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Fantasy Football Team Previews: Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins will be a much more intriguing team in fantasy football for 2020.
Mike Gesicki is my favourite tight end target in fantasy football this season. (Twitter // @PFF_Fantasy)

2019 summary

Record: 5-11 (4th in AFC East)

2019 Offensive Points-Per-Game: 19.1 (25th)

2019 Total Defense-adjusted Value Over Average: -37.4% (32nd)

Last season didn’t start great for the Miami Dolphins and new head coach Brian Flores. The team went winless through the first eight games of the season, but the ending wasn’t all bad. Over the last five weeks of the season, Miami went 3-2, earning victories over the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. Ryan Fitzpatrick was serviceable at quarterback, slinging his way to 3,529 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The rushing game was a mess as Fitzpatrick finished the year as the team’s leading rusher, piling up 243 yards on the ground. DeVante Parker (finally) broke out, bringing in 72 balls for 1,202 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He finished as WR13 in PPR leagues for 2019. Mike Gesicki took a step forward in his second season, seeing 89 targets, hauling in 51 receptions for 570 yards and five touchdowns.

Major additions

  • CB, Byron Jones
  • RB, Jordan Howard
  • C, Ted Karras
  • DE, Shaq Lawson
  • DE, Emmanuel Ogbah
  • T, Ereck Flowers
  • MLB, Kyle Van Noy
  • RB, Matt Breida
  • QB, Tua Tagovailoa
  • T, Austin Jackson
  • CB, Noah Igbinoghene
  • G, Robert Hunt
  • DT, Davis Raekwon
  • S, Brandon Jones

Major subtractions

  • CB, Aqib Talib
  • DE, Taco Charlton
  • WR, Albert Wilson
  • WR, Allen Hurns

4 major storylines for 2020

When does Tua Tagovailoa start?

There was much speculation surrounding the Dolphins’ No. 5 overall pick in the draft. Miami went ahead and used it on the player many figured it would be, Tagovailoa. He is the cornerstone of this team and the future of the franchise, but how close is the future?

Tagovailoa is coming off of serious hip surgery, and on a Dolphins team that has a poor offensive line, there shouldn’t be any need to rush him into play. Miami also has a capable stop-gap QB in Fitzpatrick who can play under centre until there’s full confidence in Tagovailoa’s health and skill.

The Dolphins have a Week 11 bye, and I think Week 12 makes a lot of sense for Tagovailoa’s debut. It allows him to learn from a veteran in Fitzpatrick, while also adding some recovery time to his surgery.

How does Miami’s backfield play out?

After an abysmal performance on the ground in 2020, the Dolphins added two veteran running backs in Jordan Howard and Matt Breida. It’s expected that both players factor into the team’s plans on offense, but it seems as though Howard will have a bigger role. Cameron Wolfe of ESPN predicted that Howard will see 50% of the carries, while Breida sees 35%.

This clearly would make Howard the better option to start the season in fantasy. He has a pretty impressive resume as a runner, topping 900 yards in three of his four seasons in the NFL. Additionally, Howard has a career yards-per-carry of 4.4. Howard has never been much of a receiving back, so Breida will likely receive the passing work.

I view Howard as a high-end RB3 in fantasy this season, while Breida is a low-end RB3, high-end RB4.

Is Mike Gesicki the next big thing at tight end in the NFL?

Football fans, meet the new Rob Gronkowski.

This year, the player who will break out at the tight end position in the NFL is Gesicki. The soon to be third-year pro features extreme athleticism, second-round pedigree and a glorious opportunity to produce.

Gesicki possesses 95th percentile speed, 99th percentile burst, 99th percentile agility and 100th percentile catch radius. Simply put, the dude is a nightmare for cornerbacks.

Earlier this offseason, Wolfe from ESPN stated that he expects Gesicki to be used out of the slot in three-wide receiver sets. That seems even more likely now that Wilson and Hurns have opted-out for the 2020 season. The Dolphins also have 176 vacated targets, the fifth-highest total in the NFL. There will be plenty of opportunities for Gesicki this season.

It’s not that tricky, just draft Gesicki.

Can DeVante Parker repeat his breakout 2019 season?

Finally, five years into his career, Parker had the breakout season many had been waiting for.

The breakout took some time, however, as Parker cleared 70 receiving yards just twice through the first 10 weeks of the season. From Week 11 through 17, however, Parker had six such performances, including four games of 100+ receiving yards. His strong finish should carry over into 2020.

As mentioned earlier, Miami has 176 vacated targets. Parker. the team’s No. 1 WR, should see a decent portion of those, upping his total of 8 targets per game.

Wilson and Hurns sitting out will also help, as the competition for targets in this offense weakens. Outside of Preston Williams and Gesicki, no player will command targets.

Parker is firmly entrenched as a solid WR2 option in fantasy.

Sleeper and Bust

Sleeper: Mike Gesicki

For all the reasons I mentioned earlier, you should be targeting Gesicki as your tight end in fantasy football.

Bust: Matt Breida

Breida won’t see any of the red zone work, so he’s going to have to be extremely efficient in the running and passing game. Although I think he’s a near lock to handle the passing work, I have serious doubts about his ability to carve out a role in the running game. Howard has always been a good runner, and I expect him to handle a large majority of the carries.

Dolphins Players in Rally Towel’s Top-300 3.0 Fantasy Football Rankings

54. WR, DeVante Parker

77. TE, Mike Gesicki

91. RB, Jordan Howard

102. RB, Matt Breida

160. WR, Preston Williams

255. QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick

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