Miami will play host to the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday. With fantasy league playoffs under way this week, Dolphins players are not very good fantasy options against the Cardinals tough defense.
The Miami Dolphins failed to win their seventh straight last week after they were dismantled by the Baltimore Ravens. The 38-6 thrashing was the Dolphins worst loss of the season. Miami’s offense was held in check most of the afternoon, and the few drives that gave the impression that they were gaining momentum, typically ended with a turnover. The Dolphins now have their backs against the wall when it comes to making the playoffs. Unfortunately, it won’t get any easier with the visiting Arizona Cardinals coming in to town.
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With a 5-6-1 record, things have not gone quite as predicted this year for the Cardinals. Once considered Super Bowl contenders, Arizona would be lucky to have a shot at the playoffs at this point. Despite their team disappointment, Arizona is still a very good football team with a strong defense.
A strong majority of fantasy leagues begin their playoffs this week. After a putrid performance against the Ravens, it’s hard to trust any Miami players for fantasy production this week in another unfavorable matchup. With that said, here’s a look at who I suggest is worth a start and who’s better left on the bench in this week’s start/sit.
Despite completing 72% of his passes, Tannehill had one of his worst performances of the season last week that included a season-high three interceptions. We knew it would be a challenge since the Ravens allow the fewest net yards in the league, and rank in the top 5 at creating turnovers. Still, it was not an encouraging sight to see going forward. It does not get much better for Tannehill and the offense this week.
The Cardinals inconsistencies on defense are much to blame for their disappointing record. They have allowed opponents to score 30 or more points four times already this season after allowing just three opponents to do it all of last year. Despite that, Arizona remains a top defense in the league. They are just behind Baltimore in total net yards allowed and are 3rd in passing yards allowed per game. If Miami gets down by a couple of scores they could turn to Tannehill to get them back in it, which is usually a good sign for fantasy owners but I’m not risking my playoff hopes on it.
With 908 yards rushing on the season, Ajayi very well could reach the 1,000-yard mark for the first him in his career this week. The bad news is that Ajayi has not rushed for anything over 79 yards in a game in his last four appearances. He’s also seen a decrease in touches since his three game burst in the middle of the season.
Miami will look to get Ajayi going though on the ground and through the air. Last week, he caught a career-high six receptions. He could have added value, particularly in PPR, if Miami gets him more involved in the passing game. I don’t love this matchup for Ajayi, but there are not a lot of options at running back so unless you have a viable replacement in a more favorable game there’s not much of a choice. If you do have depth at the position, however, I recommend an alternative.
Dolphins receivers will have their hands full on Sunday when they line up opposite of All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson. The goods news though is that it looks as if the Cardinals will be without Tyrann Mathieu for at least one more week according to one Arizona beat writer:
The bad news is that this is a bit of a homecoming for Peterson, who played high school ball in Pompano Beach. Returning to his hometown with family and friends watching him from the stands, Peterson will be extra pumped against the team he grew up rooting for.
Landry had his best game last week since Week 6, with season-highs in receptions and targets. An unfriendly trend seems to be that the better Landry plays, the worse the team does. As Miami’s #1 receiver, Landry will likely be shadowed by Peterson the majority of the game, limiting his fantasy value. Already lacking touchdown upside, Landry is not an ideal play this week.
Parker took a step back from his strong emergence last week, but salvaged it with the Dolphins lone touchdown of the day. As I said previously, I expect Landry to take up most of Peterson’s focus. This could open things up for Parker as the rest of the Cardinals secondary is beatable for the taller receiver. He still makes for a risky play as a #2 receiver against the 11th ranked pass defense. I would prefer Parker in DFS lineups as a contrarian play, but he’s a high upside WR3 in deeper leagues.
Landry – Sit
Parker – Start