Fins Fantasy: Which Dolphins’ Players Should You Start Against the Patriots?
Well, Dolphins fans, it’s been just two games into his tenure, but you’re already pronouncing Dan “The Hammer” Campbell as the best thing to happen to Miami since the Heat won two championships with Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBenedict James. Make no mistake, I think he’s great too. The atmosphere surrounding Miami has instantly become that of toughness, effort, and will. Back-to-back absolute eviscerations of the opposition, regardless of how terrible the teams, have the Dolphins looking like a threat in the AFC Wild Card race. The question is, can Dan “Liam Neeson’s Liam Neeson” Campbell keep his revitalized Dolphins team rolling against the undefeated Patriots? That definitely remains to be seen, as the Patriots are the AFC’s, and perhaps the NFL’s, best team. If he can keep his talent-rich team highly motivated, even if they have to fight tooth and nail or get out of a hole early, it’s certainly possible.
Dolphins’ Key Fantasy Matchups:
Ryan Tannehill– Ryan Tannehill had nothing less than a spectacular game last week against the hapless Texans. In fact, by NFL passer rating metrics he was perfect (158.3 PR). While the stats (18-19 for 282 yards and 4TDs) were definitely skewed by big plays made after the catch by Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews, and Lamar Miller on 50+ yard touchdowns, he was still fantastic. While this week’s matchup against the Patriots’ defense isn’t a cakewalk like last weeks’ matchup against JJ Watt and 10 Arena League players, it’s still quite favorable. The Patriots’ sole weakness lies in their lack of depth on the defense, especially in the secondary. With the Dolphins’ talent on offense, Tannehill should have little trouble exploiting those small chinks in the Patriots’ armor.
Jarvis “Juice” Landry– Last week I said that Jarvis Landry was a low-risk, low-reward WR3/Flex option in fantasy. While what I said was true for literally every other game this season, Landry absolutely proved me wrong last week. Again, we have to take all performances with a grain of salt, as no defense has been as terrible as the Texans’ has been this season. But, Landry’s two TD performance (one over 50 yards) proves to me that he does have the potential to put up big numbers. If he can build on this performance, and continue to improve on his run after the catch ability, then there is no reason he can’t be a solid fantasy player. He remains a solid WR3/Flex option due to his consistency and volume of targets, just with more upside than I thought a week ago. His favorable matchup against the Pats’ pedestrian secondary makes him a must start in PPR leagues, and a very solid 3rd option in standard scoring leagues.
Lamar Miller– Lamar Miller has played like an All-Pro the last two weeks, and was even the highest scoring RB in the league last week with an 85 yard TD Run and a 54-yard TD catch as well. The big play ability we saw from him last year seems to have returned, as Coach “Run the Damn ball” Campbell continues to implement his ideology of physically dominating the opponent. Campbell’s new ideology and implementation of a new, more effective scheme have undoubtedly assisted Miller’s (and the rest of the team’s) sudden rejuvenation, and I expect that to continue as the year goes on. While I don’t think Miller will have a dominating performance like that again for quite some time, he should be a very solid RB2 with upside for the rest of the year. While this week’s matchup against the Patriots isn’t ideal, they are susceptible runs, especially on the inside. The only concern I have for Miller’s fantasy output this week is the possible scenario of the Patriots going up early to the point where the run game needs to be abandoned to play keep up. While I don’t think this scenario will play out, it is a significant risk whenever you go up against a team with one of the NFL’s premier offenses. Either way, after back-to-back monster performances, I’d role with Miller if I had him in fantasy.
Dolphins’ Defense/ST- The Dolphins’ defense had a 2nd straight excellent performance. Ndamukong Suh absolutely obliterated the Texans’ interior O-line for two sacks. Cameron Wake notched two sacks after last week’s four-sack performance. Rising star safety Reshad Jones scored on a pick-six, and the secondary effectively neutralized one of the league’s premier wide receivers in DeAndre Hopkins. This is the top-5 defense that I predicted the Dolphins would have this year, and it looks like at a bare minimum they will definitely be worth starting on a weekly basis. All that being said, you would be [expletive] insane to start them this week. The Patriots have the best offense east of Green Bay, and I would be shocked if they had anything less than a stellar performance at home this week. Keep the Dolphins’ Defense stashed on your roster, but keep them benched this week.
Rishard Matthews- Rishard Matthews has cemented himself as the WR2 on the Dolphins (after 75 yards and a TD last week), and as such has cemented himself as a WR3/Flex in fantasy. He’s a better deep threat than Landry is, has the most TDs on the team (even with somewhat limited snaps), and has the full trust of Ryan Tannehill. His matchup is solid, so if you’ve got him, you should consider giving him a start.
Kenny “At Least Jacob Believes In Me” Stills- After last week’s 0 point performance, I can’t call Stills anything but a sleeper pick on a given week. He received no targets, likely due to his back injury and the nature of the blowout. But, if you are absolutely starved for receiver talent, maybe give him a start in the hope that Tannehill needs to throw it 40+ times to keep pace with Tom Brady and company.
For those of you that read this week’s article by our hack of an around the NFL writer, Christian Hunt, I have a few things to say:
- Christian is the Roger Goodell of fantasy football commissioners, as he doesn’t even know who won the Super Bowl in his league’s inaugural season.
- Christian is just upset that we Gators refer to our game against Vanderbilt as “Our slightly less competitive bye week.”
- Christian claims I steal his jokes, when he literally opened his article with a “Cheap End” joke that I made not three days ago.
- Christian is a mouth-breathing, arrogant, bandwagon Patriots fan, thus his opinion on ALL football matters is about as worthless as a rule book on Tom Brady’s bookshelf.
- Go Dolphins!