the right before quickly cutting back to the left to avoid the pressure from the Ravens interior lineman. He ran into a Ravens lineman as well as his own, then ran over another Raven before cutting back towards the sideline with a full head of steam. He kept running up the sideline at full speed and delivered a nasty blow to a Baltimore defender who had the unenviable task of trying to tackle him. Ajayi gained 19 yards on the play and it was a very good example of how hard he runs once he gets up to full speed.

2016 Week 12 vs SF (18 / 45 / 1 rush, 2 / 1 / 11 / 0 rec)

Jay Ajayi rushed the ball 18 times for 45 yards and a touchdown, while also catching one pass for 11 yards on three targets. The yardage total was a bit disappointing for Ajayi because the matchup against the league's worst run defense was the best he will see all season. Of Ajayi's 18 rushes, six of them went for zero or negative yards, a stat that is nearly unimaginable when you consider how bad the 49ers run defense has been, and how good Ajayi has been the second half of the season. A big part of this was due to the fact that Dolphins were missing three starting offensive lineman, which made Ajayi have to adjust many of his rushes before the line of scrimmage because there were no holes to run through. He did a very job of getting in the end zone on his two yard touchdown, getting around the left side of the line and making a nice cut at the last second to tap his right leg just inside the pylon. Ajayi had his work cut out for him due to the injuries on his offensive line, but there should be better days ahead for him as the Dolphins get healthier and Tannehill continues to improve in the passing game.

2016 Week 11 vs LA (16 / 77 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 7 / 0 rec)

Jay Ajayi rushed the ball 16 times for 77 yards, and also caught three passes for seven yards on three targets. Ajayi has been unable to match his incredible three game stretch, failing to reach the 100 yard mark in each of his last two games. What he has provided is the Dolphins with a bell-cow running back who can keep the Miami offense from stalling on three and outs to start their drives like they did much of their first five games. His ability to grind out tough yards has been a season-saver for Miami, but he's also been very good at breaking big plays, which has allowed the Dolphins to play much more conservatively while depending more on their defense. In his last five games, Ajayi has been able to break long rushes of 62 yards (touchdown), 53 yards, 20 yards (touchdown, 40 yards and 36 yards, respectively. If you take away his long run on Sunday (36 yards), Ajayi rushed 15 times for 41 yards, less than three yards per carry. He had only three runs of more than five yards, but in a game that was devoid of big plays, he was able to do just enough to allow Miami to have the final scoring drive of the game. Ajayi remains a key part of the Dolphins offense, and with that responsibility comes defenses game planning against you. That type of attention played a big part in Ajayi not finding much running more for most of the day.

2016 Week 10 vs SD (19 / 79 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 1 / 0 rec)

Although Ajayi failed to reach the 100 yard rushing mark for the fourth consecutive game, he still played excellent, running very hard and forcing the San Diego defense to account for him at all times. Ajayi rushed 19 times for 79 yards, while also catching one of three targets for 1 yard. Ajayi's biggest contribution was forcing the Chargers defensive coaches to game plan against him, which in turn opened up the passing game for Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins receivers. Ajayi was bottled up for the opening half, before ripping off a long 40 yard rush that has become his trademark in recent weeks. Running off left tackle, Ajayi burst through the line and out ran all but one member of the San Diego secondary. He nearly took the rush to the house, but was pushed of out bounds on a diving tackle by Adrian Philips. He also rushed for a 21 yard gain that displayed a renewed patience by the Dolphins running back. After taking a handoff from Tannehill, Ajayi planted his foot in the ground, and instead of continuing running off the right tackle, he reversed field, cut once to the outside and ran up the left sideline for his second 20+ yard gain of the game. San Diego did a good job of stacking the box against Ajayi, but they were left vulnerable in the secondary, something that Tannehill took advantage of by using play action fakes and targeting his receivers down the field.

2016 Week 9 vs NYJ (24 / 111 / 1 rush, 4 / 3 / 19 / 0 rec)

For the third straight game, Ajayi ran for over 100 yards and a touchdown, and essentially carried the entire Dolphins offense on his back. He ran 24 times for 111 yards and a touchdown, while also catching three passes for 19 yards on three targets. Ajayi ran hard, something that had eluded him earlier in the season, and he showed nice burst coming out of the backfield. He looks like a different player, and while the Dolphins offensive line has played much better over the last three weeks, Ajayi deserves all the credit for his accolades. Ajayi's touchdown run came on a 2nd a six from the Jets 20 yard line, where he ran off the left tackle. He cut once inside and then again outside, weaving his way through the Jets secondary on his way to a 20 yard touchdown. It was the type of run that it seemed like he was incapable of producing, but to his credit, he looks like a man possessed when he has the ball. Ajayi is running hard and with very good vision, showcasing many of the skills that he showed in college that made the Dolphins invest a 5th round pick in him. He has certainly surprised me over the last several games, as I was very critical of his lack of an elite skill that would make him a productive running back. Whether he finally woke up and realized he had the chance to be a lead back, or the Dolphins blocking upfront improved drastically, Ajayi has single handily saved the Dolphins season.

2016 Week 7 vs BUF (28 / 214 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 2 / 0 rec)

After playing behind Arian Foster to open the season and then part of a murky three-headed committee, Ajayi has risen to historic ranks with his second consecutive 200-yard rushing performance - matching O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell, and Ricky Williams in NFL history. Ajayi's Week 7 repeat performance was even more impressive than the first as he was the sustaining force of Miami's offense, consistently gaining 10 or more yards on carries. Ajayi's burst and backside vision are his two best attributes. His cuts are less dynamic than the best in the game, but Ajayi's angle shifts are at full speed. He ran through arm tackles consistently against Buffalo and the Bills defenders exhibited poor technique wrapping up Ajayi on first contact. Miami's offensive line play the past two weeks has been a notable upgrade over the opening month of the season. While pass protection is still a concern, their drive blocking for Ajayi has been notably strong. Ajayi left the game late, holding his left knee, but returned the following drive after a sideline exam. Passing game work is still a rarity for Ajayi as Arian Foster was the clear preferred back on third down.

2016 Week 6 vs PIT (25 / 204 / 2 rush, 2 / 1 / 3 / 0 rec)

To put it lightly, Ajayi was the Miami offense on Sunday. After failing to impress up until this week, Ajayi broke out in a big way, carrying the football 25 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns. He did most of his damage outside the tackles, which was very interesting because he had yet to show the skillset needed to bounce runs outside and beat opposing linebackers and corners to the edge, but he did that very well on Sunday. On one particular run, the Dolphins lined up in a shotgun formation, and Ajayi's number was called on a draw play. The Dolphins offensive line - which had been subpar to the say the least this year - sealed off the Pittsburgh defensive line inside, and Ajayi made a great cut to the outside where he got to the edge and turned it into a 20 yard gain. He also showed patience in allowing his line to set up holes for him, one of which Ajayi did not even break stride before cutting inside the tackles and making several jukes on his way to a 33 yard gain. Ajayi was also able to convert on a short second and one on the Pittsburgh one yard line, where he was not touched by a Pittsburgh defender on his way to the end zone. Ajayi's most important run came with less than two minutes left in the game and the Dolphins nursing a one touchdown lead. On first and ten from the Dolphins 38 yard line, Ajayi was given the ball on a lead play to the right side. With a head of steam, he broke through the Pittsburgh line and an opposing arm tackle before streaking down the right sideline, outrunning all of the Pittsburgh secondary for a 62 yard touchdown. Ajayi had yet to display that type of speed and explosiveness, and the fact that it came on his 25th carry, late in the fourth quarter was very telling. Ajayi got stronger as the game went on, and he absolutely punished the Pittsburgh defense with an impressive blend of power and speed.

2016 Week 5 vs TEN (13 / 42 / 1 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

On the positive side, Ajayi scored the only offensive touchdown for the Dolphins on Sunday, with the other score coming on a punt return by Jakeem Grant. The touchdown run came from the five yard line where Ajayi was able to follow his blockers who created a hole on the left hand side for him to break through and score. He showed some toughness by absorbing a big hit at the three yard line and stretching out to cross the pylon. Ajayi was his typical self on Sunday, dependable as a runner but lacking explosiveness or consistent power to move the pile on inside runs. His 13 carries were a season high, and were as many as he received in weeks two and three combined. The Dolphins seem content with giving him lead back duties in Arian Foster's absence, but unfortunately for Ajayi, that isn't going to translate to meaningful touches or much fantasy value.

2016 Week 4 vs CIN (6 / 33 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 13 / 0 rec)

Ajayi was set to receive his second straight start, but that was interrupted by the news that Damian Williams was starting in his place shortly before kickoff. That announcement proved to be meaningless, as Ajayi still received the most carries, although that isnít saying much considering Ajayi rushed only six times for 33 yards. He also caught two passes for 13 yards. Ajayi ran well compared to his play in past weeks, showing improved patience running behind a weak Miami offensive line, and that is about all you can ask for at this stage of his career. The Dolphins have shown a commitment to the run game, which hurts players like Ajayi who depend on a steady volume of carries to get into the flow of the game. He did rip off his best run of the game on his first carry, an 11 yard gain that saw him run off the right tackle and make a nice cut back to gain a first down. Ajayi is also protecting well on passing downs, and he is also improving his feel on when to release his blocks and get out of the backfield to make himself a receiver. A good illustration of this came on third and five from the Miami 30 yard line with Tannehill operating out the shotgun formation. Ajayi faded off the right side and looked to be another man in pass protection, before releasing to the right flat and catching a Tannehill pass that went for an eleven yard gain and a first down.

2016 Week 3 vs CLE (7 / 28 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Ajayi had a relatively quiet day, rushing seven times for 28 yards and a touchdown, although it should be noted that Kenyan Drake was given the first shot at the starting job in Arian Foster's absence. He was a non-factor until overtime, where Ajayi final made his presence felt by rushing for the game winning touchdown. He displayed the type of patience that had eluded him in early contests this year, waiting for the edge to be sealed and a hole to open up. Ajayi showed off nice burst in getting to the edge but was not touched by a Cleveland defender on his way into the end zone.

2016 Week 2 vs NE (5 / 14 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 31 / 0 rec)

Ajayi, who was declared inactive for the Dolphins opening week loss, was given a reprieve by coach Adam Gase for their week 2 tilt against the Patriots. After Arian Foster went down with a hamstring injury early in the first quarter, Ajayi came in to relieve the veteran. It would be nice to say that Ajayi made the most of his opportunities, but alas, to quote Denny Green, Ajayi is who we thought he is. He looked overmatched when given the chance to run the ball, particularly when he tried to bounce a draw play outside, and neither had the burst to get to the edge, nor the elusiveness to make the first defender miss. This is the same old story for Ajayi, as he lacks an elite skill that would give him reason to bounce this play outside. If anything, he needs to take what is given to him and pick up three or four yards and keep the offense gaining positive yards. He has proven to be an acceptable pass catcher, and seems to understand pass protection schemes to the extent that the Dolphins staff feels comfortable leaving him in the game on passing downs.


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