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Offseason Primers: Miami Dolphins

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Dolphins had an interesting season in 2012. It started with HBO's Hard Knocks and ended with a respectable 7-9 campaign. The new coaching staff under Joe Philbin proved competent, and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill made plenty of strides.

Now, the Dolphins have the chance to take the next step. The key will be the additions made this offseason with the Dolphins adding receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson and tight end Dustin Keller.

2012 Touches Leaders
944 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
Reggie Bush 262 (227 car., 35 rec.) 27.7%
Daniel Thomas 106 (91 car., 15 rec.) 11.2%
Brian Hartline 74 rec. 7.8%
Davone Bess 61 rec. 6.4%
Lamar Miller 57 (51 car., 6 rec.) 6.0%
All Others 384 40.6%

Tannehill needed weapons after he had 3,294 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and 48 carries for 214 yards and two touchdowns with eight fumbles. Adding some receiver help -- Brian Hartline and Davone Bess combined for two touchdowns as the starters -- is the biggest need, and Wallace, Gibson and Keller should help tremendously. Tannehill might also see time in the read-option offense, which would enhance his skill set and help his Fantasy value. He could end up as a reliable No. 2 Fantasy quarterback with upside.

Finding a starting running back is also important. Reggie Bush is off to Detroit this year, and the Dolphins have to decide if Lamar Miller or Daniel Thomas is the answer as the No. 1 option in the backfield (we like Miller as the favorite). Bush had consecutive seasons of at least 1,200 total yards and seven touchdowns, so whoever starts for the Dolphins has potential as a No. 2 Fantasy running back.

Lamar Miller -- Sleeper

2012 Target Leaders
504 pass attempts
Brian Hartline 131 25.9%
Davone Bess 105 20.8%
Anthony Fasano 69 13.6%
Reggie Bush 52 10.3%
Charles Clay 33 6.5%
All Others 114 22.6%

If the Dolphins don't bring in a big-named talent at running back then the backfield tandem in Miami will be Miller and Thomas, with Miller the expected starter. That bodes well for his Fantasy value. Miller had an unimpressive rookie season playing behind Bush and Thomas. He finished 2012 with 51 carries for 250 yards and one touchdown and six catches for 45 yards. But he has the skill-set to take off, which should have Fantasy owners excited. There's also production to be had in this backfield since Bush had consecutive seasons of at least 1,200 total yards and seven touchdowns. Going into the season, we consider Miller a low-end No. 2/high-end No. 3 Fantasy running back with upside, and he's worth drafting with a pick as early as Round 4 or 5. He should be on most sleeper lists, and the Dolphins are in love with Miller's playmaking ability. He could end up as a quality Fantasy option if he opens the season as the starter.

Reggie Bush -- Player on the move

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Ryan Tannehill Undrafted
Lamar Miller 45-53 overall
Daniel Thomas 130-137 overall
Mike Wallace 63-69 overall
Brian Hartline 140-148 overall
Davone Bess Undrafted
Brandon Gibson Undrafted
Dustin Keller Undrafted

Bush signed with the Lions this offseason, and he's expected to share playing time with Mikel Leshoure. But make no mistake, Bush is the new starter for the Lions, and he has a lot of upside. Bush showed he can be a featured running back for the Dolphins. In 2011, Bush had a career season with 216 carries for 1,086 yards and six touchdowns and 43 catches for 296 yards and a score. He followed that up with a career-high 227 carries for 986 yards and six touchdowns and 35 catches for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Now, Bush goes to a Lions team that should involve him more as a receiver. He has at least 43 catches in five of seven years, and we know the Lions love to throw the ball. We still view Bush as a No. 2 Fantasy running back with upside, and he could total 1,500 total yards with about six touchdowns. He is worth drafting in all formats in Round 3 with the potential to be drafted in Round 2 in PPR leagues. This could be a big year for Bush in Motown.

Ryan Tannehill -- Late-round flier

Tannehill was part of the successful rookie quarterback class of 2012, but he was at the back of the room, well behind Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson when it came to performance. Tannehill had his moments with four games with at least 20 Fantasy points, but he had six games with eight points or less. We expect Tannehill to improve in 2013, especially with the upgrade the Dolphins had to their receiving corps. The Dolphins also want to use Tannehill in the read option more, which should showcase his running ability. Tannehill should be considered a low-end No. 2 Fantasy quarterback to open the season, but he's someone to keep your eye on. He might not get drafted in the majority of leagues, but he could turn into a quality playmaker as the season goes on.

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

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Player News
Martellus Bennett scores again
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:20 am ET) Bears tight end Martellus Bennett scored for the second straight week Sunday night at San Francisco. Bennett hauled in seven of eight targets for 37 yards, including an easy 3-yard score to put Chicago ahead with 13:14 remaining.

Bennett, who tied for the team lead in targets, visits the Jets on Monday Night Football in Week 3.


Alshon Jeffery guts it out
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:17 am ET) Playing on a tender hamstring, Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery was clearly not 100 percent Week 2 at San Francisco. He managed three catches on six targets for 47 yards.

Jeffery came up with a big play with eight minutes left in the game. His 29-yard reception fueled Chicago's final touchdown drive in a 28-20 win.

Jeffery has an extra day to get healthy for Week 3, as the Bears visit the Jets on Monday Night Football.


Matt Forte held to 36 yards
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:14 am ET) Bears running back Matt Forte couldn't get going Sunday night at San Francisco, totaling 36 yards on 17 touches from scrimmage. Forte ran eight times for 8 yards in the first half and finished with 12 carries for 21 yards.

He added five catches for 15 yards. On the plus side, Forte tied for the team lead with eight targets.

Forte visits the Jets on Monday Night Football in Week 3.


Colin Kaepernick craters with four turnovers
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:09 am ET) 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick turned in a careless performance Week 2 vs. the Bears. Kaepernick threw three interceptions, including one throw across his body into traffic, and lost a fumble.

He completed 21 of 34 throws for 248 yards and a touchdown and ran nine times for 66 yards.

Things started well for Kaepernick, who tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree less than three minutes in. But he lost tight end Vernon Davis to an ankle injury in the second half and the offense bogged down. Kaepernick was picked off twice in the fourth quarter by rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller as the Bears stormed back to win 28-20.

Kaepernick will try to bounce back Week 3 at Arizona.


Jay Cutler shreds 49ers for four touchdown passes
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:00 am ET) Bears quarterback Jay Cutler played one of the finest games of his career Week 2 at San Francisco. After a ragged start, Cutler picked apart the 49ers. He hit 23 of 34 throws for 176 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions or fumbles, and he ran five times for 25 yards.

It was an unusually discplined performance for Cutler, who posted a 119.2 passer rating.

Cutler began to heat up in the second quarter. Wideout Brandon Marshall helped him out with a ridiculous, one-handed 17-yard touchdown catch right before halftime, and Cutler was consistently brilliant in the second half, throwing just one incompletion.

He's up to six touchdown passes entering Week 3 at the Jets on Monday Night Football.


Who needs practice? Brandon Marshall catches three TDs
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/14/2014) Despite not practicing all week with an ankle injury, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall caught three touchdown passes in the Week 2 win at San Francisco. He has 11 scoring grabs in the last 11 games in which Jay Cutler has taken the majority of snaps at quarterback.

Marshall tied for the team lead with eight targets, hauling in five passes for 48 yards. On his first score right before halftime, Marshall snared a 17-yarder with one hand at the top of his jump. Marshall added 5- and 3-yard touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Marshall has 27 touchdown catches since the start of the 2012 season -- tied for most in the NFL with New Orleans' Jimmy Graham. Marshall visits the Jets on Monday Night Football in Week 3.


Jay Ratliff has a concussion
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/14/2014) Bears defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff suffered a concussion in the second half against the 49ers, reports NBC Sports. Ratliff made two tackles, one for loss, before leaving.

Vernon Davis suffers ankle injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/14/2014) 49ers tight end Vernon Davis suffered an ankle injury in the second half against the Bears and did not return. Davis was dragged down from behind after making his third catch.

He caught all three of his targets for 39 yards. The severity of his injury was unclear.


Chris Conte ruled out
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/14/2014) Bears safety Chris Conte, who suffered a shoulder injury in the first half against the 49ers, won't return to Sunday night's game. He watched the fourth quarter in street clothes.

Conte has an interception in both games this season.


Clinton McDonald, William Gholston each come away with a pick
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/14/2014) Buccaneers defensive linemen Clinton McDonald and William Gholston each came away with a sack Week 2 against the Rams. McDonald sacked Austin Davis in the third quarter, while Gholston took down the quarterback in the fourth quarter. McDonald registered seven total tackles (six solo), with one sack and one tackle for loss. Gholston registered six total tackles (four solo), with one sack and one tackle for loss. 

 
 
 
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