Miami Dolphins - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview
Undoubtedly, the times are a changing down in Miami. As LeBron James heads back home, there has apparently been talk of remaking the film, “The Jerk”. Steve Martin has declined to revise his role as Navin, so the logical next choice is Mike Pouncey.
Now, I have used the term douche canoe before in order to refer to some of the other top 40 type fantasy sites out there. However, I may have to reserve this title for Mike “douche canoe” Pouncey; it just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it. The public was first treated to his off the field behavior when bully-gate first hit. Pouncey was one of the ring-leaders that tormented Jonathan Martin to such a degree, he actually left the team. Then, he flashed the free Hernandez wear during the Aaron Hernandez murder trial. Now he is wanted for questioning for a night club beating.
To coin a Shakespearean line: “Such antics do not amount to a man”. Aside from his deplorable behavior off the field, which might yet receive the wrath of Goodell, Pouncey was originally expected to miss the first 4 weeks of the season due to hip surgery. Now, team sources are speculating he may very well not be ready until week 8. The loss of Pouncey is a crushing blow to an already dismal offensive line. Last year they ranked 28th in run blocking and 30th in pass protection. They gave up, a league high, 58 sacks. The Dolphins did spend their 1st and 3rd picks in this year’s draft on offensive tackles. Tannehill, in a display of confidence, stated the team’s intentions: “We want to play deep into January and February”. He was then abruptly tackled from his blind side.
Despite his offensive protection, or lack-there-of, Tannehill should have an impressive season. Although the line is a major concern, he is running a new offense under coordinator Bill Lazor. Most recently, Lazor was the QB coach for the Eagles. According to a CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, he is attempting to install a fast paced offense: “Lazor has added more motion, shifts, and formations. He wants to be more wide-open while deploying players in multiple positions more often. Most of all, he wants the offense operating at a faster tempo”.
The Dolphins have the easiest strength of schedule for quarterbacks, and clock in at #3 for the fantasy playoffs. Tannehill has some impressive qualities. Perhaps none more so than the fact he landed this…
…And now on with the show. He had 5 games where he threw for more than 300 yards. That’s more than Kaepernick and R. Wilson combined. He is entering his 3rd season and so far, he has suited up every single week. In 2013, he averaged 14.9 points a game. Pyro expects him to run the ball more this year, plus he’s had more time for the chemistry to develop with Mike Wallace. Last year, Tannehill put the ball up 588 times and completed 355 of those for 3,913 yards. He had 24 TDs with 17 INTs. If his line can provide more protection, undoubtedly the INTs will come down. He added 238 yards on the ground and a rushing TD as well. He made impressive leaps from his rookie year. He showed improvements in important statistical categories. Tannehill increased his percentage from 58.3% to 60.4%. His touchdowns actually doubled. Plus, he is trending in a positive direction. He threw for over 300 yards in three of his last six games. In that same span, he put up 10 touchdowns. As of late July, Tannehill has an ADP of the early 14th round for 12 team leagues. Generally, I have found quarterbacks can go as much as 2-3 rounds ahead of their ADP. Even so, Tannehill is a bargain. I love a strategy that targets a tier 1 tight end, plus top backs and receivers. In order to lock up these positions, I am not drafting QBs until much later. I would be thrilled going into battle with a Tannehill and another tier III or IV QB in order to play the matchups. Tannehill should outperform his draft position considerably. In fact, Pyro has pegged him as one of their sleeper picks this year. You can get all the sleepers, busts, and more by purchasing the draft kit.
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Mike Wallace took a trip to south beach last year. Although he took time to get a feel for the system, he ended up at WR #25 in fantasy. He still was able to bring in 73 receptions, the most of his career. Wallace had 930 yards and only turned out 5 TDs. Tannehill was building faith in Wallace as the season progressed. In fact, Wallace was targeted 32 times in his last three games. This trend should continue in 2014. Plus, Miami not only has the best quarterback schedule, but they also have the best WR schedule as well, 4th in the fantasy playoffs. This undoubtedly makes Wallace more appealing than normal. In fact, there could be some nice value there. According to his most recent ADP (end of July) he is going in the 6th round for 12 team leagues. You will be hard pressed to find a #1 WR for their team in that late of a round. I like him as your WR#3 with WR#2 upside . Keep an eye on training camp as Wallace has had some recent issues with a hamstring.
Last year’s surprise was Brian Heartline. He was by far the better value than his partner, Mike Wallace. Heartine clocked in just behind Wallace with the #26 ranking for fantasy receivers. Last year, he broke 1,000 yards for the 2nd year in a row. He ended 2014 with only 4 total touchdowns. He is a consistent player, but not dynamic. Last year, he only had 2 games with at least 100 yards. If you have some risk/reward receivers, Heartline can temper your line-up. While he will never win you a week, he generally puts up steady numbers. He did, however, end the year on a down swing, only catching 9 balls in his last 3 games without crossing the end zone. Reports from camp have been positive thus far.
Although Houdini is an Iowa grad, he shows a suspicious amount of love for LSU players. Jarvis Landry is such a guy. It is not just Houdini however. Dawgmatica mentions Landry as a sleeper in show #136. Here, the boys dissect a mock draft, and go through sleepers and deep sleepers. This is the perfect road tripper, it provides over three and a half hours of fantasy goo!
If your league rewards individual players for return scores, you might want to keep him on your radar for a late round flier, as this plays out in camp. Landry was not a return guy in college, but is a gifted athlete. Coming into the Combine, he was most often compared to Odell Beckham. In his last year at LSU, Landry totaled 77 catches for 1,193 yards. Out of his 12 regular season games, he had 9 with at least 87 yards.
The running back position is of interest this year. While the team brought in Knowshon Moreno, he may be shedding a tear as LaMar Miller seems to have locked up the #1 spot so far.
Moreno, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in June, is still on the PUP list. His stock is falling fast as he came into camp overweight and out of shape. As of early August, his ADP (now early 9th) has dropped approximately one whole round in a month. If he does not recover quickly, he might not be worth the risk. While he had a fantastic season in Denver, how much of that was due to the threat of Manning?
While they still have Daniel Thomas, Lamar Miller is the talk of camp. I have always liked Miller’s talent, but for some reason, the Dolphins never seemed to give him a fair shake. Last year, he shared time and never seemed to be given a chance with the rock. He ran the ball 177 times for 709 yards and only 2 TDs. He added 26 receptions for an additional 170 yards. This year could be his year. I am aware, similar sentiment was discussed at this time last year. However, new OC Lazor has talked about expanding Miller’s role, using him in a similar fashion to LeSean McCoy. In fact, Miller has sought out the Eagle back for advice this offseason. Reports from camp have been glowing. I can see Miller breaking the 1,000 yard marker this year. The fact is, Mike Sherman, the previous offensive coordinator, never figured out how to use him properly. Miller, who is only going into his third year as a pro, boasts 4.3 speed and can run up the middle. Why would you not give this kid a chance? Well, ask Sherman, who only saw fit to give Miller the ball more than 10 times in only 7 games last year. In those 7 games however, he averaged 4.8 yards per carry (he averaged 4.0 on the season). Not to mention, that was behind an offensive line that ranked 28th for run blocking. The fact is, they just never gave him a legitimate chance. With the new offensive system in place, an improved passing game, and fresh faces on the O-line, Miller could have real value. As of late July, he is being taken in the 7th round for 12 man leagues. Miller is a solid #2 fantasy back who could break into the top 15. Still don’t believe me? Check out his highlights from the U. He has not been given the chance to be the guy in the NFL…yet!
Pyro alerted you to a waiver wire darling last year named Charles Clay. Targeted 103 times, he pulled down 69 of those for 759 yards and 6 TDs. He ran the ball 7 times last year and scored once, a throw back to his college days at Tulsa. This is something he will be doing more of this year. Lazor likes to move guys around, and Clay should see some looks from the backfield around the goal line from time to time. While he has command of the #1 tight end spot on the team, if there is no improvement on the O-line, he could be called on for blocking duty. Last year, Clay was one of only seven tight ends who were targeted at least 100 times in the passing game. You could find value in picking Clay this year. If you do not get a top tier TE, I have no problem playing the waiting game, thus creating a stable of backs and receivers. As of late July, Clay is going in the 12th round for 12 team leagues. In the last 5 games last year, he was 3rd in targets (35), 3rd in receptions (23). He finished as the 7th ranked fantasy TE last year.