The Dolphins are currently on a three-game losing streak, but they have a good opportunity to get back in the win column with the Bucs coming to town. It’s also an intriguing one for fantasy owners.
The Miami Dolphins are trending down after three straight losses, all of which were primetime games. Outscored by a total of 112-45 in those games, it would appear that Miami is losing pace for a possible playoff push. The good news, however, is that no team in the AFC has really taken a grasp of the conference. It could be argued New England as the defending champs, and currently in a tie with Pittsburgh for the conference lead, but few would argue that they’re not beatable, and they are far from the dominant force we expected them to be in the preseason.
As a result, the Dolphins still remain just one game out of the playoffs. This week, they will play host to Tampa Bay, another team that is underachieving after early expectations. The Bucs sit at 3-6, and one of the reasons has been the poor play of their defense. Tampa’s defense ranks at or near the bottom in almost every category. Could the Dolphins offense, who obviously has struggles of their own, take advantage of a weak defense this week? Check out this week’s start/sit suggestions in this favorable matchup.
After a fantastic outing against the Raiders, it was back to reality a bit for Cutler against the Panthers. Cutler completed just 59.5% of his throws for 213 yards. He did throw for two touchdowns, however, his fourth straight game with multiple touchdown passes. The touchdowns are promising, particularly for fantasy football. If this were a week where the top quarterbacks were on a bye, I’d take a chance on Cutler in this matchup. His inconsistencies remain a concern for me, however, and with the fantasy playoffs quickly approaching, he’s not worth the risk in my opinion. While I would definitely consider Cutler in DFS leagues, I’m keeping him on the bench in season-long formats.
Those who picked up Drake after the Jay Ajayi trade have to be pleased with results so far. Much more pleased than any Ajayi owner this season, that’s for sure. Drake only touched the ball nine times against the Panthers, which could be a concern down the stretch, but he delivered in a big way. Drake broke one for a 66-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, showcasing his tremendous speed.
It’s his second consecutive game with a huge run, making the case that he deserves more touches in the offense. We’re not sure if his touches will increase as the season goes on, but he’s producing nonetheless. The Bucs are giving up 110 yards a game on the ground, and giving the 5th most fantasy points to opposing backs. He’s very worthy of a start as an RB2/Flex option, and definitely an option in DFS.
Williams is Miami’s lead back on the depth chart, but that’s not the case in fantasy football. He’s barely averaging 2.0 yards per carry in the last two games, but like Drake, he provides a lot of value in the passing game. Williams took a backseat to Drake on Monday night, and one has to wonder if the primary duties will eventually go to Drake. For now, the Dolphins coaching staff continues to claim that the pair will split carries. I consider Williams a very low-end RB2 this week worthy of a start, but explore all options first.
Landry recorded his fifth touchdown of the season Monday night, tying a career-high. It was the seventh game this season Landry has seen double digit targets his way. While his career as a Dolphin is murky after this season, he’s locked in as a WR1 or 2 in fantasy leagues for the remainder of the season.
Parker hasn’t quite been the player we hoped he would be this season, but he remains a relatively safe play in fantasy leagues. Excluding Week 5 against the Titans where he got hurt, Parker has racked up at least 66 yards in every contest he’s played in. The drawback, however, is that he hasn’t surpassed 100 yards in any of them, and he has just one touchdown on the season. While his ceiling seems capped at times, Parker is still a solid WR2 or 3 at worst, and remains one of Cutler’s favorite targets.
My initial reaction to Parker’s return was that it would severely limit Stills’ fantasy value going forward. That theory proved true against the Raiders when Stills saw just four balls thrown his way, but that was not the case against Carolina. Stills did not find the end zone, but he did finish with 67 yards off of five receptions. The 67 yards were the second highest he’s totaled this season.
Stills will continue to be a boom-or-bust option as Miami’s third option for the rest of the season, but he’s in prime position for a big game against the Bucs pass defense. There’s a good chance that Stills may burn former Dolphin Brent Grimes on a deep pass for a touchdown so badly that even Omar Kelly would have trouble defending Grimes on the play.
Thomas caught his second touchdown pass of the season Monday, and it was the second consecutive game that he has, but a shovel pass was not what the Dolphins had in mind when they traded for him. PhinPhanatic’s own Brian Miller wrote this week about how the Dolphins should cut ties with Thomas right now, and I couldn’t agree more. While the touchdowns in back-to-back games may seem enticing to fantasy owners, Thomas’ lack of blocking skills are likely going to land him on the bench sooner rather than later. I’m rather surprised it hasn’t happened already, but either way Thomas is not a favorable player in fantasy leagues.
After a strong start to the season, Miami’s defense is starting to resemble last year’s team some. The run defense has once again become the team’s weakness. Baltimore’s Alex Collins and Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart racked up 113 yards, and 110 yards, respectively, against Miami. Those are season highs for both players by a wide margin. Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch and Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey each totaled two touchdowns in their meetings against the Dolphins. The Bucs offense has struggled much of the season, but not enough to warrant starting Miami’s defense against them.