|By Shawn Childs, Monday, August 19, 2019|
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The Dolphins tried to become more balanced on offense last year, which led to a 45/55 percent split in run and pass plays compared to 38/62 in 2017.
Miami gained an impressive 4.7 yards per rush last year, but they only scored seven rushing TDs with 12 rushes over 20 yards. The Dolphins averaged only 23.2 runs per game due to losing many games.
Last year they finished with the third lowest number of passing attempts (455) in the league with reasonable passing TDs (26) while completing 64.2 percent of their passes.
QB Josh Rosen - Bust (overvalued)
Update 09/29/19There was much excitement in Rosen’s game in his first start (200/0). His completion rate (43.3) in 2019 is weak while gaining only 5.0 yards per pass attempt. He did suffer hand issue last week, which may lead to him missing this week’s game. The Chargers struggled more than expected vs. QBs (262 passing yards per game with 8.6 yards per pass attempt). Their defense gave up seven passing TDs with the Texans having the most success (351/3). Real tough to get excited here.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick - Low Potential
Update 12/29/19The gunslinger mentality of Fitzpatrick helps his upside in favorable games. He played well in three of his previous four games at home (288/3, 365/3, and 419/4) vs. NYJ, PHI, and CIN. Over his last six games on the road, Fitzpatrick tossed seven TDs with seven Ints with a disaster showing as well in Week 2 (89/0 with three Ints) vs. the Patriots. New England continued to have the top QB defense (13.81 FPPG) with failure in two games (30.25 and 31.30 Fantasy points). The DeVante Parker ride ends here, which removes the TD upside of Fitzpatrick.
RB Patrick Laird - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 12/21/19Last week Laird gained only 54 yards with two catches on 14 touches while receiving only 48 percent of the Dolphins’ RB snaps. His drop in playing time late allowed Miami to get a look at Myles Gaskins, who played well (72 combined yards with two catches on 11 touches). Over the last two games on the road, Laird gained 140 combined yards with six catches and no TDs. On the year, he gains only 3.0 yards per rush with better success in the passing game (18/155). The Bengals slid back to 27th in RB defense (27.77 FPPG) after allowing the Patriots’ RBs to score 40.40 Fantasy points. Three other teams scored over 30.0 Fantasy points against Cinci (55.80, 50.45, and 36.20), which came over the first five weeks of the season. I can’t trust him as Gaskins may steal the bulk of chances in Week 16.
RB Kenyan Drake - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 10/19/19Drake came a TD short of being a value in Week 6 when he gained 70 yards with six catches on 16 touches against the Redskins. Over his previous three games, Miami gave him 14.3 touches per game, with about 60 percent of the RB playing time. The Bills are 12th in RB defense with no team scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. The Dolphins can’t score, and I expect more regression on the road.
RB Kalen Ballage - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Fantasy owners came away with a bad feeling about Drake in 2018. Miami gave too many carries to Frank Gore, which led to many low output games by Kenyan. In the end, he still ranked 14th in RB scoring in PPR leagues despite emptiness in Week 3 (3.00), Week 4 (2.60), Week 10 (5.80), and Week 15 (6,40) in Fantasy points. Drake offset some of his down showings by scoring 20+ Fantasy points in three games (24.50, 23.50, and 26.60) with each game coming in the road. Kenyan ended the year with 1,012 combined yards on 173 touches with nine TDs and 53 catches. He gained 4.5 yards per rush and 9.0 per catch, which shows his explosiveness. Despite success in catches, Drake struggled in pass protection leading to too many sacks (6) over the last nine games of the season. I like what he brings to the table when the ball is in his hands, but Kenyan has to want to be an every-down back to reach and impact level. I expect him to split touches again this year, which will help keep him fresh. If he figures out the mental game in pass protection while adding some fight in the trenches, Fantasy owners would be thrilled with his upside. I'll raise his bar to 225 touches this year (ten runs per game with about four catches per week), which will lead to 1,200 combined yards with eight to ten TDs.
RB Myles Gaskin - Dynasty Only
Based on experience running the ball, a Fantasy power won't find a player in this year's draft with a better resume. Over four seasons at Washington a starter, Gaskin average over 250 touches per year leading 5,888 combined yards with 62 TDs and 65 catches. Myles checked in at 5'9' and 205 lbs. at this seasons NFL combine. His strength (24 reps in the bench press) graded will while coming up a bit short in speed (4.58 40 yards dash) and quickness compared to the top RBs in the NFL. Gaskin sees the field well with the first step to get through tight holes. His short legs don't match his frame, but his quick steps help him weave his way through traffic. Myles didn't get many chances in the passing game while showing pass-catching hands. More than a change of pace back. I would rather own him as a handcuff to Kenyan Drake than Kalen Ballage. Gaskin needs to prove himself in pass protection.
RB Mark Walton - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 11/01/19After trading Kenyan Drake before last week’s game, Walton received 87 percent of the RB snaps against Pittsburgh. He gained only 54 combined yards with three catches on 14 touches. Miami gave him 29 touches over the past two games. The Jets are 27th in the league defending RBs (27.84 FPPG), but they allow only 3.3 yards per rush. On the positive side, RBs do have eight rushing TDs with some success in the passing game (50/404) vs. New York. His matchup and projections give him a chance, but Miami may use Kalen Ballage as the goal line back. Tough getting excited about a Miami player, but his opportunity with a TD added to his salary does give him a fighter’s chance.
WR DeVante Parker - Deep-league Only
Update 12/29/19The Bengals held Parker to five catches last week for 111 yards with a TD in Week 16, but the damage could have much higher if he caught more of his 15 targets. Over his previous six games, Parker caught 31 passes for 596 yards and five TDs on 55 targets, pushing him to 13th in WR scoring (14.97 FPPG). He’s already set career highs in catches (64), receiving yards (1065), TDs (9), and targets (117). In Week 2, the Patriots held him to no catches on seven targets. New England continues to have the best WR defense (24.42 FPPG – 149/1761/3 on 286 targets), with one WR gaining over 100 yards (Golden Tate – 6/102/1). A date with Stephon Gilmore points to a huge step back in production. Easy avoid when adding in his higher salary.
WR Kenny Stills - Bye Week Fill-in
After playing well in 2017 (58/847/6), Stills never developing into a playable WR3 last year. His season started with a great game (4/106/2), but Kenny failed to catch more than passes in 13 of his next 14 games. His only other game of value on the year came in Week 13 (8/135/1). Stills gained fewer than 30 yards receiving in nine games. His catch rate (57.8) fell in line with his career resume (58.1). Over the last three seasons with Miami, Kenny scored 21 TDs in 47 games while averaging 15.5 yards per catch. There's more here than his production last year if Miami can show improvement in the passing game. More of a WR5 for me in PPR leagues while being priced higher than I'm willing to pay. Upside of 60/900/6 if the breaks right for him.
WR Albert Wilson - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
The training camp noise last season painted Wilson as possible value WR in 2018. Over his first four years in the NFL with the Chiefs, he caught 124 passes for 1,544 yards and eight TDs on 198 targets. His game did show growth in 2017 (42/554/3). Albert started last season as rotational receiver over the first three games (8/142/2 on 11 targets) before earning three starts over the next four games. He flashed in the sixth game (6/155/2) setting up a waiver wire frenzy. Unfortunately, a hip injury ended his season the following week. Wilson didn't need surgery, but his recovery to full strength will be slow. His stats (26/391/4) over seven games last year project over an entire season would come to 59 catches for 893 yards and nine TDs. Keep an open mind plus follow his injury progress before making your draft day evaluation.
TE Mike Gesicki - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Update 12/21/19Gesicki improved over the last seven weeks (26/301/2 on 45 targets) highlighted by two games (6/95 and 5/79/1). Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled to get him the ball in Week 14 (1/6 on five targets), with no impact as well in Week 15 (4/47 on eight targets). Over his uptick in play over seven games, Gesicki averaged 6.4 targets with a 57.8 percent catch rate. The Bengals are 8th in the NFL defending TEs (10.66 FPPG – 57/683/4 on 79 targets) with struggles in two games (9/121 and 12/151/2) vs. the Ravens. The Dolphins have a weakness at WR2, which gives Gesicki upside if he’s getting open. Only a flier.
PK Jason Sanders - Bye Week Fill-in
Miami only scored 38 TDs last year while creating 20 field goal tries. Sanders made the most of his limited opportunities by making 90 percent of his chances. He went 7-for-9 from 40 to 49 yards and 1-for-1 over 50 yards. Jason missed one of his 36 extra point tries. His success would draw attention if he played for a higher scoring team. Only a waiver wire option with a chance to be playable in a couple of games at home.
Miami - Deep-league Only
Miami finished 131th in rushing yards (2,325) in 2018 with ball carriers gaining 4.8 yards per rush. They allowed 17 rushing TDs with rushers gaining over 20 yards on 20 runs. The Dolphins ranked 21st in passing yards allowed (3,932) with QBs tossing 31 TDs with 21 Ints. Their defense record only 31 sacks.
CB Xavien Howard continues to improve as a player. Last year he set a career high in interceptions (7) with 12 defended passes and 35 tackles. He held WRs to a low catch rate while giving up the occasional long play and some TDs. S Minkah Fitzpatrick played well in his rookie season. He added value in run support while minimizing the damage in TDs. Fitzpatrick finished with 80 tackles, two Ints, nine defended passes, and one TD. CB Cordrea Tankersley played well in his first year in the NFL in 2017 (seven defended passes and 31 tackles), but he missed most of last season with a knee injury (torn ACL).
S Reshad Jones regressed in his last two seasons after ranking highly at his position for three of the previous five years. His value in coverage is sliding while also losing some of his past success as a run defender. S T.J. Fitzpatrick played the best ball of his career last year thanks to improvement defending the run. He will miss many tackles plus allow a high catch rate.
LB Raekwon McMillan grades well as a run defender, but he didn't record a sack in his first season of action. Offenses picked on him in coverage where McMillian allowed a high catch rate and too many TDs. LB Kiko Alonso led Dolphins' defense in snaps helping him 125 tackles, three Ints, and six defended passes. Even with plenty of stats, Alonso struggled in coverage with almost no value rushing the QB. LB Jerome Baker handled himself well in his first year in the league. He finished with 79 tackles, three sacks, one Int, three defended passes, and one TD. Baker played better than expected against the run with some risk in coverage.
DE Charles Harris is former first-round pick (2017). Over his two seasons in the NFL, Harris has three sacks and 38 tackles in limited snaps. His game needs to make a huge step forward with Miami lacking a pass rusher on the outside of their defensive line. The Dolphins don't have another viable option to producer sacks on the other side of the field. DT Christian Wilkins will hopefully slow down the run game after getting drafted in the first round in 2019. He comes into the league with a disrupter style, but he can struggle with beefy offensive linemen.
With a minimal pass rush and question success defending the run at the first level of the defense, Miami is going to have failure risk in games when they fall behind early. The Dolphins have talent at LB and in the secondary. Overall, I don't expect this defense to be an attractive Fantasy option.
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