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Dolphins running backs present fantasy football conundrum

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Dolphins running backs present fantasy football conundrum
Veteran running back Raheem Mostert (pictured), who spent last season with the San Francisco 49ers, is expected to compete with Chase Edmonds for carries this season. File Photo by Bruce Gordon/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla., Aug. 1 (UPI) -- The Miami Dolphins spent big on free agent running backs this off-season and appear ready to share the workload between a stable of speedy options, which most likely will create a fantasy football predicament.

Off-season additions Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert are expected to battle for carries throughout the preseason and regular season, since they are the Dolphins' two most-explosive and experienced options.

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But both running backs are players to steer clear of early in fantasy drafts due to the uncertainty about their workloads and injury history. I wouldn't target either for more than an RB3 or RB4 role on your roster, regardless of league size.

Fellow Dolphins off-season addition Sony Michel and Myles Gaskin, who led the team in rushing last season, also are on the team's roster in training camp.

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Fullback Alec Ingold spoke about the backfield situation at the start of Dolphins training camp at the Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens, Fla.

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"Raheem, obviously being a part of this offense before, he's like the dad of the room, making sure everyone knows why we're doing what we're doing," Ingold said at a news conference.

"You [also] have Chase who's coming in. He's the guy -- he's the bell cow. You just see all that shiftiness out on the field that you get really excited for.

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"And then Sony as well -- a Super Bowl champ -- having that experience. ... So all three of those guys coming into a brand new room, myself included, you want to bring that expertise."

The Dolphins, who hired coach Mike McDaniel in February, could run a very similar offense to the one he helped to orchestrate in his previous role as an offensive coordinator and running game coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers.

Those 49ers offenses, which consisted mostly of a wide-zone scheme, resulted in fantasy relevance for multiple ball carriers each season. The downside of that is that none of them totaled more than 1,000 rushing yards in a season.

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Mostert, who played for the 49ers from 2016 through 2021, was one of the most productive backs in the system. He logged 952 yards from scrimmage and scored 10 times during his best season in 2019, which also happens to be the only season that he was active for every game.

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He missed 15 games last season and eight games in 2020. That injury history, and Edmonds' presence as a versatile pass catcher and runner, make him a risky option.

Mostert told reporters at training camp that a "lot of similarities" exist between the Dolphins' running game and the 49ers' attack.

"Yes, a lot of similarities over there that we're going to be using over here with Mike [McDaniel] and everything and the coaching staff," Mostert said. "We'll see. Hopefully, I'm able to expand my role, just like I've always wanted to do.

"I started doing that and that stuff, but unfortunately with the injury, it kind of hindered me. ... I'm just excited. I can't wait."

I believe both running backs will have RB2 or flex value throughout the 2022 season, but will not be every week starters and can only be used in easy matchups.

Edmonds is likely to provide more consistent value thanks to his ability to pick up all purpose yards. He could move into low-end RB1 territory in leagues with at least 14 teams, but only if he takes over the role outright or if other players sustain injuries.

Edmonds totaled 903 yards from scrimmage and two scores last season, when he received about half the number of carries as James Conner did for the Arizona Cardinals.

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Look for Edmonds to improve his touchdown total and hover around 1,000 yards from scrimmage this season. He is a much better option in points-per-reception leagues.

Mostert, who is widely regarded as one of the fastest players in the NFL, should remain a threat to his workload and provide standalone value. He is more of an asset in standard formats.

Edmonds told reporters that the running back room does not feature "egos" and he hopes his teammates also succeed.

"There are no egos," Edmonds said at training camp. "I come in open-minded. I'm a team-first guy. I come in and do what I'm asked to do. ... I want to see my brother ball and get paid.

"We are all in this business for the same reason and that's to take care of our families."

Michel and Gaskin shouldn't be drafted or considered for your lineup unless the Dolphins' other running backs sustain injuries.

The Dolphins open the preseason with a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Aug. 13 in Tampa, Fla. They also will host the Las Vegas Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles in the preseason.

They will start the regular season against the New England Patriots on Sept. 11 in Miami Gardens, Fla.

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