The Phinsider Mailbag opens up today, with several questions coming in over the past couple of days. We will take a look at fantasy football, position battles, and more today. Let's get straight to the questions.
Dave via email:
Besides Tannehill, who would be Dolphins players to consider in fantasy this year?
This question comes to us after discussing yesterday ESPN's consideration of Dolphins second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill on their potential fantasy football breakout players this year. Tannehill absolutely should be consider as a QB2 player. If you can land one of the top QBs early, then add Tannehill in the mid-rounds, you should be fairly well set.
As for other fantasy players this season, the Dolphins have a few to consider. Mike Wallace will be intriguing, but he will be the focus of opposing defenses, so wide receivers may see Brian Hartline actually score more fantasy points for you. At running back, believe in Lamar Miller, who appears to have the starting position, despite talk that Daniel Thomas, Marcus Thigpen, Mike Gillislee, or Jonas Gray could challenge for the top spot.
Dustin Keller at tight end might be worth a late flyer. People are not going to be looking to draft him, so you can probably get him in late rounds, and he may become Tannehill's go to target.
The safest bet for the Dolphins is probably the Defense/Special Teams. Miami's defense, despite all the changes, should be formidable, especially against the run, once again. The special teams will be able to score points as well. So, I would consider them among the top defenses to select - something a lot of people probably will not consider.
Isaac via email:
Lots of talk on other sites lately that there are not a lot of position battles. Where is the best competition?
This has been a topic of discussion lately by Omar Kelly. He posted an article about it yesterday, and has talked about it all week on Twitter. And, he's probably right - there are not a lot of position battles around the Dolphins right now.
Wide receiver may have some battle, but it's likely going to be for the fifth and sixth position at most. The second string tight end might end up being a battle to watch, as Michael Egnew tries to prove he is not the failure fans seem to think he is, Charles Clay tries to find a position to call his own, rookie Dion Sims tries to prove he is more than a "blocking tight end" that he has been labeled, and Kyle Miller looks to make an impression.
That's about it for the offense. The running back position seems to be set already, with Lamar Miller starting, Daniel Thomas second, and either Mike Gillislee or Marcus Thigpen taking the third slot. What that means for Jonas Gray will be discovered at some point in the preseason. And, the offensive line seems set, with Tyson Clabo, John Jerry, Mike Pouncey, Richie Incognito, and Jonathan Martin taking the starting spots, right to left. The only person who seems to have a true challenger is Jerry, but Lance Louis is still not cleared from his ACL tear last year, so until that happens, the position is Jerry's.
On defense, things seem almost as set. The starting defensive line is likely to be Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon at defensive end, with Randy Starks and Paul Soliai at defensive tackle. Jared Odrick will fight for playing time with the Vernon or Starks, and will likely unseat one of them, but even that's not really a battle - that's the Dolphins trying to find a way to start five players on a four man defensive line.
The wild card on the line will be rookie Dion Jordan, who will not be with the team until later this month, since Oregon is on the quarters system. Jordan could fight for a starting defensive end position. He could also be utilized as a linebacker. Miami will be looking to get their third overall pick onto the field wherever they can.
The three linebackers appear to be Koa Misi and Philip Wheeler on the outside, with Dannell Ellerbe in the middle. Maybe Jordan can challenge Misi, but that's not likely.
The secondary seems just as locked in, with Brent Grimes and Richard Marshall claiming the top spots, while Jimmy Wilson will man the nickel spot for now. The only threat to any of them may be second round pick Jamar Taylor, who had to have sports hernia surgery recently and has only been able to do rehab work through OTAs.
Really the only battle is probably at kicker, between incumbent veteran Dan Carpenter and fifth round draft pick Caleb Strugis. But, I'm not even sure this is a real "battle." Teams do not typically use a draft pick on a kicker only to watch him walk away. This appears to be Sturgis' job unless he simply blows it in the preseason.
This may be a year with very few "battles" for Miami.
Arrowhead Pride via Twitter:
@thephinsider What one game in history epitomizes the life of a Dolphins fan more than any other?— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) June 1, 2013
Great question, and a hard one to answer. The win in Super Bowl VII, to clinch the Perfect Season may be the right answer, but I was not alive to see it. I have a few that come to mind other than that one. The first one I considered was the Fake Spike Game against the New York Jets. That's a classic memory that a lot of Dolphins fans cherish.
The next one to pop into my head was the Leon Lett, 1993 Thanksgiving Day game. With Dan Marino out with a torn Achilles' tendon, the Dolphins went into Texas Stadium in the first ever snow fall within the site, and won, thanks to an ill-advised attempt by Lett to recover a blocked field goal.
My third answer is the Jay Fiedler winning drive against the Oakland Raiders on September 23, 2001 - the first game after September 11. The game was amazing, but add in the atmosphere of unity and patriotism made it all that much better. The picture of Fielder laying in the endzone, fist held up in the air, made the cover of Sports Illustrated, and is still a moment most Dolphins fans can remember.
The fourth one to come to me was the 2007 win. Yeah, the win. The only win. That game was insanity. The Dolphins beat the Ravens in overtime in Week 15....for their first and only win of the season. Greg Camarillo running down the field for the 64-yard touchdown from Cleo Lemon to win that game is something every Dolphins fan knows. The biggest memory, however, may be Jason Taylor celebrating that win like it was a Super Bowl championship. That season was miserable, but the one win was great.
And, see, I didn't even mention the "Sea of Hands" game, the Epic in Miami, the Snowplow Game, the Mud Bowl, or the 82 minute, 40 second NFL Longest Game - against your Chiefs.
So many, many games.
Kade via email:
You said they have $17 million to spend against the salary cap. Should they sign John Abraham or Branden Lloyd (sic)?
Kade is referencing our look at the Dolphins salary cap following the June 1 cuts, which shows the team has $17,456,297 remaining in salary cap space this year - before signing their remaining rookies. With the rookies signings, assuming the Dolphins use their entire rookie pool for the deals, Miami will have $12,623,985 to either use this year, or roll over into next year.
And that roll over is what I think the team will do. There are actually a couple of players (Dan Carpenter, Dimitri Patterson) who could be released to add some more money to the pot, but no matter what, I think the Dolphins are done signing players unless (a) someone surprising gets released this preseason (think Chad Pennington), or (b) the Dolphins have an injury to a key player. Otherwise, roll over as much money as possible this year, to offset some of the big cap numbers the team will have next year.
One caveat to that is, I think some of that money could also be used to re-sign some players for the team this year. The number one target will likely be safety Reshad Jones - but he may also be a target for the franchise tag next year, since the safety franchise number is relatively easy to handle ($6.798 million this season).
Now, it's time to get your questions in. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet us @ThePhinsider and use the hashtag #PhinsiderMail.