The Miami Dolphins (3-3) continued their losing streak when they allowed the Buffalo Bills to come south to Miami and deliver them their 3rd consecutive loss. This week the Dolphins play another division rival. A team they’re historically likely to lose to. This Sunday they will take on the New England Patriots (5-2) up in New England. Having lost six times in a row to the Patriots (four straight at New England) some Dolphins’ fans and those around the league are fearful that the team still has at least one more game to lose on Sunday. Going into this week in Fantasy they have another must win on their schedule and players must shine to make it happen.
Last week against the Bills running back, Lamar Miller reminded his Fantasy skeptics why he’s still a factor. Despite the 21-23 loss he finished the game with 9 carries for 43 rushing yards (4.8 average) and had a nice run for 30 yards. Last week’s carries were shared between he and fellow back, Daniel Thomas. Nonetheless, his yards/carry average has him ranked 12th in the league.
Miller’s success at running through middle should be another route of choice considering the Patriots are without defensive beast, Vince Wilfork. Currently the Patriots are ranked 31st against the run. If you need a 2nd or 3rd option, put Miller in this week. If the Dolphins can get deep in the red zone, look for him to get his 3rd rushing touchdown since week 4, when he takes the ball through the middle.
Finally wide receiver Mike Wallace is showing some consistency. It only took seven weeks. Against the Bills he had five catches for 76 yards and even recorded 12-yards on a single rush. Furthermore, he caught a much needed deep ball from quarterback, Ryan Tannehill for 46-yards. Fantasy owners are hoping to see more of these throws as the season continues.
On Sunday, Wallace could fair just as well. In the Patriots match up against the New York Jets last week they allowed receivers to complete 13 catches for 194 yards, a 14.9 pass average. What worked in their favor was the missing in action Patriots’ cornerback, Aqib Talib. His status for Sunday is questionable, but the feeling is that he will likely play. It should be noted that Wallace plays well against the Patriots (recording 2 touchdowns, 206 yards in 2 games). Considering Talib could hit the field, Wallace is likely a 2nd or 3rd option this week. Start him if necessary.
Fellow wide receiver, Brian Hartline’s performance seems to be suffering with the resurgence of Wallace. In the game against the Bills he had six catches for 69-yards (11.5 average down from 15 yards the week prior). Look for Hartline to have at least four catches on Sunday and maybe a touchdown. But, going up against a pass defense ranked 8th in yards/pass attempt (6.3 yards) will give Hartline some trouble on his average. Hartline should be a third option at receiver and will likely sit in most leagues this week, depending on the bye and waiver situation.
This week can “The Brotherhood” take advantage of their healthy defense? The latest injury report had linebacker, Dannell Ellerbe listed as probable for Sunday. Great news! The defense will welcome any help that can challenge quarterback Tom Brady and his diverse receiving core. Tight end Rob Gronkowski was just getting warmed up during his first game of the season when he faced off against the Jets recording 8 receptions and 114 yards. He could be trouble this week.
Similar to Tannehill, Brady was battling a shoulder injury this week in practice. If Brady’s shoulder is still an issue come Sunday he may rely on shorter passing routes and the running game. The Dolphins are 15th at stopping the run and 25th in pass defense. The fact that Brady’s completion percentage is ranked the 6th worst in the league is a downside for the Patriots as well. Limiting the Patriots to the run would be the favorable edge for the Fins.
If the defense can limit the passing game too they can truly help the Dolphins get the win. Last week they finished the game with one interception and four sacks, a sign that this defense is getting healthy and improving. Considering the Patriots’ weakness on offense the defense is sure to benefit. Give them the start.
Going into Sunday, Coach Joe Philbin had some pretty serious words for this team.
“We are going to have to play best game of the year and we are going to have to play well in all three phases of the game from start to finish against these guys. “
Catch the Miami Dolphins playing the New England Patriots away at Gillette Stadium at 1pm EST on CBS.
Stay tuned next week for Week Nine’s Fantasy Football preview!
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