This season, the Miami Dolphins are hoping to wash away over a decade’s worth of sub-par production on the offensive side of the ball. They spent an ocean of dollars on weapons for their young Quarterback. Unlike previous seasons, many of you may be actually considering drafting a Dolphin or two. Here’s a look at what we can expect to see come draft day and beyond. Caveat: I only use Yahoo! fantasy sports. I have tried CBS, NFL.com and ESPN in the past several times and they are all terrible.
Let’s begin with the player most important to Miami’s success on the field this season. Ryan Tannehill is currently projecting just outside the top 15 fantasy quarterbacks. This means in many standard 12 team leagues, he won’t be drafted until around the 12th round. Yahoo! currently has him ranked just behind Mike Vick and just ahead of Joe Flacco and Alex Smith. This will likely change before start of the season, but I don’t think by much. I see him as a safe, second quarterback who may not be drafted at all (especially if you are in a ten team league) so don’t waste a high pick on him. As we all know and can see, he has major upside potential and a season of over 3,500 yards passing and 20 TDs is reasonable to expect. Don’t be surprised if he contributes nicely in the running game too. Over 350 rushing yards and 3 – 5 TDs on the ground seem reasonable as well. Depending on whom you draft as a starting Quarterback, grabbing Tannehill in the 12th round or lower is a safe pick.
Next, we’ll look at the hottest fantasy commodity on the Dolphins this year. Mike Wallace is the highest projected fantasy player on the team this season. Yahoo! Has him rated as the 53rd best player over all and the 22nd best WR. They project him to go early in the 6th round just behind Torrey Smith and ahead of Eric Decker and Antonio Brown. So, if you think he’s going to be an answer to all the team’s prayers on offense, you will need to grab him early. I see him as a very strong high end number 2 WR in standard scoring leagues, dropping a little in PPR because, he won’t get over 80 catches. In fact if he gets over 75 I’d be ecstatic. But, 1,100 yards and 8 - 10 TDs seem like numbers he should reach. Depending on strategy, if he’s there when you pick in the late 5th or early 6th round and you need a WR, I’d definitely grab him.
The final player you will need to worry about drafting is Lamar Miller. I love him. You love him. The Dolphins love him. And apparently, Yahoo! loves him too. As the 21st ranked RB and 72nd best overall player they believe he will be middle tier number 2 RB. Not bad for a guy who’s only carried the ball 51 times in the NFL. As part of a few mock drafts I’ve done already, I’ve seen him go as high as the 4th round. He’s currently projected to go in the 8th round, just behind the man he replaced (Reggie Bush) and another unproven commodity, Montee Ball in Denver. Miller is the toughest to project. You can see his talent, and the fit he is in the Dolphin’s system. You don’t know if he can stay healthy, or handle the workload the Dolphins want to give him. I’m extremely biased (obviously) and think he is going to be able to stand up and not only get 15 – 20 plus touches a week, but handle the load well and produce. I could see 1,200 rushing yards with 10 total TDs for him on the season and 30 – 40 catches for an additional 300 yards in the Receiving game. If that happens he is an excellent #2 RB for any fantasy team. I think picking him in 5th round is a safe bet if you can get him.
Now, there are a number of sleepers on this roster. With all the new faces, and lack of defined roles, these are guys I think can produce in a pinch if called upon. They shouldn’t be drafted before the waning rounds of your draft if at all.
Dustin Keller is a guy that I like as a 2nd TE. I don’t typically draft a second TE, and Yahoo! apparently thinks Aaron Hernandez is a safer pick than Keller, but don’t let that deter you. I predict Keller grabs 60 – 70 passes this year and is good for 4 – 6 TDs and 700 yards. Back to the Hernandez thing, Yahoo!‘s only major flaw is that they don’t take players out of the system fast enough. I believe Chris Henry is still listed as NA.
I also think Brian Hartline is worth picking up late in the draft. Last season was not a fluke, he can play and Tannehill trusts him. In fact, he may be the only proven commodity on the roster. 70 catches 800 yards and a few more than the 1 TD he had last season should be expected in 2013. You could do worse than him with a WR on your bench.
Given the right circumstances, Armon Binns, Brandon Gibson, Daniel Thomas or Mike Gillislee could become useful. But none of them merit drafting baring injury at this point.
I will say this, unlike many years past, there are actually some Dolphins that I would feel comfortable having on my roster this season in the right spots on draft day. I hope the added fantasy value translates into more W’s this year. I think a better offense automatically gives us more wins, but it’s hard to predict since it’s been so long since we’ve seen the Dolphins offense perform in the top half of the league. What do you think this season's revamped offense will have to offer fantasy players?