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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
James Harrison scheduled for Cardinals physical Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2014) Free agent linebacker James Harrison is scheduled to take a physical for the Cardinals Friday, the Arizona Republic reports.

While it appears the sides are working towards a deal, it "isn't a foregone conclusion" Harrison signs with Arizona. He visited the Cardinals Wednesday.


Wes Welker cleared to travel with team
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2014) Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker has been cleared to travel with the team for Thursday's preseason finale against the Cowboys, the Denver Post reports.

Welker is recovering from a concussion and has yet to be cleared to engage in contact. He was wearing a more-padded helmet when he took the hit that led to his third concussion in the last 10 months. The receiver's status for Week 1 is still up in the air.


Titans work out a trio of kickers
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2014) Veteran kickers Garrett Hartley, Jay Feely and Rian Lindell all worked out for the Titans, reports the Tennessean.

49ers undecided about No. 3 receiver
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2014) Quinton Patton, not Steve Johnson, served as the 49ers' third receiver Sunday against the Chargers, notes the Sacramento Bee. Coach Jim Harbaugh told the paper that he hasn't decided who will fill that role during the season.

Johnson told the paper he's still working to build chemistry with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.


Jurrell Casey gets lucrative four-year extension
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2014) Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey signed a four-year contract extension worth $36 million, including $20.5 million guaranteed, his agent told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Casey had 10.5 sacks and 55 tackles last year.

Morris Claiborne expected to miss entire preseason again
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2014) Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne probably won't play in Thursday's preseason finale, marking the second straight preseason in which he has not played a down, reports ESPN.com. Claiborne missed this year's preseason opener with knee tendinitis and the past two games due to a sprained AC joint in his shoulder.

Claiborne returned to practice this week, but likely will be held out against the Broncos. "Just not worth the risk to go backwards," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said.

Mark Ingram 'healthy, fit and decisive'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2014) Saints running back Mark Ingram, a 2011 first-round pick, "is ready to put together his best NFL season," reports the team's website. "Ingram is healthy, fit and decisive as a runner."

Ingram has rushed for 148 yards on 21 carries (7.0 ypc) this preseason while catching two passes for 27 yards and scoring two touchdowns. "We saw a snapshot of the player Ingram could be at the end of last season," the website said. "He looks even better than he did then."


Cowboys claim Jemea Thomas
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2014) The Cowboys claimed rookie defensive back Jemea Thomas off waivers from the Patriots. Thomas was a sixth-round pick out of Georgia Tech.

Pete Carroll: Paul Richardson is 'very consistent'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2014) Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said rookie wideout Paul Richardson has "done really good stuff" and been "very consistent on the practice field," reports the Seattle Times.

"He shows that he understands the offense and can make adjustments to the routes and can read things and all that," Carroll added. "It’s always hard for all those young guys to be exactly right all the time. They’re going to miss some things, which he’s done in really typical fashion. But he has shown toughness, he’s shown route running ability, he’s caught tough balls underneath, he’s got open deep. We really think he’s got a chance to help us, so we’re real excited about his progress."


Report: Tom Brady 'not happy' with Logan Mankins trade
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2014) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was "not happy" with the trade of guard Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers, reports Bleacher Report's Jason Cole. He added that Brady had an "emotional reaction" to the move, which landed New England tight end Timothy Wright and saved the team more than $5.7 million.

 
 
 
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