Fantasy Football Mailbag: Tuesday 10/18/16

Should you spend your waiver claim on Jay Ajayi? Can you trust Jordan Howard? What about Christine Michael?

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Now, let's answer some questions.

The answer to me, Patrick, is yes. Jay Ajayi is worth it. His offensive line is getting healthier, and he's gotten 38 of the Miami Dolphins' 50 rushing attempts in the past two weeks. That's coupled with a 68% and 69% snap share. No other running back on the team has topped 18% in either of the past two games. He's also drawn a carry on 52% of his snaps this year, ranking him 7th among players with at least 10 snaps per game, according to Fantasy Data. If you need a running back, Ajayi should work well enough given that workload.

As for Hunter Henry, you can make a claim for him, but I'd prioritize Ajayi. That's some heavy equity to burn on a tight end who played 68% of snaps in his most recent game, ranking 20th at the position in Week 6. You can possibly wait on Ladarius Green or Jack Doyle once waivers clear, but I can't fault you if you don't want to miss out on his upside.

That's a tough call, Addison. Jordan Howard played 69% of snaps in Week 6, same as Ajayi, but he got a carry on just 27% of them. The Jacksonville Jaguars looked to force Brian Hoyer to beat them, taking away the run game for Chicago. That won't get any easier in Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers on a short week. Green Bay is second by our metrics in run defense, but teams tend to lean on the run more on a short week.

Then, things get worse, as they face the Minnesota Vikings and enter a bye. It'll be three weeks before you can be confident starting Howard. But after that, he gets the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers, and Detroit Lions, which is a juicy stretch.

If you can sell high, go for it, because he's a tough start for three straight weeks. If you can hold him, he could pay off big time toward the playoffs unless his workload evaporates.

Christine Michael has been really good this year, racking up 2.64 Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) on 81 carries. His per-carry rate of 0.03 bests the league average of -0.04 comfortably. His Success Rate, the percentage of carries that boost NEP, of 41.98% is closer to the league average, but other Seattle Seahawks running backs are posting a mark of 29.41%.

Thomas Rawls, conversely, has marks of -0.40 and 26.32%, albeit on 19 injured carries.

That means that Michael has overcome the dreadful Seattle line, and he's getting serious work, playing on 69% of Seattle's snaps this season. Rawls is still a few weeks away, and there's really no reason to rush him back. And even when he returns, he isn't going to be playing at Michael's level, more than likely. I'm trusting Michael to hold on to his starting gig without much room for Rawls to try to steal the role back, given C.J. Spiller's pass-catching abilities.

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