Dolphins Fantasy: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em vs Patriots
By Kyle Speirs
After a second emotionally-fuelled performance led to a 44-26 blowout of the Houston Texans, Dan Campbell’s revitalised Miami Dolphins now face a daunting task as they travel to Foxborough, Massachusetts, to face the undefeated New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football.
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While Campbell’s turnaround of the Phins’ season has been inspiring, they will have to step it up a notch if they want to become the first Dolphins team to defeat the Pats in Gillette Stadium in seven years. The reigning Super Bowl champs do not look ready to give up their throne just yet, but this Miami outfit has a chance to ruin Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s dream of a perfect season.
If Campbell keeps his players’ emotion and energy level as high as it has been the last two weeks, anything can happen. It’s a divisional game, it’s Thursday night, it’s a game that was a foregone conclusion before Campbell’s emergence. Now, suddenly, the once down-and-out Dolphins have the opportunity to steer their season away from mediocrity and towards the promise land of the playoffs.
Jarvis Landry – Wide Receiver
The Dolphins have found their guy. The guy that will be their franchise playmaker for years to come. The guy that will be a leader for the offense alongside the likes of Ryan Tannehill and Mike Pouncey. The guy that will never say die and continue to fight for every single yard. That guy is Jarvis Landry. Many suspected Landry was special, but his performance against the Texans solidified it. And he is now being talked about as the best slot receiver in the league.
"“I really don’t have limitations, I want to be the guy that does it all. I’m continuing to be the best, I want to be one of the greatest. You gotta have a mentality that you’re the best, that you’re the number one receiver in the NFL, and that’s my mentality every time I touch the ball” – Jarvis Landry speaking to NFL Network"
He proved that last season when he tip-toed along the sideline and into the endzone against the Chargers, he proved it in the opening game of this season when he returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown, he proved it two weeks ago with a rushing score against the Titans in which he broke through two tackles and he proved it again on Sunday by ducking, juking and speeding past seven Texans defenders for a 50-yard touchdown. Landry is one of most exceptional young talents in the NFL and he is finally getting the national recognition he deserves.
Landry finished Sunday’s game with five receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns, which earned him a season-high 20.80 fantasy points. The depleted Patriots secondary will struggle to cope with an on-fire Landry and the second-year LSU receiver should get into the endzone at least once on Thursday night. How can you not start Landry at the moment?
Lamar Miller – Running Back
Miller is coming off a two touchdown, 236 all purpose yards game in which he scored 40.60 fantasy points. He is back, and Fantasy Football owners everywhere are rejoicing. Under Campbell, Miller is getting seven more carries per game on average, and that number should rise to a season-high against the Patriots.
The New England defensive line is solid on the outside, with Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones starting at defensive end, but the middle of the line can be controlled. The Phins’ offensive line has improved more than any other unit since the new coach arrived, and it will have to continue to do so against the Pats. Establishing the run is the foundation of Campbell’s offensive strategy, and he will stick with it, which is good news for Miller fantasy owners.
His input will be key if the Phins want to end Belichick and Brady’s run of dominance
The fourth-year back could easily go for another 100-yard game and a should score with Campbell’s persistence with the run. His input will be key if the Phins want to end Belichick and Brady’s run of dominance but Miller will have to remain patient for his chance and be ready to blow the game open when the opportunity arises.
Now, I know last week I said that my advice would never be to sit this defense again after their heroics against the Titans, but an offense that boasts the likes of Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman is the exception. The Dolphins D are playing as good as any defensive unit in the league right now, but the Patriots in Foxborough is a mammoth task.
Mandatory Credit: Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports
The Dolphins have allowed more than 20 points in every game against the Patriots since 2006, and while the Phins D has completely shut down and dominated both offenses in the last two games, we must keep in mind that it was the Titans and the Brian Hoyer-led Texans.
The reinvigorated defensive line will have some joy against a young offensive front, and will make Brady’s day as difficult as possible – nobody likes throwing passes with Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh in their face. But, ultimately, Belichick’s offense will do what they always do and find a way to succeed. The real question is, can Tannehill and the Dolphins attack maintain the pace of their divisional rivals.