As the mercury rises and we inch closer to the open of training camps, our resident fantasy football sickos, Brad Evans and Liz Loza, will profile their favorite booms/busts of every NFL team. Today’s topic: The South Beach Ballers.
The Phins’ roster isn’t exactly chock full of go-to fantasy options. However: what one player has the most BOOM (return on investment) potential this fall?
Brad – KENYAN DRAKE. It’s almost impossible to fathom, but at one point in his Alabama days, Drake was on the same roster as Derrick Henry, T.J. Yeldon and Alvin Kamara. Man, I’m not sure that Nick Saban cat will ever cut it as a major college football coach …
By every measurement imaginable, Drake was a highly productive fantasy contributor when pushed into a full-time role last season. Over the final five weeks of the regular season, he amassed the ninth-most valuable line averaging 118.8 total yards per game while scoring twice. More impressively, he ranked No. 1 in YAC per attempt (4.3) and finished top-10 in yards created per touch (RB7), yards per carry vs. base fronts (4.8; RB7) and breakaway run rate (RB5). Stunningly, that was achieved behind a Miami line which ranked No. 30 in run-blocking efficiency according to Pro Football Focus.
Locked into the head role with Frank Gore and unexciting rookie Kalen Ballage functioning as change of pace options, he’s bound to record between 18-20 touches per game. Carry over last year’s efficiency, and he’ll easily slide into the position’s top-15, possibly even the top-10. At his 36.9 ADP (RB19), he’s my favorite RB2 target.
Liz – MIKE GESICKI. Adam Gase knows how to utilize big bodies that can box out in the red area of the field. Sure, it’s been a minute since Julius Thomas dominated the end zone in Denver, but that doesn’t change Gase’s affinity for the position. The fact that he went after the most athletic tight end in this year’s draft is telling. Gesicki is a former basketball and volleyball stand out who crushed the Combine, and offers oodles of point producing potential. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t score at least 5 TDs in 2018.
On the flipside, what player should owners avoid like a head of Yuma Romaine?
Liz – DANNY AMENDOLA. In 2016, with Ryan Tannehill under center, Jarvis Landry averaged 8.5 looks per game. One might then assume that Amendola would be receiving a hearty target share. Except that the Dolphins have a plethora of bodies that can man the slot.
From Albert Wilson to Jakeem Grant (both of whom need to be on fantasy radars) to two pass-catching running backs, the Dolphins have options. At 32-years-old and with a history of durability concerns, Amendola seems much more like insurance than reassurance. Don’t chase the brand name.
Brad – DEVANTE PARKER. Speaking as a reformed Parker cultist, I will not be seduced by the siren’s song at any cost. Sorry, this door is closed, Adam Gase. He’s always possessed the physical tools of a Pro Bowl-caliber player, but injuries and general inconsistencies, whether in preparation or performance (59.4 catch% in ’17), have sapped his potential. The last time he and Ryan Tannehill worked extensively together, Weeks 2-14 in 2016, he finished WR53 during that span.
With Kenny Stills bringing similar strengths to the table, spark plug Jakeem Grant expected to take on a larger role and Amendola, Albert Wilson and Mike Gesicki in the mix, Parker could take an undesirable turn in a crossroads season. Chris Hogan, Sterling Shepard and Emmanuel Sanders are far more attractive options available at a similar cost (95.7 ADP).
The Dolphins have sworn up and down that Ryan Tannehill is the team’s starting QB. However, they also added Brock Osweiler and, more recently, Bryce Petty. BELIEVE OR MAKE BELIEVE that Tannehill stays under center through Week 16 AND regains 2015/2014 form?
Brad – BELIEVE, partially. If this were a burger taste contest, Osweiler and Petty would be days old, crusted over White Castle; Tannehill a classic Five Guys cheeseburger. In other words unless the injury imp strikes, he’s not relinquishing the job.
Tanny finished top-15 in ’14 and ’15 in total fantasy points per game, but slipped dramatically in 2016 (No. 22 in fppg). Even with the increase in weapons and under Adam Gase’s direction, it’s improbable for him to recapture his earlier career form. Think of him as a $7-$10 passer in 2QB auctions, nothing more.
Liz – MAKE BELIEVE. Tannehill was able to cobble together two promising seasons, producing top-fifteen fantasy numbers. But he’s been off the field for nearly a year and a half. And he’s thirty-years-old (7/27/1988). Furthermore, he’s always been a project. Sure, he’s flashed, but I can’t remember a game in which he put the offense on his back and slayed. Is a comeback out of the question? No. Is it likely? Give me Mitch Trubisky instead.