One of my favorite parts about the NFL season is building my own “dream teams” in fantasy football. I join as many leagues as I can, and if you’re like me, it is hard not to load my teams with familiar Dolphin faces. Is this strategically the smartest plan? No, but I always draft Dolphin players anyway, hoping for a breakout year from a rookie or diamond in the fantasy football rough. What was once seen as a questionable move in fantasy management, adding Dolphins to your lineup this year may not be too bad of an idea. Let’s look at Miami’s options at each of the fantasy positions.
Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill. Most mock drafts have Tanny going as a middle to lower tier QB. I think Tannehill is going to put up big numbers this year. They will by no means be Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers type numbers, but I would consider Tannehill as a potential starter in fantasy leagues. If not, he will make a darn good backup during your starter’s bye week.
Running Back 1: Lamar Miller. I currently have Lamar Miller as a starter on one of my many fantasy teams. If you read any type of NFL media online, you know how coveted he is and was NFL.com’s “it” boy for some time. While I think we will see more of an airborne attack this year, Miller is an explosive back who hits the hole hard and will have his fair share of long runs. I see Miller fitting nicely into your second running back spot behind your number one back. The best part about Miller is people may be unsure about drafting him and the talented back could fall into your hands in one of the later rounds.
Running Back 2: Daniel Thomas. Thomas is an interesting fantasy option because his role in this Dolphins’ offense is unclear. Rumor has it Thomas may be Miami’s goal-line back. This means he may score some TD’s this year, which would up his fantasy worth. Thomas will by no means have the statistics of Miller. I see Thomas as a bottom tier back in fantasy leagues and is definitely a backup at best.
Wide Receiver 1: Mike Wallace. Wallace is a viable number one option in most fantasy leagues. His big play potential can mean the difference in winning (or losing if on the other team) a fantasy match up. The good thing about having Wallace is he could put up huge numbers one week. The bad thing is that the following week he may put up next to nothing. I say draft him, but pay attention to the opposing defenses facing Wallace each week and be prepared for his highs and lows. Having said that, Wallace is definitely one of Miami’s big fantasy names this year.
Wide Receiver 2: Brian Hartline. Hartline surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career last year. The bad news is he only scored one TD. His lack of scoring bumps him down into a 2nd/3rd option wide receiver. Hopefully having Mike Wallace on the opposite side will help. Hartline should continue his success and have another good year this year. Have faith in #82.
Tight End: Eh, not so much. Dustin Keller was Miami’s only stable fantasy option at TE this year, and his gruesome injury hurt the team’s status both in fantasy and reality. I just don’t see Charles Clay, Dion Sims, or Michael Engew thriving in fantasy leagues this year. That being said, you never know. I hope I am wrong.
Flex Option: Brandon Gibson. Someone has to step up and take Keller’s seam spot in this offense. While fans continue to speculate about trades and has-been free agents, the answer may be within our very own. Brandon Gibson has incredible hands and tremendous upside. Last year with the Rams he totaled 691 yards and 5 TD’s. He is going to rock the slot again this year, I can feel it. I expect him to put up at least the same numbers from last year, if not better. If you’re in a bind come draft time, “flex” your ‘phin and take a chance on Gibson.
Defense/Special Teams: Dolphins D/ST. I can consider this fantasy position to be Miami’s strongest. Miami certainly has a top 10 defense (top 5 in my opinion) and their Special Teams is always fairly consistent. Marcus Thipen will look to continue his success has Miami’s return specialist, and new additions such as CB Brent Grimes and DE/LB Dion Jordan should provide more takeaways. While they are ranked lower in most FF leagues because due to lack of scoring and takeaways in previous seasons, the Dolphins D/ST is an investment worth making.
Kicker: Caleb Sturgis. Rookie Blair Walsh was a fantasy powerhouse last year for the Minnesota Vikings, totaling 141 points (4th best out of kickers). I think Sturgis is primed for a similar rookie campaign. We’ve seen him drill a 58 yard field goal with room to spare in preseason and he made numerous clutch kicks in pressure situations at Florida. Sturgis is a viable starter at the position, and should be available in the final rounds of your draft.
Fantasy football is a blast, and if you have never tried it, you still have time! Whether you are a fantasy shark in big money leagues or just an amateur scout searching for this year’s fantasy stud, fantasy football is a fun way to spend the NFL season. Don’t be afraid to let your inner-fin lose and take a chance on the players above. They may surprise you. Happy drafting and more importantly,