Upon his being traded to the Miami Dolphins, even with Miami’s addition of Jordan Howard, Matt Breida’s fantasy stock rose naturally. He had averaged over five yards per carry in each of the last two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. So the prospect of more work, and better health (fingers crossed), fostered breakout speculation.
Then starting in Week 1, Myles Gaskin happened. By Week 3 Gaskin took the clear lead role (22 carries), leaving Howard as a little-used goal line guy and Breida with scraps. In seven games Breida has 37 carries for 128 yards and seven catches for 79 yards. He also has yet to play more than 21 snaps in a game.
On Tuesday, the Dolphins added to their backfield by acquiring DeAndre Washington from the Kansas City Chiefs. Then, news on Gaskin came to explain why that move was made.
Gaskin is expected to miss the Dolphins’ next three games-Week 9 against the Arizona Cardinals, Week 10 against the Los Angeles Chargers and Week 11 against the Denver Broncos.
So is Matt Breida’s 2020 breakout finally coming?
Howard has been a healthy scratch in Miami’s last three games, but he’ll surely be active now. Patrick Laird might see some work, with Washington in the mix now. A low-wattage committee may be coming, but Breida could be the lead guy.
Entering Week 9, the Cardinals, Chargers and Broncos are allowing the 12th-most, 15th-fewest and ninth-fewest fantasy points to running backs respectively (Yahoo!, 0.5-point PPR).
The Chargers are allowing 7.1 receptions per game to running backs (tied for second-most). The 50 catches they’ve allowed to backs is tied for the fourth-highest total in the league, with a tied for league-most 68 running back targets allowed. The Broncos (54) and Cardinals (52) are in the top half of the league in running back targets allowed (as in among the most).
The passing game looks like it’ll be where Breida will make the most hay while Gaskin is out. Gaskin had 35 targets over the first seven games, including six in Week 8 as Tua Tagovailoa made his first NFL start (22 pass attempts).
Over the last five games, Gaskin topped 15 carries four times. That workload is now available for at least the next three games. Breida has the easiest path to double-digit carries, along with a handful of targets too.
Breida reportedly missed practice on Wednesday, but he’s not known to be injured. Perhaps he’s being rested a bit, in preparation for a role that can only be bigger while Gaskin is out.
Matt Breida Fantasy Outlook
Breida is well worth a look on the waiver wire this week, and his ownership rates have risen a bit in the wake of Gaskin’s injury. But he’s owned in just 26 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 33.2 percent of ESPN leagues (as of Wednesday afternoon).
It’s impossible to know how the Dolphins’ running back rotation will look when Gaskin is back in action. That assumes he only misses three games. So let’s press the brakes on the late breakout bandwagon for Breida right now. He is now a viable flex option for Week 9-11 though, with slightly more appeal in PPR formats.