Monday, May 28, 2012

32 in 32: Miami Dolphins

Matt Moore must be one of the most under-appreciated quarterbacks in the NFL. The man started 12 games for the Dolphins last season, throwing 16 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions. To top it off, he completed over 60% of his passes. He might not be the best QB in the NFL, but he certainly wasn't the reason they were losing games last season.  The 'Phins won 6 of the 12 games he started for them. Unfortunately for Moore, the Dolphins traded away the one great receiver they had, meaning that he will be the sacrificial lamb at the beginning of this season. Matt Moore will play 6-8 games before being supplanted by Ryan Tannehill. I don't see Moore having a good season simply because he has no one to throw to.

We can take a look at the group of nobodies that will line up outside for the Dolphins. The leading receiver for the team will probably be Davone Bess. Now Bess is not a terrible player; he did have a better season than any receiver wearing a Jaguars uniform last season, but I just cannot imagine him having a 1000 yard season. Brian Hartline also has an opportunity to have a great season, but I haven't really seen anything to suggest a break out season. I would prop Anthony Fasano up as the man to grab from the Dolphins receiving corps, but this tight end has never had more than 39 receptions in a season. As much as I like Fasano, I think Hartline and Bess will beat him out for receiving yards this season. The Dolphins did draft a pair of receivers at the end of the draft, but they are no more promising than any of the guys already mentioned in this blog. The Dolphins could actually use a guy like T.O. to give them some kind of option in the passing game, but I don't see that happening.

The one winner in all of this is Reggie Bush. After initially faltering last season, Bush rushed for over 1000 yards in 15 games, on 216 carries, while maintaining a 5.0 yard-per-carry average. Those numbers suggest a player who is going to carry the ball more like 280 times this season, and while he might drop off of that lofty yard-per-carry number, he should stay consistent if he can stay healthy. As we know from his days in New Orleans, Bush can definitely work as a pass-catching back, meaning that he should get plenty of dump-off looks when those lame receivers cannot beat their coverage. If Bush has a tough year, second-year-man Daniel Thomas should pick up the slack. Most people bet against Bush last season and picked up Thomas in fantasy drafts. Thomas never really got off the ground, though, and was essentially a non-factor in the passing game. This all adds up to a back I would probably not draft at any point unless Bush gets injured or looks bad in the preseason.

All of this adds up to a Miami team that is going to struggle moving the ball through the air. This team could live off of the screen pass and running game this season, or they could have Bush bust out the wildcat formation from years past. The instability in the passing game should improve the value of Bush, pushing him towards a top 10 ranking amongst running backs. Only time will tell if his small frame can handle the beating that comes with being a premier back, but he is certainly the only Dolphin player who is worthy of an early pick in any fantasy draft.

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