After last weekend’s rollercoaster ride in Philadelphia, it is anyone’s guess which Miami Dolphins team will turn up to SunLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Dolphins have at least been entertaining under interim head coach Dan Campbell, if not consistent. Two blowouts of the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans were followed by crippling losses to division rivals New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills, and now a one-point win, that was effectively sealed by a Reshad Jones interception in the end zone, has presented Miami with the chance to get back to .500 against Dallas.
We are edging closer to the business end of the season in fantasy land, where playoff fates will be decided. The Cowboys’ visit to South Florida presents complimentary matchups on both sides of the ball and, after losing seven games in a row since quarterback Tony Romo suffered a broken left clavicle, Jason Garrett’s side will be hoping to salvage their season at SunLife. Romo is back this weekend and the Dolphins have a fight on their hands to stretch Dallas’ losing streak to eight games.
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Jarvis Landry – Wide Receiver
With other big names like Kenny Stills, Jordan Cameron and first-round draft pick DeVante Parker not performing, the Dolphins passing game essentially starts and ends with Landry and Rishard Matthews. The former has been targeted 87 times this season by Ryan Tannehill, 30 more times than any other Miami receiver.
Landry is currently averaging 10.90 fantasy points per game, with one breakout game against the Texans in which he racked up 20.80 points. The Cowboys defense has been solid enough since Romo’s injury, it is the offensive unit that has failed to win games. But the return of Dallas’ franchise quarterback will force Tannehill to lean on Landry in order to keep up with the dangerous Cowboys attack.
Lamar Miller – Running Back
Miller has found the end zone seven times in four games and is sure too again on Sunday against a Dallas D that has allowed 10 rushing touchdowns this season
Miller has been something of fantasy royalty in recent weeks and he has one of the most favourable running back matchups in the league this week. He has found the endzone seven times in four games and is sure too again on Sunday against a Dallas D that has allowed 10 rushing touchdowns this season, the third most in the NFL.
Rookie Jay Ajayi’s style compliments Miller’s and he has provided the perfect one-two punch for the Dolphins running attack. Ajayi is a downhill runner who will collect the hard three or four yards, whereas Miller is an agile and explosive back who can turn a basic run into a 20-yard gain with one cut. Defenses will have to prepare for both of Miami’s ball carriers, a task that is no doubt giving Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli headaches.
Ryan Tannehill – Quarterback
To complete my trio of Dolphins fantasy starters is the unpredictable Tannehill. To sum up his fantasy season so far; he went from scoring 19.58 points in Week 7 to -1.10 points the week after. The Cowboys defense give up over 23 points per game on average and Tannehill could very well succeed that number if he is given the opportunity to by his offensive line.
Mike Pouncey and co will have to contain a talented Dallas pass rush that boasts the likes of Greg Hardy and Tyrone Crawford. It all starts with them, they must give Miller and Ajayi the aid they need to establish the running game and, if successful, Tannehill will reap the benefits. The Dolphins quarterback has to recognise blitzes earlier though and readjust his protection accordingly. Lets just hope they can avoid giving up a safety this Sunday.
Other noticeable starts: Rishard Matthews (Wide Receiver), Jay Ajayi (Running Back)
If this game had taken place last weekend this selection would have been in ‘Start Em’ category. If Lou Anarumo’s defense, which has Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes back from illness, was facing Matt Cassel and not Romo I would fully expect them to have a double-digit fantasy performance. Alas they are not, and Romo enters this game with over 33,000 career passing yards, 245 touchdowns and a career passing completion of 65.3 percent.
With weapons like Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Terrance Williams to throw to, expect Romo and the Cowboys offense to have a big day against a defensive unit that gave up 134 yards on four plays to Eagles tight end Brent Celek last weekend. Per game the Miami D is 31st in the league at stopping the run, 20th in passing yards allowed and 21st in points allowed, none of which bodes well for Sunday.
Other noticeable sits: Jordan Cameron (Tight End)