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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
Broncos' Kubiak wants QB Peyton Manning comfortable with new playbook
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(6:54 pm ET) Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak wants to make sure that all of his players are comfortable with the new offensive playbook, including quarterback Peyton Manning, reports ESPN.

“I think you prepare to help him call that game throughout the course of the week," Kubiak said. “A lot of people put emphasis on him calling plays at the line, but you’ve also prepared to do that throughout the course of the week, so you, as a coach, 'Here’s what I think is best in that situation.' In a lot of ways you’re still working together. You’re just going about it a different way."

“You never want to put a player in a position where he’s doing something he’s uncomfortable with," Kubiak said. “One of things about having a veteran, especially like Peyton, he’s going to let you know, 'This is what I do best and this is what I feel comfortable with.' That’s what you need to go do as a coach. You might tweak things here or there that you think may help, but you’re never going to take him out of his comfort zone and what he feels like he does best.”

Manning, 39, recently took a pay cut of $4 million to help clear salary cap space for the team.


LB Brandon Magee still committed to playing in NFL
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(5:49 pm ET) After being released by the Buccaneers, linebacker Brandon Magee is going to participate in spring training with the Boston Red Sox. That being said, he is still committed to playing in the NFL, according to Pro Football Talk. 

Magee's agent, Blake Baratz, emailed Pro Football Talk regarding his client's desire to resume his NFL career.

“There have been rumors circulating that Brandon Magee, who was recently released by Tampa Bay, has given up football with the intention of playing professional baseball. This could not be further from the truth,” Baratz wrote. “While he does attend spring training for a few weeks up until the beginning of the NFL off-season program, he is 100% fully committed to playing in the NFL.”

Magee, 24, has seen action in 17 games the last two seasons, nine of which were in 2014 with the Buccaneers. He has registered 10 total tackles in his career.


Bill O'Brien: 'Sky's the limit' for WR DeAndre Hopkins
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:34 pm ET) With Andre Johnson now in Indy, DeAndre Hopkins enters the 2015 season as the Texans' undisputed No. 1 receiver.

“He had a really good year last year and the sky’s the limit with Hop (Hopkins)," coach Bill O'Brien told NFL Network. "He’s an excellent young player who works extremely hard and we’re looking forward to putting together our whole receiving corps and he should be the leader of that.”

Hopkins led Houston with 1,210 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns last year. He has 128 catches for 2,012 yards and eight scores in his two NFL seasons.


Giants RB Shane Vereen will be more than third-down back
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(5:28 pm ET) Giants running back Shane Vereen is being viewed as much more than just a third-down running back, according to nj.com.

The team is excited about his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, but he'll be relied on to do more than that.

"I see him in that regard as a pass receiver coming out of the backfield, a pass protector, a guy who runs the ball in the three-wide offense in the run game, if you will, which is very prevalent today in our sport," coach Tom Coughlin said at the NFL Annual Meetings this week. "So I see him in that regard."

Last season the Giants did not have one receiving touchdown by a running back. Vereen, formerly of the Patriots, had three receiving touchdowns out of the backfield last year.

"Well, you know what [Vereen] can do. Quite frankly, it's something from an attack standpoint we've had some success with, but not to the extent that he has," Coughlin said. "When you look at Vereen, a lot of the [Tom] Brady hookup with Vereen was the ball was almost automatically going to him. First down, if it was zone coverage, they were dropping the ball down and he would scoot. So we know that. Will we open it up to more parts of it?"

The 26-year-old has 907 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on the ground, adding 107 receptions for 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns through the air in four years. 


Chiefs confident they'll reach deal with Justin Houston
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:00 pm ET) Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt told the Kansas City Star he's confident the team will sign standout outside linebacker Justin Houston to a long-term deal. The Chiefs put a $13.1 million nonexclusive franchise tag on Houston, which he has yet to sign.

“He knows, and his agent knows, how much we want him back,” Hunt said. “We just all have to be patient, and eventually, we’re going to get him signed to a long-term deal.”

Houston has 48.5 sacks in his four-year career. 

“I’ve been very consistent in saying that we not only value Justin as a football player, that we not only value Justin as a person and leader, and we want him to be a Chief for life,” Hunt said.


49ers waive OT Jonathan Martin
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:42 pm ET) The 49ers announced they waived offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, who played in 15 games last season, sarting nine. Martin, 25, was acquired by San Fran in a March 2014 trade with the Dolphins.

He has played in 38 career games with 32 starts.


Sean Payton: C.J. Spiller the 'most explosive player on the field'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:37 pm ET) Saints coach Sean Payton is thrilled to have landed running back C.J. Spiller, who will team with Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson in one of the league's top backfields.

"I think we expected Spiller to be somewhere else with a higher number. But it all worked out," Payton told The Advocate.

Spiller joined the Saints on a four-year, $16 million deal.

“His cutup is unbelievable,” Payton said of Spiller. ”And I’m not talking about last season because I think it became challenging, but you go back a couple of years and start looking at his screen reel, a sweep reel, a return reel.

“So when you watch his film you think of a lot of things he can do. He’s physical, he’s the most explosive player on the field a lot of times when you’re watching him. … So he’s an exciting player that clearly heading into free agency there wasn’t any thought about and then after that first rush there was some interest and I think to his agent’s credit they looked at it from a how he was going to be used standpoint, the system, the offense and wanting to be a part of it and we feel the same way.”


Browns C Alex Mack to participate in OTAs
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:17 pm ET) Browns center Alex Mack, who's rehabbing from a broken leg suffered in Week 6 last year, will take part in OTAs, though it's unclear to what extent, reports ESPN.com. Mack, 29, is a key to Cleveland's running game.

The team averaged 146.4 rushing yards with him, 90.5 without him, per the website.

“We’re making some pretty steady progress, doing what we need to do to get out there for training camp,” Mack said. “But it’s more important that I’m out there for game day. Those two feelings have to balance out. It just takes time, having patience. Two weeks after the surgery, I wanted to be up and running around. I’m not 18 anymore.”


Vikings release LB Justin Anderson, G Jordan McCray
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(4:17 pm ET) The Vikings have released linebacker Justin Anderson and guard Jordan McCray

Anderson spent time with the Giants in 2014, playing in two games. He was then released and picked up by the Vikings.

McCray spent time on the practice squad of the Packers last season. He was signed by the team in November before being cut. 


Report: DeAngelo Hall could move to free safety
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:40 pm ET) The Redskins are looking for a starter at free safety and could move veteran corner DeAngelo Hall into that role, reports the Washington Post. Hall, 31, is coming back from two surgeries to fix the ruptured Achilles' tendon he suffered last year.

Coach Jay Gruden mentioned to the paper that many free safeties are converted cornerbacks, including Oakland's Charles Woodson. Hall has said previously he'd be open to such a move, but he and the team have not discussed it yet, per the paper.


 
 
 
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