On Sunday the Miami Dolphins(3-2) will play their first division game of the season when the Buffalo Bills (2-4) come to Miami. Following their week 6 bye the Dolphins are well rested and hopefully prepared for this must win game against the Bills. 11-15 at home, 29th in rushing and second most in the league in sacks allowed, something has to change fast. At least they have the series home record in their favor at 32-16-1. This week in Fantasy Football, players must perform or risk being benched if they haven’t been already.
In previous weeks it’s been the wide receivers who start out the previews. This week the Dolphins’ running backs have a lot of pressure on their shoulders to perform. More specifically second year back, Lamar Miller. This Sunday Miller has the chance to have an exceptional game. In some ways it’s very likely he will when he faces a 28th ranked run defense.
What this means for Miller is he should have plenty of chances to find holes and make a few break away runs. In week 5 against the New Orleans Saints be broke away for 20-yards and the week prior against the Atlanta Falcons he had an amazing run for 49-yards. His run averages in both of those games were his best of the season (5.6, 7.8).
Last year when Miller faced the Bills he had 10 carries for pretty decent 73-yards. This week he gets the start. As a result he should produce his best points of the season for any team owner.
Pretty sure team owners who have wide receiver Mike Wallace on their squad are on the verge of burning his jersey if he drops one more pass (Just kidding. We’re not in Houston!). It should be noted that in the week five game against the Baltimore Ravens he did have one of his best games of the season and also recorded his longest deep ball of the season (49 yards). Oh boy, have we not been dying for more deep passes and touchdowns too (only one for the season).
Wallace’s consistency is still an issue. His last notable game prior to week five was three weeks prior. Fantasy owners were hoping for him to compete in 2013 with the likes of fellow receivers: Julio Jones of the Falcons and Torrey Smith of the Raven’s (both in the top five). Where’s Wallace? He’s ranked 54.
Playing into his favor this week is that he will face a passing defense that’s allowed the second-most fantasy points to receivers. If Wallace can also limit his drops he’s sure to have his second touchdown of the season and another top performance. Jones is out for the season and Graham is on a bye, so Wallace should compete well against whomever your team faces this week. Start him!
Wide receiver Brian Hartline is still playing consistent, but just okay. His best game of the season was in week one when he went 9-15, 114 yards and a touchdown. It’s possible his numbers would be slightly better if there weren’t a focus of getting the ball to Wallace more often. The Dolphins deny this to be true, but it’s obvious. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill does a nice job spreading the ball, but needs to work on his decision-making. Sometimes it’s just better to go for the dependable option.
Hartline is ranked 33rd (Wallace 54th) at his position for good reason. What doesn’t work in his favor is his career performance against the Bills. It’s poor to say the least (28.1 yards in seven meetings). Then again Hartline’s chemistry with Tannehill is a game-changer. This week he probably won’t bring in the same numbers as week one, but he’s likely to have a good game with the Bills low ranked passing defense. With that being said, if you need a third receiver, consider your options with Hartline in mind.
Similar to Lamer Miller this week is a big test for the defense too. The Dolphins’ defense has been quite disappointing since their offseason promise. Nonetheless when cornerback Brent Grimes sat down with columnist Andy Cohen this week he expressed a certain positivity to his struggling defense.
Against the run this season the Dolphins’ defense has allowed an average of 105.4 yards/game (15th in the league). They’re ability to shut down the passing game is even more disappointing, averaging 287.6 yards/game (27th in the league). Thankfully the defense had a chance to get some extra rest and practice in over the bye week. Even more, injured players are mostly healthy. It’s possible defensive-end Cameron Wake could play, but unlikely that linebacker Dannell Ellerbe will see game action.
The Dolphins’ defense finally has their health on their side this week, but who knows if it will be enough. Bills newbie quarterback Thad Lewis will play just his second game of his career on Sunday. If the defense can exploit this weakness it could help them get their confidence back to perform at their true potential. They could show signs of their offseason former self. This week “The Brotherhood” hits the bench unless your other defense is on a bye.
Stay tuned next week for Week Eight’s Fantasy Football preview!
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