Dolphins Fantasy: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em vs Texans
By Kyle Speirs
Finally, something to cheer about for Miami Dolphins fans. A three-game losing streak snapped, a defensive unit awoken and a running back with a newly developed mojo, all in a day’s work. Interim head coach Dan Campbell made an instant impact in his first game since taking over from Joe Philbin.
The resounding 38-10 win over the Tennessee Titans left Campbell fist-pumping his way out of Nashville. This Sunday presents a different challenge though, as the Phins welcome a Houston Texans team that looks to have finally found its identity. Brian Hoyer has taken control of the quarterback contest with back-to-back stand-out performances.
The Dolphins defense will have to contain a double-headed running monster in the form of Arian Foster and Chris Polk, who together had 32 touches last week. And the secondary, which has been below par this season – minus Brent Grimes and Reshad Jones – will have their hands full with a rising talent in DeAndre Hopkins, who currently leads the league in receiving yards. Hopkins has recorded over 100 yards in his last four games, and will fancy his chances of extending that run against the Dolphins defense.
Rishard Matthews – Wide Receiver
“He’s a beast right now” – Dan Campbell on Rishard Matthews
“He’s a beast right now,” is how Campbell described Matthews’ current form, tweets Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. No Dolphins receiver has more yards, or more touchdowns, than Matthews. Who would have predicted that before the season?
Ryan Tannehill looks Matthews’ way deep down the field and he has six catches over 20 yards, three more than anyone else in the Miami receiving unit. Matthews is currently averaging 15.8 yards a catch, the best amongst Dolphins receivers. The Nevada product is having a break-out year.
He already has 54.30 fantasy points (on NFL.com Fantasy Football) so far this campaign, which is again, you guessed it, the highest for a Phins wide-out. He faces a young and inexperienced Texans secondary on Sunday who struggled to contain the explosive Jaguars receivers last week.
They gave up 331 yards and three touchdowns through the air and rookie cornerback Kevin Johnson had a torrid time covering the likes of Bryan Walters and Allen Robinson, who both had over 80 yards receiving in the game. Matthews is becoming a polished and physical pass-catcher who is hungry for more. I see his importance in the Dolphins offense increasing and fancy him to have another near-100 yard game, capped off with a score.
There is no way I am saying sit this defense again. Last week, my advice would have cost your fantasy team 24 points. Although I will just point out that if you listened to all my tips and started Lamar Miller too, he would have won you 22.80 of those points back. Anyway, the Lou Anarumo’s revitalised defense dominated the Titans on Sunday and finished the game with six sacks, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Those stats cannot be ignored. Anarumo looks to have got the D back to basics, and implemented Campbell’s aggressive and intense mentality into their play. We all know this defense is capable of being one of the best in the league, they just need the adequate leadership.
The Cameron Wake we all know and love was on shown in Tennessee, tearing through the Titans offensive line for four sacks and two forced fumbles in the first half. I fully expect him to keep the bar raised to that same high level this Sunday. Hopkins will likely have a big day for the Texans, but if the defensive front nullifies the Foster/Polk run game as best they can, then it forces Hoyer to throw the ball more. And that is where the playmakers of the secondary, Grimes and Jones, will have the opportunity to continue their resurgence.
Ryan Tannehill – Quarterback
The Dolphins quarterback has been playing the all-too familiar character ‘Mr. Inconsistent’ so far this season. He started positively with a couple of clean, clinical and comprehensive performances in the first two weeks. Since then, his form has plummeted, and Tannehill has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in the last three games.
His performance last week was encouraging and, like the rest of the locker room, he has clearly responded to Campbell’s change of ethos. But, quite frankly, the prospect of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus all rushing Tannehill is enough to bench the Dolphins signal caller. He is still behind a patchy offensive line that has been leaking sacks for about three years, and when Tannehill is rushed, he makes bad decisions. If you can avoid starting number 17, do so.
Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports