This week during the Dolphins' bye week, we decided to bring in James Morris, a fantasy football expert and columnist for the Miami Dolphins. James stops by weekly over at the Finsiders.com and provides his expertise on all matters fantasy football. James was kind enough to give us his thoughts on the Dolphins coming from his perpective as a Dolphins columnist and fantasy football guru.
1. At the start of the season, which Dolphins player did you believe would be worthy of drafting on offense?
Lamar Miller. The running game was going to need to get going in order for Ryan Tannehill to get the ball to Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline. Daniel Thomas was in the mix to start the season, but we all know what he can, and can't, do on the field... so I felt confident the job would be Miller's by mid-season at the latest. Miller was someone I saw having RB2 value in fantasy leagues and he currently ranks 29th in NFL.com standard scoring for RBs because of weeks 1 and 5. If he had just put up 50 yards in both games, he'd be solidly in the RB2 rankings right now.
2. As far as fantasy numbers go, which Dolphins player has had the best performance week in week out?
Believe it or not, Charles Clay. Tight End is a boom-or-bust position in fantasy football to start with, so if a guy gets you say 40 yards and no TDs as Clay did in week 3, he is still able to rank #21 for TEs. That may sound bad, but consider that in NFL.com standard scoring formats, just 5 TEs scored in double-digits in week 3, and the difference between the #13 guy (Greg Olson) and the #21 guy (Clay) was a mere 1.40 fantasy points. Clay currently ranks 7th on NFL.com for TEs after going undrafted in virtually ALL fantasy leagues.
3. What is the ownership percentage average on most sites: ESPN, Yahoo, CBS, etc, of the Miami Dolphins defense?
On NFL.com it is 6.1 percent; ESPN is 15.4 percent; Yahoo is 11 percent; I don't play CBS, so I don't know. On NFL.com they are currently ranked #22 (the week 4 game against the Saints hurt them as they put up 0.00 fantasy points), which is still better than the Packers (68.5 percent owned), Rams (34.3 percent owned), and Texans (88.9 percent owned).
4. In terms of production running the ball, what do the projections say about Reggie Bush versus Lamar Miller for the season?
As of right now, their yardage difference is 298-211, Bush-Miller. I think Bush is going to pull further ahead if the Dolphins don't get Miller more carries as his season high is 14 (average is 10). Bush on the other hand carries the ball 15.25 time per-game. Strictly RUNNING the ball is not Bush's main asset to an NFL (or fantasy) team though. He is a pass-catching back that comes out of the backfield and adds another dimension to the game. If you are asking if the Dolphins made a mistake by letting him go... I say no. Bush costs you about $4 million a year plus a $4 million signing bonus; Miller will make $480,000 this year. That extra salary allowed the Dolphins to bring in Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe, Brandon Gibson, Brent Grimes, and Philip Wheeler.
5. Do you believe Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline will meet or exceed their numbers from last year? If so, why?
Wallace and Hartline are on pace to basically match their 2012 numbers in yardage, but Wallace has just 1 TD this year and had 8 last year. Hartline on the other hand had 1 TD last year and has already reeled in 2 this year. Here's the thing with Wallace... he is a deep threat and not a go-to guy in the passing game when you need to move the chains. He's a big play receiver, whereas Hartline is a poor man's Wes Welker. And that's not an insult... I'd take a poor man's Welker if I have a young QB that I need to develop because Hartline IS a go-to guy that Tannehill can trust to catch the ball when it is thrown his way. Too many young QBs in the NFL have one good receiver on the outside and nobody that can move the chains, which in turn forces them to try and force the ball into tight windows or down the field more times than they should. That then gets them into a bad habit of poor decisions when throwing the ball, and we all know bad habits are hard to break.
I think once Wallace gets into a groove with Tannehill and the offense in general, he will put up the numbers Dolphins fans want. Hartline is already doing exactly what the team needs him to do, and he will be just fine as well. Regardless what the nation media want to say about Wallace his fit within the Dolphins offense, his presence will help Tannehill develop in a way that Hartline alone wouldn't have allowed him to do... throwing the deep ball and making big plays.
A big thank you to James for his time and being able to convey the plusses and minuses of the Dolphins 3-2 team.