QB Ryan Tannehill
(2012 QB Rank – #24, 15.3 FPts/G)
Considered a raw prospect coming out of Texas A&M last year as a first-round pick, Tannehill had a solid rookie season despite playing mostly a caretaker role in an offense devoid of talent at the wide receiver position. While the former college wide receiver has the athletic ability to develop into a solid starter, he needs to continue to learn the playbook and improve his ability to read defenses in order to become a consistent fantasy producer. Despite playing in all 16 games, he failed to top 200 passing yards in eight games, finishing the season with 3,294 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Having added Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson at wide receiver and Dustin Keller at tight end, the Dolphins expect more from Tannehill. Provided the offensive line holds up (a major question mark), Tannehill could emerge as a mid-tier QB2 in 2013 but should be between the 20th and 25th quarterback taken in your draft.
QB Matt Moore
(2012 QB Rank – #51, 5.1 FPts/G)
Despite being a free agent, Moore returned to Miami to back up Ryan Tannehill, torpedoing his fantasy prospects. Given his solid production as a starter in 2011 (16 FPts/G) and the Dolphins’ improved receiving corps, Moore is worth a look if Tannehill goes down.RB Lamar Miller
(2012 RB Rank – #72, 3.9 FPts/G; #82 PPR, 4.6 FPts/G)
Having decided against re-signing free agent Reggie Bush, the Dolphins effectively handed the starting running back job to Lamar Miller. While the second-year player looked good in limited action as a rookie, averaging 4.9 yards per carry on 50 carries, the knock on him coming out of the University of Miami was that he was injury prone. However, Miami clearly thinks he can handle a big load, as they waited until the sixth round to draft running back Mike Gillislee to supplement the depth chart behind Miller and the disappointing Daniel Thomas. Get ready for Miller to be a hot commodity at draft time, given his potential for a workhorse role in a less than stellar Dolphins backfield. He clearly has the upside to be a high-end RB2, but that sounds a bit optimistic here. Consider him as a low-end RB2 or high-end RB3.
RB Daniel Thomas
(2012 RB Rank – #45, 6.0 FPts/G; #48 PPR, 7.3 FPts/G)
Outside of the Saints’ Mark Ingram, Thomas was the hottest rookie fantasy RB when he entered the league in 2011. Two short years later he is in jeopardy of losing his roster spot. Then again, he could emerge as a solid option in a committee backfield with Lamar Miller. If there’s one thing we can be certain of when it comes to Thomas, it’s that the Dolphins view him as the fallback option to Miller. Envisioned as a physical back coming out of Kansas State, Thomas has struggled in short yardage and hasn’t been able to stay healthy, missing five games in two years. There isn’t much upside here, but there’s plenty of risk. If Thomas holds off rookie sixth-round pick Mike Gillislee and the Dolphins develop into a solid offense, he could be a decent flex option.
RB Mike Gillislee
(2012 RB Rank – N/A)
With a pair of unproven running backs atop the depth chart, the Dolphins used a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft to acquire Gillislee, who enjoyed a solid senior season at the University of Florida. He dropped in the draft due to his lack of size (5’11”, 209 pounds) and lack of breakaway speed, but he should be considered a decent sleeper in 2013. Neither Lamar Miller nor Daniel Thomas has enjoyed consistent success in the NFL and, while he doesn’t excel in any one area, Gillislee is solid in many. Monitor the Dolphins backfield situation in training camp since it won’t be a surprise if Gillislee at least jumps over Thomas on the depth chart.
WR Mike Wallace
(2012 WR Rank – #24, 8.8 FPts/G; #23 PPR, 13.1 FPts/G)
With a hole in the depth chart at wide receiver and a pile of salary cap space, the Dolphins made Mike Wallace this year’s highest paid free agent wide receiver, giving him a five-year, $65-million contract. Since this is about fantasy football, we won’t concern ourselves with whether they overpaid (they did); instead we’ll focus on whether he will be a bona fide No. 1 wide receiver in Miami (he will). There aren’t many faster players in the league than Wallace, and he will be catching passes from strong-armed, second-year signal caller Ryan Tannehill. Unfortunately for Wallace, Tannehill is a step down from Ben Roethlisberger. And now is a good time to note that Wallace’s yardage totals have dropped each year since his career-best, 10-touchdown season in 2010—from 1,257 yards that year to 1,193 in 2011 and 835 last season. He is also very inconsistent (four games with 13 or more fantasy points and seven with six or less). Feel comfortable drafting Wallace as a mid-tier WR2.
WR Brian Hartline
(2012 WR Rank – #34, 7.6 FPts/G; #27 PPR, 12.6 FPts/G)
Hartline is coming off a career year in which he accumulated 74 receptions for 1,083 yards and a touchdown on a whopping 131 targets, while assuming the lead receiver role on a struggling Dolphins offense. The most important statistic above is the 131 targets. With Mike Wallace now in Miami, Hartline won’t come close to approaching that. Hartline has decent size and solid speed but the odds are strong that he will never approach his 2012 production over the balance of his career. Fantasy-wise, he needs to step up his touchdown production to be useful in 2013, but he has just six scores during his three years in the league, and the addition of tight end Dustin Keller isn’t going to help him in getting more red zone targets. Consider him an upper tier WR4 in 2013.
WR Brandon Gibson
(2012 WR Rank – #44, 6.6 FPts/G; #46 PPR, 10.0 FPts/G)
Despite having the productive Davone Bess on the roster, the Dolphins chose to sign Gibson to a three-year, $9.8-million contract. Consider that a head scratcher. While Gibson was solid last year in St. Louis as the team’s leading receiver with career highs in yards (691) and touchdowns (5), it is telling that the receiver-needy Rams didn’t even attempt to re-sign him. With Gibson, the Dolphins are getting a player with decent size, average speed and minimal play-making ability. He’s not really built to play out of the slot, either, which is where he is expected to line up in 2013. Move on, folks.
TE Dustin Keller
(2012 TE Rank – #37, 5.5 FPts/G; #37 PPR, 9.0 FPts/G)
There is nothing wrong with robbing a division rival of a starter, and that is what the Dolphins did when they poached Keller form the cap-strapped Jets. Keller will assume the starting role left vacant when Anthony Fasano signed with the Chiefs, but he will need to re-establish himself after a disappointing 2012 season in which he missed eight games and produced just 317 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Since Keller has never averaged more than 7.0 fantasy points per game during his five-year career, don’t him to emerge as a solid threat in 2013. He is a lower-tier TE2.