If the Miami Dolphins didn’t beat the San Diego Chargers last week, one can only imagine the headlines going into Week 13.
“Drama in Miami Drowning the Dolphins”
“Miami Dolphins, Fish Out of Water for Another Season”
“Martin/Incognito Ripple Affect Causing Dolphins to Take Downward Spiral”
Get the idea? This isn’t to say that the Dolphins are in the clear because they won one game. However, with the AFC filled with teams in the middle of the pack, the Dolphins still have a chance to make the playoffs. Going into today’s game against the Carolina Panthers it will be a tough match up. Cam Newton is playing his best football since joining the league in 2011. The Panthers are on a six game win streak and hopefully this afternoon the Dolphins can snap that.
This week in Fantasy football Brian Hartline, Mike Wallace, Lamar Miller and the Brotherhood defense once again have their work cut out for them. Injuries on the Panthers side of the ball could benefit this Miami unit greatly. Read on for some helpful pointers when considering your starters and sitters for week 13.
It’s pretty clear that running back Lamar Miller is sharing the starting role with fellow back, Daniel Thomas. Last week it was more than evident. Miller completed the day with 17 rush yards and 20 receiving. What should be noted is that when he was giving the ball he was relatively effective. Thomas made a leaping touchdown that raised the faith in coaches and his offense (10 carries, 57 yards, 5.7 average).
When the Panthers come to Miami on Sunday, Miller will face a run defense ranked 3rd. When they faced top ranked running bank Adrian Peterson in Week 6 they held him to 62- yards. Remember that’s Adrian Peterson, not Lamar Miller whose just getting his feet wet in belly of the elite running backs pool. Considering that crucial factor, Miller should be a 3rd rushing option at best.
Dolphins’ wide receiver, Brian Hartline had a bit more pep in his step last week. Calm down folks, it was still nothing to write home about. During this week’s chat with the media, coaches reminded us all that they too are still looking for explosions in the passing game. The average points the Dolphins have scored per game this season has been about, 20.9. This is a direct correlation to the numbers the receivers have put up this season as well.
Now looking directly at the numbers and how Hartline stacks up against the Panthers, Hartline is still the leading receiver in Miami. He’s actually very comparable (Hartline: 48 rec, 599 yards 2 touchdowns) to Steven Smith of the Panthers (46 rec, 512 yards, 3 touchdowns). During a few game previews this week, analyst kept referring to the dynamic relationship of quarterback Cam Newton and Smith. The same could be said for quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Hartline. Though with Miami’s struggles Hartline’s performance hasn’t been enough. Last week he peaked slightly with 5 catches, 65 yards and 13-yard average. For league owners, Hartline similar to Miller should be a 3rd option at receiver. He will have a hard job when he faces the 5th ranked pass defense.
During much of all of this week’s practices, wide receiver Mike Wallace was limited. Going into today’s game it’s likely he will play, but that hamstring will be an issue. He’s been nursing it for a couple weeks or so. Considering the injury and power on the Panthers secondary, Wallace is likely to not fair well. Something has to give, right? The injury or he must best the secondary some how. If Wallace is able to do that he deserves an option to start 3rd on any roster. It’s a gamble. Take a look at your roster and if you truly need a 2nd /3rd option give it to Wallace; otherwise consider sitting him if you don’t trust him with that bothersome hamstring. He is facing a pass defense that hasn’t allowed a touchdown since week 2.
The Brotherhood Dolphins’ defense has done a great job the second half of the season being extremely clutch. However, a few penalties have put a slight damper on that point. Key plays by Brent Grimes, Cameron Wake and Dimitri Patterson have played a key factor in the overall play of the defense. The not much talked about rookie, Dion Jordan is getting much praise from defensive coach, Kevin Coyle and others around the league. NFL Network jumped in on the debate earlier this week.
"(Jordan) has not been getting a ton of repetitions in each game, but the Dolphins do believe he can provide the presence on third down to shake things up for Cam Newton," Darlington said. "We know all about Cameron Wake, but Dion Jordan is the name to watch as they really try to stop Cam Newton. (Newton's) decision-making has been so good, so (the Dolphins) want to make sure they get plenty of pass pressure on him."
The Panthers are ranked 28th in their passing game and the way that the Dolphins’ secondary has managed to get around the receiver for Pick 6’s and game ending interceptions, will be a likely occurrence today. For the defensive line they will face a Panther’s offense that ‘s without three starters: guard Chris Scott, linebacker Chase Blackburn and tight end Ben Hartsock.
The Brotherhood: Give them the start!
Other injuries worth reporting is the inactive defensive end; Charles Johnson who has 8.5 sacks this season. At least, now Tannehill has a less likely chance of growing his number of beatings this season.
Catch the Miami Dolphins playing at home against the Carolina Panthers Sunday at 1pm on FOX.
Stay tuned next week for Week Thirteen’s Fantasy Football preview!
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