De’Von Achane Injury Update: Will Dolphins Rookie RB Take the Field in Week 1?

Miami Dolphins electric running back De'Von Achane is nursing a shoulder injury, but will the rookie RB be ready to take the field come Week 1?

The Miami Dolphins have been no strangers to unfortunate injuries ahead of the 2023 season, and the running back position is no exception. Veteran Jeff Wilson Jr. is already set to miss an extended period of time on injured reserve, so the team will need the rest of its ball carriers to step up to start the year.

Will rookie running back De’Von Achane join Wilson on the sideline come Week 1, or will the Dolphins’ explosive young RB be ready to make his NFL debut when Miami’s season kicks off on Sept. 10?

Will De’Von Achane Be Active for Week 1?

Achane suffered a shoulder injury after taking a big hit during Miami’s Week 2 preseason victory over the Houston Texans. On an inside run, Achane carried a group of defenders several yards before being pushed back and driven into the ground. Texans defensive tackle Khalil Davis fell on Achane, with most of their weight falling on the RB’s left shoulder.

The team has been careful with Achane in the two weeks since, holding the rookie out of the team’s final preseason contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Though the Dolphins haven’t released an official diagnosis on the nature of Achane’s shoulder injury, we got some insight into the severity from head coach Mike McDaniel.

“We shall see. I think it’s sooner rather than later,” McDaniel said about Achane’s potential availability for the team’s Week 1 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Miami’s head coach hinted that Achane should be able to practice ahead of opening weekend, saying, “In regard to next week, we have four opportunities to sharpen our axe, as it would be. I would expect him to get some prep work before that game.”

It will be worth monitoring whether the former Texas A&M star will be sporting a red non-contact jersey or be limited in any way when the team takes the practice field on Wednesday.

Who Will Step Up if Achane Is Absent in Week 1?

Veteran speedster Raheem Mostert was always set to be Miami’s RB1 to start the year (a potential trade for Jonathan Taylor notwithstanding), regardless of whether Achane was healthy enough to play.

Not only has Mostert been wildly efficient as a runner throughout his career, but he has the full trust of McDaniel, who’s coached the RB for several years dating back to their time together in San Francisco.

Mostert himself has battled injury issues throughout his career, but he was able to suit up for 16 of Miami’s 17 games last season and put up impressive numbers. He toted the rock for 891 yards at a blistering 4.9 yards per carry while snaring 31 catches for an additional 202 yards. He also found the end zone five times.

Behind Mostert is Salvon Ahmed, a 2020 undrafted free agent out of Washington who has produced for Miami in spurts since joining the team three seasons ago. Ahmed cemented a spot on the 53-man roster after a spectacular preseason, but he, too, is nursing an injury.

That said, it sounds like Ahmed’s neck issue shouldn’t keep him from the field. “I would anticipate seeing him today in practice, and if not today, if there’s any whisper of a potential setback, then the beginning of next week. We were being very deliberately cautious with him as he has proven his growth on the field, both in practice and the preseason games,” McDaniel said on Thursday.

The Dolphins have another preseason sensation on the roster as well in 2023 undrafted free agent signee Chris Brooks. The 23-year-old out of BYU is unique in stature among the rest of Miami’s RBs. While Mostert, Ahmed, and Achane are all leaner players who predicate their game on speed, Brooks is a true ground-and-pound grinder.

He stands at 6’1″ and 223 pounds and regularly displayed his ability to bulldoze defenders and break tackles during Miami’s three preseason contests.

Brooks has already proved that he earned the trust of Miami’s coaching staff by making the 53-man roster over established veteran Myles Gaskin, so he could certainly see the field regardless of Achane’s status, especially in short-yardage situations.

Fantasy Football Implications of Achane’s Injury

Given the possibility that Achane could suit up in Week 1, his injury shouldn’t affect where you draft him in fantasy football leagues. As a rookie RB firmly behind a veteran in Mostert, Achane wasn’t ever a player you were drafting with the idea of counting on him this early in the season.

The explosive ball carrier is an upside play in season-long leagues in the event that he either produces enough in his early-season opportunities to earn a substantial share of the touches down the road or is called upon to take a larger load should the veterans in front of him go down.

With all that said, Achane presents as a highly enticing dart throw in the later rounds, given his fit in McDaniel’s offense and ability to break off big plays. I’d say his speed is one of one, but such a sentiment would sound silly when talking about a guy who plays on a team with three of the fastest players in the NFL in Mostert, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle.

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But the fact that we can talk about him in the same breath as those players should tell you everything you need to know about Achane’s ability to produce fireworks. He ran a blazing 4.32 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine — the dude can flat-out fly. If he does get a chance to see a workload of any significance, he could be a fun boom-or-bust play as a Flex option.

Achane currently sits at RB47 (124th overall) in our PFN consensus rankings, with an ADP of 139th overall.

For those of you in dynasty leagues, I wouldn’t give much thought to this injury impacting Achane’s stock. Not only does it appear to be a short-term issue, but shoulder ailments typically don’t present long-term concerns for production at the running back position.

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