To suggest that the Miami Dolphins have been relatively void of viable Fantasy scoring studs in recent years would be a bit of an understatement. This crew of South Beach castaways has averaged just 31 offensive touchdowns per year over the past five seasons. To put that into perspective, the New England Patriots have averaged 54 TD's on offense over the same time period. Will the new West Coast Offense put a charge into the anemic scoring production in Miami? Let's check in on the Dolphins to see if their fortunes are about to change as we dig for Fantasy Football treasures down in South Beach.
Miami Dolphins Quarterback Fantasy Options
When searching for an explanation to the scoring problems in Miami, one has to start at the quarterback position. Over the past five seasons the Dolphins have had six different players under center – not to mention their experiments with the over-rated Wild Cat format on offense. After three years of spot duty with the Carolina Panthers, QB Matt Moore signed a two-year deal with the Dolphins and took over when QB Chad Henne went down with a shoulder injury in Week 3.
Once Moore got comfortable with the starter's role, he was fairly accurate as he registered a 15-5 pass TD to INT ratio over the last nine games of the season. After "giving up" on football after the 2010 NFL season, former Jacksonville Jaguar QB David Garrard signed a one year contract with Miami back in March. This is nothing more than a stopgap measure as the Dolphins selected Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill with the No. 8 overall pick during the 2012 NFL College Draft as the heir apparent in Miami.
Dolphins QB Analysis: Barring a training camp or preseason injury, Matt Moore will be the starter when the Fins head to Houston to battle the Texans in Week One. If the Dolphins season heads south quickly, look for Tannehill to be starter by seasons end. We suggest that you should just avoid the Miami QB situation all together – especially considering the departure of WR Brandon Marshall to Chicago.
Miami Dolphins Running Back Fantasy Options
Miami flashed back to the early '70's Kiick and Csonka era in South Beach last season – as far as yards gained out of the backfield goes. Rookie RB Daniel Thomas and veteran RB Reggie Bush combined for 2035 total yards from scrimmage in 2011. That's the good news. The bad news comes in the form of their combined eight touchdowns – Yikes!
While yours truly has never been a big fan of Bush, Reggie did manage to play in 15 games for just the second time in his six year NFL career. Being as he's a free agent in 2013, Bush needs a big season, as his next contract (at the age of 28) will probably be the last lucrative one of his career. After suffering through various nicks and bruises in his rookie season, Thomas will attempt to avoid the dreaded sophomore jinx during the second season of his four year contract. This former Kansas State Wildcat racked up 2,850 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns in just 25 NCAA games so he does have some pedigree.
Dolphins RB Analysis: Fourth round 2012 NFL Draft pick (97 OA), and hometown Hurricane, Lamar Miller will also be in the mix here. One hit wonder Steve Slaton needs a huge training camp to stick and stay with the Fins. Even then, he still might end up cut as a salary cap casualty. If there ever was a running back by committee system this is it. I personally don't trust Bush to stay healthy but he could be considered as a possible mid range RB2 if you believe he will play all 16 games. With a solid camp, Thomas will have some sleeper value on Draft Day.
Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver Fantasy Options
Things get kind of murky once you wade into the Miami wide receiver waters. The two-season Brandon Marshall experience is over in the Sunshine State as he has moved up north to join the Chicago Bears. That leaves Brian Hartline and Davone Bess as the two starting wideouts for the Dolphins. Despite playing a full season in 2011, Hartline didn't show much in the way of promise. He is slated to be the Dolphins WR1 and that's a scary proposition based on his five TD catches over three seasons.
Bess didn't show WR1 ability or numbers prior to Marshall landing in Miami and he won't now that he is gone. Like Hartline, Bess has solid receiving skills, he's fast, and he can make plays – just not enough to be a Fantasy super star. Legedu Naanee, Clyde Gates, Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace will battle it out for the W3 and W4 positions in training camp.
Dolphins WR Analysis: As mentioned, Miami is moving to a West Coast Offense under new head coach Joe Philbin. While it's complicated, the WCO is basically a high tempo passing game that is used in harmony with a clock controlling rushing attack. The WCO plays into the playmaking strengths of Bess and Hartline. That said, it also features five eligible receivers, whether they are wideouts, running backs, or tight ends, meaning Miami will be spraying the ball all over the field this season. Though neither of them are a viable Fantasy WR1, if they fall to you in a decent spot, take a chance on Bess first and then Hartline second. We'll be watching to see who wins the W3 role in Miami
Miami Dolphins Tight End Fantasy Options
Despite costing Miami $3.6 million in the final season of his current three-year contract, tight end Anthony Fasano will be back for his fifth season with the Dolphins. Whether due to poor QB play, or a mediocre talent level, Fasano has been a Fantasy enigma throughout his tenure in the NFL. Miami selected Missouri TE Michael Egnew with their second of two third round 2012 NFL draft picks (78 OA). At 6'5" Egnew is expected to have an impact in the red zone at some point during the season as he is a pass receiver first - blocker second type of TE.
Dolphins TE Analysis: Boom or bust on most game days, it's impossible to trust Fasano with your every week starting TE role. Even though he needs a big year in order to garner interest from Miami, or on the free agent market in 2013, Fasano is a bye week replacement at best in Fantasy football. Keep an eye on Egnew in training camp.
Miami Dolphins Fantasy Bottom Line: It's going to be interesting to see how the West Coast Offense works out in Miami and whether any of their starting quarterbacks can handle it. At this point Tannehill appears well equipped for the WCO after using it in college under Aggies head coach Mike Sherman - who is now the Dolphins new offensive coordinator. Matt Moore will have to evolve from being a straight drop back passer to fit the new system. After the QB spot, the Fins have the playmakers to make the WCO click. When all is said and done though, the fantasy treasure dug up on South Beach might not be anything more than "fool's gold" during the 2012 NFL Fantasy Football season.