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Kalen Ballage

Kalen Ballage

Running Back #33
Team: Miami Dolphins
Ht / Wt:6'1" / 228 lb.
College:Arizona State
Born:December 22, 1995
Drafted:2018 / Rd. 4 (131)
Draft Team:MIA

Kalen Ballage: Facing roster competition

Ballage may not have a roster spot with the Dolphins in 2020, Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald reports.

Analysis: The 2018 fourth-round pick was brutal last season, averaging 1.8 yards on 74 carries and 2.6 yards on 24 targets before an Achilles injury sent him to IR in early December. The injury wasn't viewed as a long-term issue, so Ballage should be fine to take the field whenever the Dolphins are able to practice. With Jordan Howard and Matt Breida now sitting atop the depth chart, Ballage will compete with Patrick Laird, Myles Gaskin (ankle) and De'Lance Turner, likely vying for one or two roster spots.

April 30, 2020 5:28 AM EST

Kalen Ballage: Stout competition arrives

Ballage (Achilles) is facing competition for carries from new backfield mate Jordan Howard (shoulder), Chris Perkins of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Ballage and Howard both fit the mold of early-down running backs with limited receiving upside, an indication that they could spend the summer competing for one role. Howard's track record of consistency (4.3 career YPC) stands to give him a clear lead over Ballage, who scrounged up a dismal 1.8 YPC across 74 rushing attempts in 2019. Myles Gaskin and Patrick Laird also stand to compete for backfield roles during the offseason.

March 20, 2020 9:50 AM EST

Kalen Ballage: Should be healthy soon

Ballage (leg) could be healthy within a few weeks, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports.

Analysis: Coach Brian Flores said Ballage wouldn't have been placed on injured reserve if he'd suffered the same leg injury earlier in the season. It sounds like the running back will return to full health long before the offseason program, but he'll need to battle for his roster spot after averaging 1.8 yards on 74 carries and 2.6 yards on 24 targets in 2019. The Dolphins have plenty of draft picks and ample cap space to secure upgrades in the backfield. In the meantime, Patrick Laird will duke it out with Myles Gaskin, Zach Zenner and De'Lance Turner throughout December.

December 4, 2019 8:20 AM EST

Kalen Ballage: Lands on IR

Ballage (leg ) is headed to IR, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: In a corresponding move, the team claimed fellow running back Zach Zenner off waivers from the Cardinals. With Ballage no longer in the mix, added work in the Dolphins' backfield is now available for Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin.

December 3, 2019 2:03 PM EST

Kalen Ballage: Leaves game Sunday

Ballage is questionable to return to Sunday's game against the Eagles due to a leg injury, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports.

Analysis: Ballage appeared to suffer a non-contact injury midway through the second quarter of Sunday's contest. As long as the second-year pro is sidelined, Myles Gaskin and Patrick Laird will handle Miami's backfield reps.

December 1, 2019 11:12 AM EST

Kalen Ballage: Retains starting job

Coach Brian Flores said Monday that Ballage will remain the starter this week, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports.

Analysis: Despite averaging a miserable 1.9 yards per carry and 4.5 yards per catch through 11 contests, Ballage will retain his grasp on the starting gig for the time being. Rookies Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin have garnered increased usage in recent weeks -- Laird logged 23 snaps on offense during Sunday's loss to the Browns while Gaskin played 16 snaps -- so Miami's backfield could grow to more closely represent a timeshare as the season continues, unless Ballage is able to start producing more consistently.

November 25, 2019 11:44 AM EST

Kalen Ballage: Another underwhelming performance

Ballage rushed seven times for 13 yards and brought in his only target for 13 yards in the Dolphins' 41-24 loss to the Browns on Sunday.

Analysis: Ballage couldn't get anything going on the ground, and he also saw Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin log carries. The game script quickly turned against the ground attack, however, as the Dolphins found themselves in a 28-0 hole in the first half. The recent release of Mark Walton ostensibly gives Ballage a clearer path to a lead-back-worthy workload, but that's far from guaranteed in a backfield that still seems destined for a timeshare and on a team whose defense can often put the team in sizable deficits that neutralize the running game. Ballage will look for better production versus the Eagles' stingy run defense in Week 13.

November 24, 2019 2:36 PM EST

Kalen Ballage: May get longer leash as starter

Ballage may have the opportunity to finish the season as the Dolphins' lead back after Miami cut the suspended Mark Walton on Tuesday, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Before the NFL handed him a four-game suspension earlier this month in connection with his three offseason arrests, Walton had seemingly separated himself from Ballage as the Dolphins' lead back following the late-October trade that sent Kenyan Drake to Arizona. Walton was expected to reclaim the top spot on the depth chart once eligible to return Dec. 8 against the Jets, but he lost his roster spot entirely after Miami was made aware of his involvement in yet another "police matter" early Tuesday. While Walton's dismissal aids Ballage, his porous efficiency this season (1.9 yards per carry on 64 totes, 3.8 yards per reception on 13 catches) may have already put his standing in the backfield on shaky ground. Rookies Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin now loom as the remaining challengers at running back, and both could see increased changes in the weeks to come if Ballage continues to struggle in both the running and passing games.

November 19, 2019 9:39 AM EST

Kalen Ballage: Averages 1.0 yards per carry

Ballage ran for nine yards and a touchdown on nine attempts and added eight yards on five catches during Sunday's 37-20 loss to the Bills.

Analysis: In the voice of Chandler Bing, could Ballage be any more inefficient? The sophomore back's yards per carry dropped down to 1.9 on the season Sunday and he's had just one game this season in which he averaged more than three yards per carry. He hasn't been much better through the air, averaging 3.8 yards per catch. Certainly, a depleted offensive line and journeyman throwing the ball doesn't help, but Ballage has failed to do much with his rise to the starting role aside from the occasional touchdown, having scored his third of the season Sunday. He'll have a chance to turn the corner in Week 12 against a Browns run defense than ranks 27th in the league surrendering 4.8 yards per carry.

November 17, 2019 3:40 PM EST

Kalen Ballage: Will remain priority on ground

Coach Brian Flores said Wednesday that the Dolphins will continue to lean heavily on Ballage as their lead option out of the backfield, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. "Kalen's done a good job at practice; it hasn't materialized in games," Flores said. "We keep giving it to him, and I think it will turn. He's a good player. He's shown it in practice. We'll keep feeding him and I think he will break through at some point."

Analysis: While Mark Walton missed the first of four games due to suspension in the Dolphins' win last week over the Colts, Ballage stepped in as the clear No. 1 back, playing 54 of 66 offensive snaps but gaining just 43 yards on 20 carries. Ballage's lack of productivity on the ground has been a recurring theme throughout the season, as his 2.1 yards-per-carry average ranks last among all backs with at least 10 totes. Fortunately for Ballage, none of the other three active backs on the roster -- Patrick Laird, Myles Gaskin and De'Lance Turner -- possess much in the way of pedigree or prior NFL experience, so he should remain relatively unchallenged for top duties until Walton is eligible to return to action Dec. 8 versus the Jets.

November 14, 2019 1:58 PM EST

Kalen Ballage: Reaches end zone

Ballage ran for seven yards and one touchdown on three carries during Sunday's 17-16 loss to Washington.

Analysis: Ballage was inefficient as usual on the ground, averaging only 1.6 yards per carry through five contests. His 6-foot-2, 231-pound frame did come in useful in the red zone, allowing Ballage to salvage his day for fantasy purposes. The second-year pro now appears to be operating behind both Kenyan Drake and Mark Walton, making him a risky start in most fantasy formats despite upside around the goal line.

October 13, 2019 5:38 PM EST

Kalen Ballage: Suits up Sunday

Ballage (foot) is listed as active for Sunday's game against Washington.

Analysis: He's in uniform, but with Kenyan Drake serving as the team's top back and Mark Walton starting to earn his share of carries in the Miami ground game, Ballage is a risky roll in fantasy lineups.

October 13, 2019 8:52 AM EST

Kalen Ballage: Questionable due to foot injury

Ballage (foot) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Redskins, Safid Deen of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Analysis: Ballage avoided the injury report in Week 6 until making an appearance Friday as a limited participant. Typically, this is indicative of an injury suffered in practice, but the Dolphins will wait until 90 minutes before Sunday's 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff before making a decision on his availability.

October 11, 2019 11:24 AM EST

Kalen Ballage: Gets two carries in loss

Ballage recorded two carries for seven yards and was unable to corral his lone target in Sunday's loss to the Chargers.

Analysis: Ballage saw the field for just eight snaps on offense Sunday after seeing 20, 21 and 25 snaps in the first three games, respectively. The 23-year-old has seemingly been filed into the backup role behind Kenyan Drake, who has taken 31 carries for 113 yards and 13 receptions for 107 additional yards through four games, compared to Ballage's 19 carries for 29 yards. Not helping either running back is the fact that Miami has often found themselves playing from behind in games so far this season, forcing them to lean more into their passing game.

October 1, 2019 11:01 AM EST

Kalen Ballage: Makes minimal impact versus Dallas

Ballage carried eight times for 17 yards and caught one of three targets for 10 yards during Sunday's 31-6 loss to the Cowboys.

Analysis: Ballage's nine touches nearly doubled his season total, but he did little on the ground as he averaged just 2.1 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Kenyan Drake totaled 72 scrimmage yards on 15 touches and looked much more effective against a tough opponent. Ballage has hardly made a case for a larger workload, totaling 22 yards on 17 carries and 29 yards on three catches through three games. With that said, he seems unlikely to make much of a fantasy impact in next Sunday's home matchup with the Chargers.

September 22, 2019 6:21 PM EST

Kalen Ballage: Among Miami's Week 2 lowlights

Ballage rushed four times for six yards and caught one of five targets for six yards in Sunday's 43-0 loss to the Patriots.

Analysis: Ballage looked completely inept trying to catch the ball out of the backfield. He ducked rather than try to catch a pass intended for him in the first half, and then had a ball bounce off his hands and returned for an interception touchdown in the second half. Kenyan Drake is the better running back in Miami, and it's hard to see Ballage becoming much of a difference-maker even if Drake's trade rumors turn into a tangible move.

September 15, 2019 3:44 PM EST

Kalen Ballage: Used less in committee

Ballage played only 20 snaps on offense during Sunday's 59-10 loss to the Ravens while Kenyan Drake played 27 snaps.

Analysis: Ballage, who netted minus-1 yard on five carries and one catch for 13 yards, also saw less touches than Drake despite being listed as the starter. Given that the Ravens led 42-10 by halftime it's conceivable that the game script simply favored Drake's receiving chops, but Ballage's lack of efficiency could also have prompted him to cede the workload. Heading into a Week 2 matchup against New England's impressive offense, Ballage may once again be facing an unfavorable situation and see less usage than Drake.

September 9, 2019 5:59 PM EST

Kalen Ballage: Complete dud as starter

Ballage netted minus-1 yard on five rushes and brought in his sole target for 13 yards in the Dolphins' 59-10 loss to the Ravens on Sunday.

Analysis: Ballage entered the game as the starting running back on the depth chart, although one wouldn't know it by his final numbers. Naturally, game conditions were far from ideal for any Dolphins running back, with Miami already down by three touchdowns before the end of the first quarter. Fantasy managers holding rights to Ballage and/or Kenyan Drake would likely be ill advised to draw many conclusions from Sunday's contest about what the workload between the two might normally look like. Moreover, they may be in suspense for at least one more game, considering a stacked Patriots team comes to town in Week 2.

September 8, 2019 2:04 PM EST

Kalen Ballage: Announced as starter

Ballage was announced as the Dolphins' starting running back for Sunday's game against the Ravens, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Though the Dolphins' initial depth chart lists Kenyan Drake as the top back, coach Brian Flores has decided to go in a different direction for Week 1. As Wolfe notes, the fact that Ballage is starting doesn't guarantee the second-year player will be in line for the bulk of the snaps/touches out of the backfield, as both he and Drake are expected to see plenty of action in what could end up being more of a timeshare arrangement.

September 8, 2019 10:00 AM EST

Kalen Ballage: Listed behind Drake

Ballage is listed behind Kenyan Drake on the Dolphins' depth chart, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Ballage appears to have been surpassed by Drake after averaging just 2.2 yards on 18 preseason carries, but the team's depth chart order could become fluid as the season progresses. Both Ballage and Drake figure to receive notable work Sunday versus the Ravens, but it remains to be see how effective Miami's running game will be behind an offensive line now lacking standout LT Laremy Tunsil.

September 4, 2019 10:32 AM EST

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