The Curious Case of Jay Ajayi

Posted : 1/7/2017 12:19:31 AM


The Curious Case of Jay Ajayi

Aaron Hinckley



     Jay Ajayi and the Dolphins will face the Steelers in Pittsburgh for Wildcard Weekend. This is good and bad

news for Ajayi. The bad news is that the Steelers come in with an offense that can control the clock as well as

score in bunches. This means that the Dolphins may be forced to throw in early down situations to play catch up,

but that could be good for Ajayi who was stifled Week 15 and 17 by two teams outside of the top 10 in rush

defense (Jets and Patriots). They made him the focal point of their defensive schemes and were able to hold him

to a little over 50 yards rushing in each game. Ajayi averaged 100 yards in each of his last three games only

because he tore through the weak Bills rush defense for 200 yards. This volatility in play was apparent all year.

Ajayi had 3 games of over 200 yards rushing as well as 6 games under 75 (at least 10 carries). For most of the

season, Ajayi was regarded as one of the best offensive weapons on the Dolphins, so he became the focal point

of many defensive schemes. If Matt Moore and the Dolphins wide receivers can connect on short yardage throws

early on, they should open up more space for Ajayi to run.


     The good news is the Steelers are giving up the 6th most points to opposing running backs as well as giving

up at least one rushing touchdown per game. Pittsburgh’s defense is ranked 11th overall against the rush, but

that has not adjusted for their poor play of late or for the fact that they played the easiest schedule (of

opponents running backs faced). Additionally, even when the Steelers defense was playing well early in the

season, Ajayi rushed for 204 yards and 2 touchdowns against them. The Steelers also give up a lot of catches to

opposing running backs. If we assume that the Steelers will be blitz heavy with a back up Quarterback starting

for the Dolphins, Ajayi could have a monster game in a PPR format. We at scoutPRO project Ajayi to finish

second among running backs in scoring. To some, he is a risky play. To me, Ajayi is an easy start.


Aaron Hinckley




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