Monday, June 16, 2014
Which Dolphins have fantasy value?
By James Walker
Most of the time we dissect the Xs and Os and latest news with your favorite team. But occasionally there are good times to mix in fantasy football – and this is one of those times.
The 2014 season is about to get under way when training camps start at the end of July. That also means fantasy drafts will be plentiful.
Here is some advice on who to select and who to avoid for the Dolphins:
1. QB Ryan Tannehill
2013 stats: 3,913 yards, 24 touchdowns, 17 interceptions
Analysis: Tannehill is a complete wild card this year in fantasy drafts. Some believe he’s just not a franchise quarterback based on his 15-17 career record. Some believe Tannehill was held back last year by a poor offensive line and questionable play-calling. Both things should be better this year, which naturally means Tannehill has a better chance to put up numbers. New Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is bringing an up-tempo style to Miami that will be fast-paced and put a lot of pressure on the defense. The offensive line also is improved with the additions of Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert, free-agent pickup Shelley Smith and first-round pick Ja’Wuan James.
Fantasy advice: Tannehill is not a top pick. But he could be a good sleeper if he picks up Lazor’s offense quickly. Pick your dependable franchise quarterback first. Then, it may be worth taking a flier on Tannehill as a backup fantasy quarterback in the later rounds.
2. WR Mike Wallace
2013 stats: 73 receptions, 930 yards, five TDs
Analysis: Despite not being used properly and missing on several big opportunities, Wallace still put up fairly decent numbers. If Wallace and Tannehill would have connected on half of their missed long balls last season, Wallace could have easily added 300 more yards and three or four touchdowns. It is vital for Tannehill and Wallace to leave nothing on the field this year. Lazor also is using Wallace in various positions so defenses won’t key on him. If all goes well, Wallace could put up DeSean Jackson-like numbers.
Fantasy advice: There are reasons to be confident in Wallace's fantasy value in his second year in Miami. However, the tricky part of playing receiver is you need everything else to go well. Will the offensive line come together quickly and give Wallace enough time to get downfield? Will Tannehill throw a better deep ball? These are unknowns. Still, Wallace would be a solid No. 2 or No. 3 fantasy receiver on most teams. He should get over 1,000 yards if he stays healthy.
3. TE Charles Clay
2013 stats: 69 receptions, 759 yards, six touchdowns
Analysis: Clay was a nice surprise in fantasy football last year. He started training camp as a “tweener” fullback and tight end. Then, Dustin Keller’s season-ending knee injury in the preseason made Clay a full-time starter at tight end and his production took off. Clay led the Dolphins with six touchdown receptions.
Fantasy advice: Clay still has sleeper value in 2014. Not everyone is on to him as a household name at tight end. Don’t overdraft Clay as a Dolphin fan. Wait until the later rounds where a steady producer like Clay can offer some real value.
4. RB Lamar Miller
2013 stats: 709 rushing yards, two touchdowns
Analysis: Some fantasy owners thought Miller had the potential to be a big sleeper last season. But Miller struggled in his first full year as a starter. He didn’t have the explosive plays the Dolphins were hoping four and only rushed for two touchdowns. The Dolphins signed veteran tailback Knowshon Moreno to push Miller and possibly take Miller’s job this season.
Fantasy advice: With Moreno and Miller competing this summer, neither player offers much fantasy value. There is no way of knowing who will start until the end of the preseason. I would look at other options at running back.
5. Dolphins defense
2013 stats: Ranking 24th vs. run, 16 vs. pass
Analysis: The Dolphins were a hard bunch to gauge on defense. Several statistics point out Miami’s defense was mediocre. But there were a few areas, such as points per game, where the Dolphins did well and kept the team in the hunt all season. Miami’s offense rarely did its defense any favors. This is a group that at times wore down in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins’ defense must do better late in games.
Fantasy value: I expect the Dolphins’ defense to perform better statistically in 2014. But there are plenty of safer defenses to choose from.