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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).

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Player News
Titans receivers can thrive in YAC with Marcus Mariota's accuracy
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7/3/2015) The Titans wide receiving corps could gain more yards after the catch this season because of rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and his accurate throws, per ESPN.com.

The Titans were 24th in the league in yards after the catch last season, but with Mariota under center that can all change.

“If you have an accurate quarterback, it allows us to get more yards after that catch,” wide receiver Harry Douglas said. “And that’s one thing that makes a receiver dynamic -- first being able to catch the ball and then being able to do some things with it after you catch it. I feel like [to this point] Marcus has done everything he needs to do to get the ball to his receivers.”


Saints RB Khiry Robinson doesn't feel he's on outside looking in
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7/3/2015) Saints running back Khiry Robinson might be the least known of his backfield counterparts, but he doesn't feel like the off man out, per ESPN.com.

Robinson knows the team is heavily invested in the likes of Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, but he's still confident he can thrive in whatever role the Saints put him in.

“I’m the type of person, I’m gonna get what I get and do what I do with it. So whether it’s 20 carries or one carry, I’m gonna do the best of my ability every play,” Robinson said.

Robinson has shown flashes of success during his three years in the league. Injuries played a key role against him last season, which can ultimately put him as the third back on the depth chart. He will use the offseason to continue to improve and challenge his counterparts for playing time.

“I just gotta keep working,” Robinson. “It’s all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it’s a good thing we’ve got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we’ve got another player right up there to do the same thing.”


Browns OL Michael Bowie itching to compete for starting spot
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/3/2015) Browns offensive lineman Michael Bowie is not required to report to training camp until the end of July. But never mind that - he's heading out after the last Independence Day firework explodes in the sky.

Bowie is itching to get started. He missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury after starting for Seattle on its Super Bowl title team in 2013. He is seeking to stay in tip-top shape in an attempt to land a starting spot on a Cleveland line that is the strength of the team.

"It's up to them to decide who is the best five," Bowie told the team website. "All I can do is take care of my business. Hopefully I can get a shot. That's what I'm working for."

Bowie participated fully in the offseason program, working mostly with the second team at right tackle. That will likely be the spot at which he competes for a starting job. Incumbent Mitchell Schwartz has not performed particularly well there and Mike Pettine has vowed there will be competition all over the field in camp.


Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan nearly recovered from knee surgery
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/3/2015) Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan appears to be on target to join the team for training camp after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery that prevented him from participating in earlier offseason activities.

Kerrigan, who registered a career-high 13 1/2 sacks a year ago, had the operation to alleviate pain in the area.

"My leg feels really good and I'm glad I got the surgery - not just for football but it makes my everyday life feel better so I'm glad I got it done," he told CSN Washington. "Now it's just a matter of getting stronger and getting into shape."

Kerrigan added that he's been running and now only needs to regain strength to insure his place at training camp.


Texans waive DT Brandon Ivory
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Texans waived rookie defensive tackle Brandon Ivory on Thursday, according to ESPN.com

Ivory was arrested on first degree burglary charges in Tuscaloosa, Ala. just one day ago. Ivory's agent Jeff Guerriero said Ivory is not guilty of the charge. 

"I spoke to Brandon he is not guilty and his name will be cleared of all charges," Guerriero said. 


Chargers TE Antonio Gates suspended 4 games for PED use
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy, the team announced. 

It's unknown at this time what drug Gates tested positive for. Gates, in a statement, said he was unaware that he took a banned substance

"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," Gates said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them.

"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."

With Gates out for four games, the Chargers will turn to Ladarius Green as the team's top tight end, though it was expected for Green to continue getting more looks in the passing game. Green is entering the final season of his rookie contract. 

The Chargers expressed disappointment in Gates for his suspension but plans to stick with the longtime veteran through the suspension. 

"We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers stated. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers' family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level."  


Packers' Datone Jones out 1 game for substance-abuse violation
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones will be suspended for one game for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, according to NFL.com. 

Jones will miss Green Bay's season-opener against the Bears. In 2014, Jones totaled 22 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 13 games played. 


Cowboys LB Rolando McClain suspended four games for 2015
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(7/2/2015) The Cowboys announced that linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season due to violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

McClain hasn't been able to participate much in offseason workouts due to going under offseason knee surgery. McClain will be eligible to practice in training camp and is expected to be healthy by then. 

"I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake. I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error," McClain said in a statement, via CSN Bay Area. "I look forward to returning to the field on week 5, when I hope to help my team beat the Patriots.

In 2014, McClain, who had previously retired twice before being traded from the Ravens to the Cowboys, totaled 81 tackles and a sack in 13 games played.


Jets DL Sheldon Richardson suspended four games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was suspended four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced Thursday.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans," Richardson said in a statement via the Jets, per Fox Sports. "However, words aren't enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don't want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won't be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I'm able to return to the field.”

Richardson, who was a 2013 first-round pick, is entering his third season in the NFL. He was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014.

He has totaled 84 tackles and 11 1/2 sacks in 32 career games. He also has one safety.


Texans DT Brandon Ivory arrested on burglary charge
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(7/1/2015) Texans defensive tackle Brandon Ivory was arrested Wednesday morning in Alabama and charged with first-degree burglary, according to a Tuscaloosa Police Department report obtained by SportingNews.com.

Ivory and another man were allegedly involved in a home burglary when the two entered the residence by kicking open the back door and then demanding money from the residents. The two stole money and two Ipads from the residence. Ivory and the other suspect were arrested at their apartment shortly after the incident with the stolen money and property.


 
 
 
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