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2012 Fantasy outlooks: Miami Dolphins

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Dolphins have the most unexciting team for Fantasy purposes heading into 2012. But that's what happens when an organization bereft of a franchise quarterback changes coaches and philosophy, trades its top receiver and basically becomes an unappealing place to play football.

Just look at their quarterback mess: Incumbent Matt Moore will battle veteran David Garrard and rookie Ryan Tannehill for the starting job. This lovely scenario came to pass after Peyton Manning, Alex Smith and Matt Flynn all declined the chance to play for the Dolphins in the span of a few weeks. And while Tannehill has some built-in advantages like already knowing the playbook as it's the same from his days at Texas A&M, several reports out of Dolphins camp say he's decidedly behind Moore and Garrard for the starter's gig.

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It's a good thing the Dolphins don't have any strong receivers that might struggle because of the suspect quarterback corps. After the team dealt wide receiver Brandon Marshall to Chicago for a pair of third-round draft picks, it was left with the likes of Davone Bess and Brian Hartline as the top receivers. That changed when the Dolphins signed Chad Ochocinco following his release from the Patriots, but there's some serious skepticism that he can regain his form from 2009 after bombing out with the Bengals in 2010 and New England last year. Sadly, he represents Miami's No. 1 threat.

The only believable playmaker on the roster right now is Reggie Bush, who was a very pleasant surprise last season. After years of working in a hybrid role in New Orleans, the Dolphins leaned on Bush as their primary running back and he set personal-bests in carries (216) and rush yards (1,086). He also finished the season healthy, which had been a problem for him in the past. New head coach Joe Philbin is bringing his up-tempo West Coast offense with him from Green Bay, and that could mean more of Bush as a receiver and a little less as a rusher. Either way, he's as safe as they get among the Dolphins for Fantasy because he'll stay involved so long as his knees let him.

The rest of the team is a huge question mark, and that extends to the defense. True, the Dolphins gave pass rusher Cameron Wake a huge contract extension and signed cornerback Richard Marshall. But after years of working in the 3-4 formation they're going back to the 4-3 shift. We've seen defenses in Green Bay and Houston move seamlessly from the 4-3 to the 3-4 but it's been a while since a defense made the switch the other way with success (the Patriots and Broncos both tried last year and had their struggles). Giving up on veteran safety Yeremiah Bell, who signed with the Jets, and spending four of their top five draft picks on the offense also hurts.

Here's the reality: The Dolphins know they're entering a rebuilding year. They hope they have their quarterback of the future in Tannehill and expect the defense to eventually turn itself around under the eye of coordinator Kevin Coyle. It would probably be considered a successful season if they finished 8-8.

Fantasy Value Chart
Player Draft Day value Estimated round
Quarterbacks
Matt Moore ND
David Garrard ND
Ryan Tannehill ND
Running Backs
Reggie Bush 6
Daniel Thomas 12
Lamar Miller ND
Wide Receivers
Chad Ochocinco ND
Davone Bess ND
Brian Hartline ND
Tight Ends
Anthony Fasano ND
Michael Egnew ND
Kickers/Defense
Dan Carpenter 14
Dolphins DST ND
ND - not expected to get drafted

Bust ... Chad Ochocinco, wide receiver
A year ago, a good percentage of Fantasy owners drooled at the prospects of Ochocinco aligning with Tom Brady. Even our 2011 projections were respectable. What ended up happening was the further deterioration of a football player who had more entertaining Tweets than receptions (just 15 in 2011). Even after reportedly taking a pay cut this offseason the Patriots set Ochocinco free, and the Dolphins scooped him up. Given their lack of receiving talent, why not take the shot? Ochocinco has looked good in offseason workouts and claims he's learning the Dolphins playbook after reports surfaced that he didn't know what he was doing in New England. But in our game, stats are king, and Ochocinco has posted good stats once in the last four years -- 2009. If he couldn't bounce back with Brady in New England, what makes you think he'll bounce back with Moore/Garrard/Tannehill in Miami? Don't draft him.

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Bounce-back candidate ... Daniel Thomas, running back
We know Thomas has it in him -- just look at his Week 2 totals from 2011 when he ran for 107 yards on 18 carries, several of them nice gains, against a Texans defense that finished the year ranked fourth against the run. But hamstring issues combined with a lack of regular opportunities crushed Thomas' hopes of a breakout rookie season. Reggie Bush is coming off a big season and the Dolphins drafted Lamar Miller in April, but there's still hope for Thomas this season. He's entering camp healthy and with some added muscle, and the new zone blocking system the Dolphins will use is familiar to him from his days at Kansas State. And if Miami's passing game is going to be as weak as we imagine, they'll have to run a lot and as a result use more than one back. Thomas is a decent late-round pick as a handcuff to Bush, who is no stranger to the injury report.

Keeper-league target ... Michael Egnew, tight end
Promise. Potential. The Dolphins don't have a ton of players who can be described with these words, but Egnew is one of them. Egnew is a 6-foot-5, 250-pound behemoth in the Antonio Gates mold who terrorized defenses with his effective seam routes in college. He caught 50 passes last year and 90 the year before, and while his career receiving average at Mizzou wasn't very impressive (9.06 yards per catch), his size and hands are what everyone looking for the next matchup-nightmare tight end is looking for. There's a chance that Egnew could morph into someone worth using this season if he can assimilate himself with the first-team offense in training camp. Miami's lack of receiving threats greatly helps his cause.

Schedule breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
@HOU OAK NYJ @ARI @CIN STL bye @NYJ @IND TEN @BUF SEA NE @SF JAC BUF @NE

It might not matter who the Dolphins face, their offense is such a mess that any defense can stuff them. Reggie Bush might not get as many touches as he did last season and he certainly won't have his receivers drawing coverage away from him. They'll also see a ton of big-play receivers in their road games, testing that boastful (but suspect) secondary.

Training camp topics

2011 Touches Leaders
Player Touches
Reggie Bush 216 carries, 43 catches
Daniel Thomas 165 carries, 12 catches
Brandon Marshall 81 catches, 1 carry
Davone Bess 51 catches, 2 carries
Brian Hartline 35 catches, 1 carry

The big battle is at quarterback. After offseason workouts and minicamp, Matt Moore and David Garrard have seemingly boxed out rookie Ryan Tannehill from opening the season under center, though it's obvious his time will eventually come. Moore had his moments last season in Miami, posting 20 Fantasy points (standard scoring) in four starts and throwing 16 touchdowns versus nine interceptions. Garrard didn't play in 2011, citing a back injury. He wasn't so bad in 2010 -- his last season of game action -- completing 64.5 pct. of his passes for a 7.47 yards per attempt average and a career-high 23 touchdowns. Whichever passer has the better camp will start the season as Miami's quarterback, though there's absolutely no guarantee that he'll finish as such, which crushes any potential value on Draft Day.

The other interesting pool of talent to check on is at wide receiver, and by interesting we really mean tragic. Ochocinco, Davone Bess and Brian Hartline headline the wideouts in Miami with the likes of Legedu Naanee, Roberto Wallace and Clyde Gates also battling for playing time. It's a list of names that wouldn't get into a South Beach hot spot much less a Fantasy Football roster. Three rookies -- B.J. Cunningham, Rishard Matthews and Jeff Fuller -- could push for some decent reps given the lack of impressive receivers in Miami.

And if their receiving corps lives up to its low expectations, the Dolphins will be forced to use their running backs plenty. How they choose to split up the work will be interesting to watch starting in training camp. Bush should be the featured guy and Thomas will be in the mix, but so might rookie Lamar Miller. A capable, versatile runner from the University of Miami, Miller's hands were on display in offseason workouts and the team has been toying with the idea of using him as a part-time receiver. Miller doesn't quite stack up like Darren Sproles or Bush physically but with the team desperate for help he could be used from time to time this season. A really good camp could put him neck and neck with Thomas as the No. 2 running back.

Injury update

David Garrard (back; probable for the start of training camp) ... Lamar Miller (shoulder; probable for the start of training camp) ... Davone Bess (knee; questionable for the start of training camp) ... Brian Hartline (appendectomy; probable for the start of training camp).

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Player News
Packers want to keep RB Eddie Lacy fresh this season
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(8:04 pm ET) Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is working on ways to keep running back Eddie Lacy fresh this season, reports the Journal Sentinel.

McCarthy had talks with Lacy at the end of the last two seasons talking about his number of snaps and what he expected of the running back.

"I really felt that last year's conversation was more important than this year's, the ability to make a huge jump from Year One to Two, being a three-down player, that was something we stressed from Day One, and I thought he delivered," McCarthy said at the NFL owners meetings this week.

The head coach liked the way that the team used Lacy last season, limiting his snaps early in the year before increasing them as the season wore on.

"Maybe not run attempts," McCarthy said of hitting the target he set. "But I thought we were really smart the way we used him....I thought his pass protection he made a huge jump, and his ability to play out of the backfield.

"Eddie has excellent hands, and just his understand and his feel with Aaron, he definitely made a step."

In his first two seasons in the NFL, the 24-year-old has 2,317 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. He has also added 77 receptions for 684 yards and four touchdown catches. 


Vikings CB Captain Munnerlyn working to earn starting spot
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(7:31 pm ET) Although Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn likes the addition of Terence Newman to the team, he believes that he will beat him out for a starting job, reports twincities.com.

“I’m ready for the competition,’’ Munnerlyn told the Pioneer Press on Saturday. “I’m an athlete, so I never feel like anyone can beat me out. I feel I can hold onto the job. I’m betting on myself.’’

Munnerlyn, a six-year veteran, seems to embrace the competition that will be had at the cornerback spot.

“I think it’s great,’’ said Munnerlyn, a six-year veteran. “He’s a veteran. It’s great for competition. It will bring out the best in me. I’m excited about the competition. I just know that I’ve got to play a lot better than I did last year.’’

There have been a lot of questions this offseason as to whether or not he will settle in as the team's nickel back. He wants to shed the label of being relegated to the nickel spot.

“I don’t want that to happen,’’ Munnerlyn said. “I’ve been labeled my whole career as just a nickel back but I’ve been able to show people I’m more than that. But I know that I’ve got to work hard this offseason."
The 26-year-old has registered 343 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, 44 passes defensed, nine interceptions -- five of which were returned for touchdowns -- and three forced fumbles.

Packers still interested in signing FB John Kuhn
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(5:09 pm ET) The Packers are still interested in signing fullback John Kuhn to the roster, reports the Journal Sentinel.

When head coach Mike McCarthy was asked if Kuhn still has value, he replied, "Absolutely."

"I've always looked at the fullback and tight end position as one. I feel you have to have flexibility and versatility within those two positions. It keeps you in and out of a number of different personnel groups."

Kuhn, 32, has spent eight of his nine seasons with the Packers, rushing for 591 yards and 18 touchdowns. As a receiving option, the fullback has 76 receptions for 516 yards and eight touchdowns.


CB Lardarius Webb wants to finish career with Ravens
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(5:02 pm ET) After restructuring his contract with the Ravens, cornerback Lardarius Webb wants to finish his career with the team, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Webb recently agreed to a contract restructure that dropped his cap number from $12 million to $9.25 million.

"My goal is to retire a Raven and, while it wasn’t an easy decision, I wanted to put the team first," Webb told The Baltimore Sun. "I wanted to prove myself this year that the Ravens sticking with me was the right decision. The Ravens reached out to my agent, Marc Lillibridge, a few weeks before the scouting combine and they were talking and working hard together to get something done. I'm glad it's done."

Webb, 29, has spent his entire six-year career with the Ravens, posting 301 total tackles, two sacks, 71 passes defensed, 11 interceptions and two forced fumbles.


Patriots DT Sealver Siliga still in walking boot
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(4:09 pm ET) Patriots defensive tackle Sealver Siliga is still in a walking boot after undergoing surgery last season, per ESPN.

Siliga is considered to be one of the top-two options at defensive tackle for the team after the departure of Vince Wilfork. The 24-year-old started five of the seven games he played in 2014. He recorded 32 total tackles and 2.5 sacks last season.


LB Lance Briggs to visit with 49ers on Monday
(3:35 pm ET) Free-agent linebacker Lance Briggs said he will meet with the 49ers on Monday, reports ESPN.com.

Briggs, a seven-time Pro Bowler, has played all 12 of his NFL seasons with the Bears.

Briggs appeared in just 17 games during the last two seasons due to various injuries.

The 49ers are looking to replace linebacker Chris Borland, who recently announced his retirement.

Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) walking without a limp
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:17 pm ET) Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney said his rehab from microfracture surgery in his knee is going well, according to the Houston Chronicle. Clowney, who is four months removed from the procedure, was spotted walking without a limp during a promotional event on Saturday.

"It's going good. I'm taking it one day at a time, having some fun hanging out with fans," said Clowney, who made his first public comments since Thanksgiving.

Clowney wouldn't comment on his status for training camp.

"I'm not going to speak on that, but I'm making progress, and I'm very encouraged," Clowney said. "I'm working hard, but we're not going to rush it."


Report: Vikings LB Chad Greenway agres to take paycut
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:59 am ET) Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has agreed to restructure his contract, reducing his $7 million base salary to $3.4 million, according to Field Yates of ESPN. The move created $3.2 million in cap room for the Vikings.

Greenway, 32, has spent all nine years of his career with the Vikings, recording 992 total tackles, 15.5 sacks, 30 passes defensed, nine interceptions and eight forced fumbles.


Cardinals coach Arians: I was not going to let Logan Thomas fail
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians still believes in young quarterback Logan Thomas. Arians didn't want to ruin his confidence last season after being forced into action with multiple injuries to Arizona quarterbacks, reports the team's website.

"He's going to get a ton of work and those reps are invaluable," Arians said. "Just in decision-making, how fast you're getting it out of your hand, where you're going with it, where you're going when 'one' and 'two' are still covered. Are you still scrambling around or are you going to find your outlets? That growth process comes strictly from reps."

Arians still has a plan for the second-year pro.

"We drafted him for two years from now, not November," Arians said. "It just so happened his number got called (earlier.) I was not going to let him fail (in San Francisco) because once you fail those scars never go away.

"It's very hard to get the guys back in the locker room if you cost them the playoffs. I just wasn't going to put him in that situation. Right or wrong, it just was my decision."


DT Letroy Guion visits with Seahawks
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(3/27/2015) Nose tackle Letroy Guion visited with the Seahawks on Friday, adding another suitor into the mix as the Packers attempt to retain his services, per ESPN.com.

After Guion's criminal case was closed earlier in the week, with Guion paying only a fine, the Seahawks set up a visit. Guion recorded career-highs in tackles (32) and sacks (3 1/2) with the Packers in 2014. 


 
 
 
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