Fantasy Football

The Emergence Of A Rising Star: Jay Ajayi

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Each year there seems to be some players that emerge out of nowhere. Opportunity is a big key in the emergence of a certain player. Some guys are just put into lucky situations but others may face some challenges along the road. The Path to become a rising star in the NFL is surely a tough one and it takes some series of fortunate events in order to get a fair share of fame. Here is the story of Jay Ajayi.

The 23 year old RB from London wasn’t the most talked prospect coming out of college. The numbers he posted were pretty impressive heading into the 2015 NFL Draft. He rushed a total of 678 times for 3,796 yards and 50 TDs in his three year career at Boise State. As a result he ranked third in school history in total rushes and rushing yards and ranked tied for second in rushing TDs.

Jay Ajayi was drafted in the fifth round (149th overall) by the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins liked what they saw from Ajayi in college hence why they took a chance on him. He was a workhorse RB at Boise State as he averaged 226 carries per year as a Bronco. This calculated to roughly 18 carries per game. Jay Ajayi carries the all-around ability to thrive in a starting role in the NFL today. The Miami Dolphins had a plan for Ajayi to succeed  and although it took some time and sometimes didn’t go as planned along the way, Jay Ajayi seems to be the new face of the franchise.

Jay Ajayi Through The Years As A Pro

Rookie Year

After Jay Ajayi got drafted by the Miami Dolphins, he signed a four year, $2.5 million rookie contract. His rookie season was one to forget as he was placed on the IR on September 6th as a result of a cracked rib. He would miss the first eight weeks of the season, marking week nine as his first regular season action as a pro. He got a total of five carries for 41 yards against the Bills in week nine. That role Ajayi had in his first career regular season game would be the same role he would have for the remainder of the year.

Jay Ajayi was stuck behind a guy named Lamar Miller all of his rookie year. Lamar Miller was the main RB all season for the Dolphins as he carried the ball for an average of 12 times per game. He finished the 2015 season with 194 carries for 872 yards and eight TDs. Towards the end of the year Miller tended to struggle a little bit. The last four games of the season Lamar Miller carried the ball 55 times for 192 yards which accumulated to 3.4 YPC. Head coach Dan Campbell worked Ajayi into the rotation more towards the end of the year to show what he can do.

The rookie from Boise State finished his first year with a total of 49 carries for 187 yards while scoring only one TD. As offseason time came around things would change for the Dolphins. Head coach Dan Campbell got fired after the season, as well as Lamar Miller being traded to the Houston Texans. The departure of Miller would leave the RB spot wide open for Ajayi moving forward, or it seemed.

Sophomore Year Struggles

Heading into his second year in the NFL, Jay Ajayi had the top spot locked on the depth chart but things would change quickly. Adam Gase got signed as the new head coach of the Dolphins moving forward. Throughout the offseason, Jay Ajayi struggled to show signs of being a true bell-cow RB. This lead to the signing of free agent RB Arian Foster. Arian Foster has been a bruiser at the RB position his whole career but has been a big injury concern all throughout his NFL career. Foster looked like the more versatile RB all pre season and even took away third down and goal line carries from Ajayi. These were just some of the signs that the Dolphins didn’t really trust Ajayi as the main back in Miami.

A real concern for Jay Ajayi was his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He didn’t really master that during the off season and that lead to the drafting of Kenyon Drake from Alabama. He played behind T.J. Yeldon at Alabama and was a key component in the passing game. He showed signs of being like a Charles Sims type in the NFL but his blocking as a RB was a real weakness. That gave a real edge to Ajayi and has kept him off the field a lot throughout this whole season.

The first four weeks into his second year didn’t really go as planned for Ajayi. Rushing for a total of 31 times for 117 yards and two TDs. The mix of Arian Foster and Kenyon Drake played a role in the slow start of the year. Things would quickly change for the rising star once Week five came.

Sophomore year Stardom

Week 5 was an eye opening week for Ajayi and the NFL. He ran the ball 25 times for 204 yards and two TDs. Things didn’t stop as in week six he ran the ball 29 times for 214 yards and one TD. He became just the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 200+ yards in consecutive weeks. This caught the NFL by storm as Ajayi quickly got his name buzzing around the league. He was a bruising RB that showed bursts of power and speed to opposing defenses. Things would eventually slow down for the second year pro as he rushed for under 100 yards from weeks eight to 13.

Ajayi finished his sophomore year with 261 carries for 1,272 yards and eight TDs, which gave him the fourth most rushing yards in the league. He finished second in the league in yards after contact. Also ranking in the top ten in rushing yards per game and rushing yards per attempt. Ajayi also had three weeks in which he was a top two scoring RB in terms of fantasy football. Jay Ajayi even recorded the most 200+ yard rushing games this season with three. Throughout the season he has shown how versatile he really is by leading the league in missed tackles as well.

Just a couple days ago, Jay Ajayi got selected to the Pro Bowl in Orlando. Although they lost in their first game in the playoffs, the Dolphins had a season to remember in Miami with Jay Ajayi leading the team. The 23 year old has shown that he is one of the most powerful backs in the league. The combination of speed, power and agility makes Ajayi one of the more true runners in the NFL today.

The Rising Star

Jay Ajayi made the most of his opportunities in his second year in the league. As a result, he now has defenses wondering what he will do next as he is a true threat to opposing defenses. The offensive line for the Dolphins wasn’t very good hence the reason for some lackluster performances. At some points he even made it look easy running being one of the worst offensive lines in the game. In fact, the Miami Dolphins offensive line was ranked 30th best in the league. With that being said, Ajayi still ended up finishing as a top five rusher in the 2016 season.


The emergence of Jay Ajayi caught the NFL by storm and going into next season he is going to be one of the most talked about RBs in the league. Jay Ajayi is a young RB with a promising future ahead of himself in the NFL. Keep an eye on the 23 year old moving forward.

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About Michael Trivisonno

Michael is a huge NFL and sports fan who has been competing in fantasy football for the past five years. His love for fantasy football goes beyond FantasySixPack as he was also a Cleveland Browns News Correspondent for FantasyPros.com during the 2017 season. If you want to follow more of his writing, be sure to follow him on Twitter @Mike_Triv.

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