Fantasy Football Team Preview: Miami Dolphins
MAY 28, 2014 4:39p ET
Training Camp Update (8/8)
Knowshon Moreno (knee surgery) returned to practice this week and took part in individual drills. He has some catching up to do, but Daniel Thomas is hurt and Lamar Miller hasn't created that much space between RB1 and RB2. So, despite the time missed, Moreno could still carve out his expected niche within Bill Lazor's offensive scheme.
Reports out of Miami suggest Ryan Tannehill hasn't performed as of late.
Their first preseason game of the season versus Atlanta should share some insight as to the status of their offensive line play, which will directly impact much of the Dolphins' fantasy relevance in 2014.
The Dolphins’ offensive line won “sieve of the year” honors in 2013. Aside from the off-the-field soap opera involving Jonathan Martin and Richie “Yes, that’s my real last name” Incognito, Ryan Tannehill’s butt hit the turf a league-high 58 times last season. The rushing offense ranked in the bottom six in yards-per-game (90.0) and touchdowns, eight. The team attempted to address the need to bolster the o-line by drafting two offensive lineman – JaWuan James and Billy Turner - with two of their first three picks. James is slated to start right away along with free agent acquisition Shelley Smith.
This line will need to improve (profound) not only to provide Tannehill time to throw, but so the offense can cash in on the true value of free agent signee Knowshon Moreno.
BYE Week: 5
Quarterback – Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill’s numbers improved in his sophomore season, but just enough to bump him up to 16th in fantasy points scored among fellow quarterbacks. His 17 interceptions – a by-product of lousy line play – were tied for seventh-most in the league (M. Ryan).
Despite targeting Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline 276 times last season, neither receiver was targeted more than 16 percent of the time by Tannehill inside the red zone. He did look Charles Clay’s direction about 20 percent of the time inside the 20.
Tannehill remains on the outside of the top 12 fantasy quarterbacks in 2014.
Running Back – Knowshon Moreno
Update (8/6): Removed form PUP list and ready to practice
Update (6/20): Several reports published that Moreno has a "bad" knee injury that could keep him out. NFL Network reported he'll get another opinion next week to see if surgery is needed.
Update (6/6): Reports surfaced this week that Moreno was a little thick around the belly and needed to drop some weight this summer. I still believe he's the RB1 to covet come draft day.
Within Peyton Manning’s up-tempo offense last season, Moreno posted career highs in rushing yards (1,038), receiving yards (548) and total touchdowns with 13. He scored the fifth-most fantasy points among fantasy running backs (14.8 FPPG). While we shouldn’t expect Moreno to repeat these feats, he was brought to Miami to produce and in PPR leagues still warrants RB2 status. I’ll avoid Moreno in standard leagues and hope the guy next to me gambles and becomes the third running back wheel on his depth chart.
Note: last season was only the second time in five seasons Moreno played in all 16 games
Running Back – Lamar Miller
Update (8/6): With Moreno back in early-August, the Dolphins backfield has all the makings of the newest RBBC in fantasy football.
Update (6/6): With the Moreno-is-too-chunky news headlines, Miller saw more first-team reps during this round of OTA's. Take those reps with a grain of salt, but could narrow the gap between the free agent signee and another RBBC to hedge the values of the RB1 and RB2 in Miami.
With the addition of Moreno and loss of 2013 touches to never-quite-healthy Daniel Thomas around the goal-line, Miller’s fantasy stock plummets to 13th-round flier at-best. Miller ranked 37th in fantasy points scored among fellow running backs (6.1 FPPG).
Wide Receiver – Mike Wallace
The biggest knock on Wallace’s 2013 fantasy resume was after averaging more than eight touchdowns per season his last three in Pittsburgh, he only scored five for the Dolphins - only one TD the first 10 games. On top of that, his average yards per catch was 12.7 – a career-low. The good news is Wallace’s 142 targets ranked inside the top 15 in the league. So, Tannehill will continue to look his direction opposite Brian Hartline, but I think the days of WR1 fantasy football status are behind Wallace and should be embraced as a WR2. Just don’t reach.
Wide Receiver – Brian Hartline
Tannehill’s security blanket is Hartline. In two seasons, Hartline has been targeted 262 and caught 150 passes (57.2 reception percentage) for 2,099 yards. The former Ohio State Buckeye scored a career-high four touchdowns last season. His 76 receptions in 2013 tied for 26th-most in the league, just ahead of annually coveted receiver Marques Colston. In PPR leagues, Hartline will come off draft boards between the 5th-7th rounds.
For those in PPR leagues, Hartline finished 25th in fantasy points scored (12.6 FPPG).
Tight End – Charles Clay
The Dolphins only had one player rank inside the top 15 leading fantasy football scorers at a position. Charles Clay caught 68 percent of the passes thrown to him and racked up 759 yards with six touchdowns to average 7.4 fantasy points per game in standard scoring leagues.
Kicker – Caleb Sturgis
Finished 20th in fantasy points scored among kickers. Sturgis’ 76.5 accuracy percentage comes with the caveat that four of those misses were from beyond 50 yards.
Finished 21st in fantasy points scored among fantasy DST. Similar to the Patriots’ bend-but-do-not-break mantra, the Dolphins finished 21st in total defense – 16th vs. pass and 24th vs. rush – but ranked eighth in points allowed – 20.9 PAPG. Miami ranked inside the top 12 in defensive interceptions (18) and sacks (42).