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As the summer heats up, Yahoo's resident Noisemaker will offer his hot takes on specific players, trends and strategies much discussed in Fantasyland. Naturally, whatever he forecasts, the opposite is bound to occur. Feel free to offer your two cents in the comments section below.
The Buzz: A few weeks back, Miami upstart Ryan Tannehill became a very wealthy man as he inked a six-year, $96 million contract extension with $45 million guaranteed. To protect their investment the Dolphins stockpiled the cabinet this offseason adding Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Greg Jennings, Jordan Cameron and Jay Ajayi. Off a breakthrough campaign in which he finished No. 10 in total fantasy points at QB, some anticipate the Dolphin's clicks to grow louder this fall.
Why snapping tendons for Tannehill is smart:
Visible maturation. In terms of on-field development, Tannehill reached puberty last year. He showed substantial improvement in several key categories including accuracy percentage ('13: QB19, '14: QB6) and execution under pressure ('13: QB19, '14: QB9). No surprise he also rose up the fantasy points per dropback ranks going from No. 19 to No. 13. And that was accomplished behind the second-worst pass-blocking line in the league according to Pro Football Focus. It's important to remember, Tannehill was a wide receiver for a sizable chunk of his college career at Texas A&M. The strides he's made over a relatively short time are praiseworthy. His best is yet to come.
Kenny Stills. Chemistry is a necessity between quarterback and wide receiver. When on, steamy numbers can be achieved. When off, and a divorce imminent. That was definitely the case with Tannehill and Mike Wallace. The past two seasons the pair's relationship was disjointed, clumsy and constantly off-page. As a result, they connected on just 32 of 123 attempts beyond 20 yards. That folks is conversion rate of 26 percent, or the chance equivalent of Johnny Manziel passing a playbook exam. Among WRs with at least 80 targets last year, Stills totaled the highest deep-pass catch rate (64.3). He's a phenomenal downfield threat who should increase Tannehill's confidence in those situations.
Weapons factory. Touched on briefly at the top, the Dolphins surrounded their quarterback with a mixture of veteran experience and exuberant youth this offseason. Accompanying established targets Cameron, Jennings and Stills, Miami plans to feature a pair of young, exciting wideouts in Parker and slot machine Jarvis Landry. The former made waves in OTAs reportedly torching corner Brent Grimes, who surrendered a laudable 58.9 catch percentage last year, in one-on-one drills. Initially, he may be low on the totem pole, but it's only a matter of time before he explodes on the scene. Parker possesses the size (6-foot-3, 209-pounds), speed (4.40 40-yard dash) and body control to develop into a No. 1. As for Landry, he set the pace among all 2014 WRs with an 80.8 percent catch rate (minimum 70 targets). He enticed 24.2 percent of the team's targets a season ago and should again be a weapon of choice possibly exceeding 90 catches and 950 yards.
Finally, Miami's bolstered ground game will also benefit Tannehill. Lamar Miller is a nifty, slashing back blessed with explosiveness and versatility. In 2014, he ranked top-10 in breakaway percentage and accumulated 1,374 total yards, netting 5.41 yards per touch. He and powerful rookie Jay Ajayi will provide balance and enhance downfield opportunities for the pass game.
Scoring duality. Overlooked but not forgotten, Tannehill is an effective opportunistic runner. In his first three years in the league, he averaged 255.3 rushing yards per season. Rush TDs were few and far between, but he often padded the bottom line. Last season, for example, he scrambled for at least 47 yards in four consecutive games. Overall, his rushing contributions boosted his fantasy worth by 10.8 percent. Much like Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck, Tanny is a multidimensional asset who can burn the opposition, fantasy or reality, in various ways.
Fearless Forecast: Many value seekers will say Eli Manning (88.4 Yahoo ADP, QB12) or a gimpy Sam Bradford (118.5, QB15) are the undervalued passers to chase. Each present strong arguments, but Tannehill, healthier and younger than the mentioned associates, owns a higher ceiling. After a turbulent three years under Joe Philbin, highlighted by the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito bullying fiasco, tons of roster turnover and marginal on-field results, the organization is distraction free and primed to finally challenge the Patriots in the AFC East. If they unseat New England, the former No. 8 overall pick will be the reason why. His promising growth, versatility, fortified arsenal and nourishing environment arrow to a final tally within earshot of 4,700 combined yards (300 rushing) and 30 total touchdowns (27 passing, 3 rushing). Admittedly, I'm an early-round QB advocate this year. The ridiculously high floors of Andrew Luck (13.7 Yahoo ADP, QB1) and Aaron Rodgers (15.2, QB2) and RB risks explain why they're worth a late-first, early-second round investment. Still, if you're the type who always purchases Tootie Fruities over Fruit Loops, Tannehill is your guy. His inexpensive price (98.1 ADP, QB12) and potential (QB6-QB9) are certainly appealing.