It’s Week 15, and that means we have just three more iterations of your favorite weekly article here on The Phinsider: Opposing Player Spotlight!
The Miami Dolphins are rolling into this week’s matchup against the New York Giants with a weak 3-10 record, but many fans are hoping that W-L ratio only gets worse in the hopes of securing a top pick in next year’s draft. For that to happen, Miami must fall to a Giants team that is one of the few clubs in the NFL looking even more inept than the Dolphins on both sides of the ball.
That being said, both squads have had a few pleasant surprises on offense this season. For the Dolphins, said surprises have come in the form of undrafted rookie wideout Preston Williams, tight end Mike Gesicki, and number one pass catcher DeVante Parker. New York’s answer to Williams will be the focus of this week’s Spotlight.
Each week of the 2019 season, I am highlighting one player on the team squaring off with the Miami Dolphins that ‘phins fans should be watching out for. This week, that player New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton.
Do you have a player recommendation for next week’s spotlight? Let me know on Twitter @HierJustin.
Fact Check: Darius Slayton
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 194 lbs
With the Giants facing a plethora of injuries on offense during the second half of this season, Slayton has stepped up and performed with aplomb, especially as of late. Before Week 10, Slayton had recorded more than three receptions in just one game. Since Week 10, the rookie phenom has amassed 25 catches, 386 receiving yards, and four scores.
He’s showed a solid connection both with rookie Daniel Jones and aging veteran Eli Manning and has proven to be a dangerous weapon in all areas of the field. Slayton’s mark of 659 receiving yards on the season is currently fourth among NFL rookies behind only D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown, and Terry McLaurin, while his seven receiving touchdowns leads all first-year players.
With proven veterans Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate both on the field last week, Slayton remained heavily involved in New York’s offense (81% snap count) and tore apart the Eagles secondary to the tune of 154 yards and two scores. Miami’s cornerbacks should be on notice regarding the explosive rookie.
As the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson noted this week, Miami’s secondary is essentially in shambles following injuries to a bevy of defensive backs. Xavien Howard, Bobby McCain, Reshad Jones, Ryan Lewis, and Ken Webster are all on injured reserve, leaving just Nik Needham, Jomal Wiltz, and Eric Rowe as defenders in Miami’s secondary with any semblance of experience in head coach Brian Flores’ scheme (and by experience, I mean those players were on the roster at the start of the season).
To add bodies to the defensive backfield, the team lifted Nate Brooks and Linden Stephens from the practice squads of New England and Seattle. Stephens and Brooks have a combined zero games of NFL experience, and both are first-year players. Miami’s secondary will need to overcome lopsided odds to keep Slayton, Shepard, and Tate in check.