The Miami Dolphins offense found a ton of success against a strong Bears defense last week. The Lions defense is nowhere near as good so this could be a good game to target for quality fantasy football production.
Coming off of their wild win in overtime over Chicago last week, the Miami Dolphins will once again be without quarterback Ryan Tannehill as he continues to nurse a shoulder injury. That means that Brock Osweiler will be the starter for the second week in a row with the Detroit Lions coming to town.
Looking at the stat sheet from last week’s game, one would think that Osweiler found a way to pick apart one of the best defenses in the league. That’s not exactly how it happened, however, and he should be nowhere near anyone’s fantasy radar for week 7 or beyond. The matchup against the Lions is an interesting one though because the Lions defense allows a lot of fantasy points across the board, and the Dolphins play better when they are at home. With that said, here’s a look at which players deserve the starting nod in lineups this week.
Osweiler exploded last week in place of injured Ryan Tannehill, but pump the brakes if you’re one that thinks Osweiler is suddenly a viable fantasy option. May I remind you of his career prior to last week’s game. Osweiler did a very good job of managing the game for the Dolphins, despite two interceptions, but his stats were primarily a result of yards after catch from his speedy receivers. Albert Wilson took two short dump-offs to the house that really bloated Osweiler’s stat sheet.
Yes, it came against one of the toughest defenses in the league, and Detroit is nowhere near the level of the Bears. However, they are better on that side of the ball than advertised. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Osweiler has another good game, but he’s not even a fantasy option at this point.
You may have seen something last week from the Dolphins offense that we hadn’t seen in a while – running the football. No, it’s not that Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore have been awful with their rushes, averaging 4.0 and 4.9 yards per carry, respectively. It’s that Adam Gase has been so lopsided in his play-calling thus far to favor the pass. Last Sunday, however, both players totaled 28 rushing attempts, and found a considerable amount of success on the ground.
Gore became the first 100-yard rusher that the Bears have allowed this season. Drake had that awful fumble in overtime that nearly cost the Dolphins the game, but he bounced back with 22 total yards on the next possession to setup Jason Sanders game-winner.
Hopefully, Gase quickly begins to understand that he needs to implement a strong run game week-to-week. The run defense of the Lions is very weak, and a great spot for Miami to exploit. Coming into this game, Detroit is allowing 145.8 yards rushing per game at 5.3 yards per carry. If the offensive line can play as well as they did last week then the Dolphins could pound them with the run game all day long.
Kenyan Drake – Start (PPR)
Frank Gore – Start (Standard)
I’ve mentioned that it’s a guessing game when it comes to Miami’s receivers as to who is the better fantasy option. Through six games, it’s clearly Albert Wilson with five total touchdowns on the year (one pass), but he’ll be a boom-or-bust option throughout the season. He has averaged 7 targets per game in Miami’s last three games, however, and has seen his ownership go up 23% in Yahoo leagues after last week’s incredible performance. His speed makes him dangerous anytime he touches the ball, and with any open space he possesses the capability to take it the distance. While I can see why he’s been added to a lot of lineups this week, I’m still hesitant to insert him as a starter until I see more on a consistent level.
The rest of Miami’s wide receivers can be an afterthought at this point when it comes to fantasy football. Kenny Stills may remain Miami’s #1 receiver that other teams have to account for, but he’s been fairly quiet on the stat sheet as of late. As I’ve mentioned before, Jakeem Grant is only valuable in leagues with return yards.
Danny Amendola had his best game as a Dolphin with 8 catches for 59 yards. The yards per catch were particularly low, but he could bring some value in PPR leagues if he can continue to see double digit targets every week. Amendola has come up with some big catches this year, and maybe Osweiler will want to lean on the 10-year veteran while he’s the starter. Amendola is a player worth monitoring.
And yeah, that about covers it for the Dolphins wide receivers who are relevant.
Just as we all predicted prior to the start of the season, Nick O’Leary has emerged as Miami’s lead tight end. So what if he wasn’t on the team three weeks ago? Watching O’Leary last week, and what we saw out of him in Buffalo, it’s puzzling as to why the Bills let him go, but then again, it’s puzzling regarding a lot of the decisions that Buffalo makes.
In any case, their loss is Miami’s gain, and O’Leary had a terrific game last week with four catches for 49 yards, and a score. He could mimic that type of game against Detroit, who have allowed three touchdowns to tight ends in the last four games. I’m not comfortable with the idea, however. Maybe O’Leary pushes himself into the fantasy talk, but it’s too early to tell.
In regards to Mike Gesicki, fans should not give up on the rookie. It’s a learning development, and there’s a good chance it will take Gesicki all season and then some to develop into the tight end we wish him to be. Until he does, Miami was lucky to land O’Leary. Both players can remain off your lineups this week.
Miami’s defense had some problems containing Chicago’s offense, allowing the second most points they have given up this season. A lot of that had to do with the fact they were once again without Bobby McCain. Both Torry McTyer and Cordrea Tankersley really struggled covering throughout the game. McCain may be back this week, and the Dolphins could really use him. The Lions have three solid receivers in Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay, and Marvin Jones. It could be a long afternoon if Miami has to ask either McTyer or Tankersley to help cover either of those players.
Despite their issues last week, Miami’s defense still created three turnovers and two sacks. They now have created 14 turnovers on the year with 10 sacks, and they continue to quietly build themselves as a defense that fantasy owners can count on.
Only the Jets defense, however, found success this season against Detroit when they allowed just 11 points, created five turnovers, and two scores. One of those touchdowns was a punt return so it’s possible that Jakeem Grant could get his third return of the season, but otherwise it’s merely a middle of the road matchup for streaming defenses. There are surely worse games to target for a defense, but it shouldn’t be difficult to find a better matchup.