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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
Frank Gore doesn't want to give up his workload
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:22 pm ET) Recently there have been reports that 49ers running back Frank Gore would see his carries drop to around 200 to 220 over the course of the season. Gore's having none of that. 

"I'm still here, so why not?" Gore said when asked if he wanted to continue getting a big amount of offensive work according to Comcast Sportsnet. "I'm from Miami. I've been competing ever since I left high school. I've been with top guys who've been in the league. I'm up for it. One day, they’re going to get this role. But I'm here, and I'm going to make it a challenge. ...  I'm just going to try to be the Frank Gore I've always been."

The Niners drafted Carlos Hyde in the second round this offseason and still have Kendall Hunter and Marcus Lattimore on the roster to help Gore, 31, shoulder the load. 


Antonio Gates back with team
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:15 pm ET) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, who missed all of offseason workouts due to a family issue, reported for the start training camp Thursday, reports ESPN.

Gates is expected to remain the starter in San Diego, but he will share playing time in two-tight end sets with Ladarius Green.


Carl Nicks excused from Bucs practice
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:12 pm ET) Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith said Thursday that guard Carl Nicks has been excused from the start of training camp. Per the Tampa Tribune, Smith is not sure when Nicks will be back with the team. Nicks has battled a toe injury that kept him out of action in 2013 but was cleared to play earlier this week.  

Jason Pierre-Paul says he's '110 percent'
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:11 pm ET) Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said Thursday that he feels good for the start of training camp, reports the New York Daily News.

"I'm awesome," Pierre-Paul said. "I'm 110 percent."

Pierre-Paul was limited to 11 games in 2013 with a shoulder injury.


Rob Gronkowski doesn't work in team drills
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:02 pm ET) Rob Gronkowski avoided the PUP list to kick off Patriots training camp but wasn't on the field for 7 on 7 or 11 on 11 drills on Thursday. According to the Boston Globe, Gronk did do positional drills and one on one "stuff" with Tom Brady but was otherwise held out of action. Brady and Gronk got together after practice as well. 

The paper provided a detailed look at his first day of camp, noting that he "was able to cut and plant on his right knee with little to no problem." However, when he used his right leg to push off on routes he struggled to accelerate because he had to put his full weight on his leg. 

Gronkowski is being eased back into practice following a torn ACL suffered last December. 


Pagano wants 'bell cow' running back to emerge
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:02 pm ET) Colts coach Chuck Pagano said he'd like to have a "bell cow" running back this season, but he's not against having a running back by committee, reports ESPN.

The Colts are expected to use Trent Richardson as the starter, but it sounds like if he struggles again then Ahmad Bradshaw or Vick Ballard could have a bigger role.


Ryan Shazier looks like a Day 1 fit with Steelers
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:59 am ET) It appears that rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier will fit in with the Steelers starting unit right away. Shazier worked with the first-team defense in the spring and didn't look lost according to ESPN. He's sorely needed on a defense that uncharacteristically struggled to slow down the run in 2013. 

"He understands concepts very well," linebackers coach Keith Butler said. "He reminds me a lot of Larry Foote in terms of football intelligence, and he's a very sharp guy."


Johnny Manziel won't get first-team reps right away
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:56 am ET) Browns coach Mike Pettine said rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel won't get reps with the first-team offense right away, reports ESPN.

Manziel is competing with Brian Hoyer for the starting job.

"He will get reps with the ones at some point. But early on … we only talked about how we would handle things very early in camp and then make that assessment after the first off day and then have a plan for the scrimmage (on Aug. 2)," Pettine said. "We'll see where he is coming out of the summer."


Greg Olsen not worried about receiving corps
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:49 am ET) Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is tired of hearing the talk about the team not having a quality receiving corps this season, reports the Charlotte Observer.

The Panthers lost Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn this offseason and replaced them with rookie Kelvin Benjamin, Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant, but Olsen feels there won't be a drop-off.

"It's kind of been the storyline of the offseason. Any time the Panthers have come up that’s kind of been the first comment made by everybody. I think guys are just kind of tired of it," Olsen said. "I think we feel confident about our group. I think people are eager to get there, get to work and put together what works for us as an offense."


Golden Tate dealing with 'minor' shoulder injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:48 am ET) Lions receiver Golden Tate, who was placed on the active/PUP list Wednesday, said he's dealing with a "minor shoulder injury from an errant fall" during OTAs, reports the Detroit Free Press. However, the injury kept him out of the team's June minicamp and landed him on the PUP list.

"Just a little soreness in my shoulder and I’m just doing what the doctors tell me to do and I’m trying to get better as fast as I can,” Tate said in June. “As a competitor it sucks to be on the sideline watching guys, especially when I want to be out there trying to fine-tune this offense."

Tate is eligible to come off the PUP list at any time.


 
 
 
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