Fantasy alert: Dolphins' Jay Ajayi could get bigger workload in 2017

Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi rushed for 1,272 and eight touchdowns in 2016, but he could see more carries moving forward. Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

DAVIE, Fla. -- One of the most impressive accomplishments involving Jay Ajayi's breakout season in 2016 is he only started 12 games.

Add in the fact Ajayi didn't play at all in Week 1 and didn't get rolling until Week 6 -- with 204 rushing yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers -- and you have an idea of the small window the tailback used to notch a career-best 1,272 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

Ajayi is entering 2017 as a full-time starter for the first time in his NFL career. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase recently said Ajayi could get as many as 350 rushing attempts if the running back stays healthy and plays all 16 games, which is 90 more attempts than last season.

"I'm ready for it," Ajayi said Tuesday during the opening of Miami's organized team activities. "I prepare myself every season to take a huge workload and be able to carry the team, and I think I'm ready for that."

This is a significant alert for fantasy football owners.

Based on Ajayi's 4.9-yard-per-carry average in 2016, 350 attempts would put Ajayi at 1,715 rushing yards. However, defenses will be focused heavily each week on stopping Ajayi, who was the engine behind Miami's offense last season.

This offseason is unique for Ajayi. The third-year running back is coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance. Ajayi is more recognizable in public and more respective among his peers.

Ajayi was recently voted in the NFL's top-100 players for the first time at No. 69, which he deemed a "cool" feat.

"It's a good accomplishment," Ajayi said. "(I'm) striving to be No. 1."

The Dolphins' hot streak and run to the playoffs coincided with the tailback's streak of putting together big games towards the middle and end of last season. The Dolphins were 6-0 when Ajayi rushed for 77 yards or more last season.

Expect more explosiveness from quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the passing game with additions such as tight end Julius Thomas and the return of deep-threat Kenny Stills to go with receivers Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker.

"It's really exciting," Ajayi said. "Just going out on the field (Tuesday) for the first OTA and not seeing too many new faces -- guys who have been in the program since last year -- and we kind of know what to expect from each other."