It’s pretty clear that in the last two weeks, the (7-6) Miami Dolphins have just one thing on their mind, the playoffs. Despite winning last week, the Dolphins have yet to secure a spot and at the moment they’re only chance is at the Wild Card. If they can win out the season New England Patriots (today) and then the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets to follow, they could get see some play off light.
Today’s game in Miami is an important one for the Patriots. A win guarantees them hats and shirts, the division crown and an awkward moment for Dolphin nation to have an outside team celebrate such an accolade on their turf. Defensive player and former Patriot, Danelle Ellerbe wants fans in attendance to do their best to be loud and get the name of “No Life Stadium” eradicated. With that being said, players need to play well to garner that intensity. This week in Fantasy Football let’s see which players will make the start.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is doing a lot well. For starters, he’s done a great job spreading the ball around. Each week there’s a new flavor of the week. Last week it was wide receiver Charles Clay. The week before it was Brian Hartline and before that Mike Wallace. However, many of these receivers still remain factors, even if they don’t finish on top for the day amongst their receiving core.
Tannehill has also been pretty active on the run. When needed he takes off and picks up fairly decent yardage. Take a look at last week. On 3 attempts he ran for 56-yards, 18.7- yard average. In the past three weeks he’s picked up some decent yardage also (Week 13 -22, Week 12 – 36 and Week 11 -21). For the season he has 220 yards on the ground. Along with his legs and ability to find the receiver down the field, he’s been quite the threat and Fantasy Owners are guaranteed decent points. This week against the Patriots, give Tannehill the start as any option two quarterback. The Patriots’ defense is ranked 24th overall (allowing 372.3 yards/game).
Running back Lamar Miller suffered a concussion last week, but is expected to still start. However, Millers play in recent weeks has been just okay. The play of his fellow back, Daniel Thomas is one of the reasons why. This role in Miami doesn’t look to be set for just one player, but for whoever is up for the challenge and runs well when given the chance. As a result Miller should be an option three running back at best. League owners won’t be running to start him. However, with the Patriots coming to town Miller could have a decent game when he faces the 31st ranked run defense. With defensive lineman Vince Wilfork (gone with a season ending injury) backs have ran very well averaging 135.8 yards on the ground against this struggling unit.
Furthermore, running back Daniel Thomas will be a great factor today. After returning last week from an ankle injury that was rumored to be season ending, Thomas had an impressive game running for 105 yards and recording his 4th touchdown of the season. Thomas has some grit, returning and playing as he did. The explosiveness he showed will fare well for him today. Start him and let him be at least a 2nd option.
Dolphins’ wide receiver, Brian Hartline was back to his mediocre numbers last week, but with most of Hartline’s games he’s a crucial 3rd down receiver. Tannehill can depend on him for those options. However, realizing that Hartline isn’t guaranteed any giving week to impress any league owner starting him is never a safe bet.
Today he and fellow receivers will face a 16th ranked pass defense that’s been allowing 236.5 yards a game. Last week the Patriots’ pass defense allow Cleveland Brown quarterback, Jason Campbell and his receiving core a field day in the air (391 yard). Nonetheless, knowing Hartline he’s a 3rd option at best, that’s if you give him the start.
Wide receiver Mike Wallace had a bad week when he faced his old team, the Pittsburg Steelers last Sunday. Blame it on his first game back in Pittsburg since he left them for the Dolphins. Or it’s also possible he just had a bad game, but considering his numbers in recent week’s this had to be a fluke. If Wallace can get deep like he’s been doing in the last half of this season, owners will be glad they started him.
Honestly, Wallace has no reason to not play well. Dolphins are home, the Patriots’ pass defense isn’t playing to par and the Dolphins need a win. Have him start and put him as your 2nd option or 1st if necessary.
As for the defense, how can you not like their energy? To watch the spark of defensive players like Olivier Vernon, Brent Grimes and Cameron Wake and others play, one can’t help but to be excited. Also, with Ellerbe challenging Phin nation to get loud, “The Brotherhood” is ready to go.
Despite being ranked 23rd at stopping the run, the Dolphins’ defense still finds a way to make plays. Last week in Pittsburg they kept the Steelers to 84-yards on the ground. The Brotherhood sacked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger three times.
When they face the Patriots at home they’re sure to make some crucial plays and get the crowd in it. Give them the start.
Stay tuned next week for Week 16’s Fantasy Football preview!
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