Fantasy Alert: Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake in Walking Boot After Injury

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2019

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 23: Kenyan Drake #32 of the Miami Dolphins in action before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Hard Rock Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake was seen at practice Wednesday in a walking boot.

ESPN's Cameron Wolfe noted that he left Tuesday's practice early. After practice, head coach Brian Flores told reporters Drake will out for "a while" with the injury, but he is hopeful he'll be ready for the start of the regular season.

While a gruesome leg injury limited him to five games as a junior at Alabama in 2014, Drake has maintained relatively good health through the years. He played in 11-plus games in each of his other three seasons with the Crimson Tide, and he has not missed a game through his first three years in the NFL.

Meanwhile, his career continues on an upward trajectory.

The 25-year-old back has gotten better with each season, piling up a career-high 1,012 yards from scrimmage last year. While he ran for 535 yards and four touchdowns for Miami in 2018, he added 53 receptions for 477 yards and five scores in the passing game.

His ability to break out of tackles has made him effective:

PFF MIA Dolphins @PFF_Dolphins

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According to Pro Football Focus' Austin Gayle, Drake is tied for first in the NFL since 2016 in yards after contact per attempt (3.7). The average for qualified players was 2.3 yards.

Meanwhile, Drake has averaged 4.7 yards per carry and 8.1 yards per catch through three seasons.

With veteran Frank Gore moving on to the Buffalo Bills in free agency during the offseason, losing Drake to injury would be a big blow to the Miami backfield. Second-year back Kalen Ballage (247 yards from scrimmage in 2018) would likely take on a bigger role should Drake miss time, though rookie Myles Gaskin may also see significant touches.

If Drake's injury causes him to miss the start of the regular season, Ballage seems like a safe bet to assume the starting role, which would take him from being a late-round flier to a much higher pick with big-time upside in fantasy football.

Miami might be the NFL's worst team in 2019, but every starting running back has fantasy value, and Drake's injury could help launch Ballage to fantasy stardom.