With the 2016 NFL Draft over and the regular season slowly inching closer, the time to start thinking about fantasy football is now! Sure, preseason does not start till August, and injury could spell disaster for these predictions, but that’s why “way too early” is the title of this article. So try and live a little.
The Philbin Era has come and gone, and the 27th ranked fantasy offense in scoring has been handed to first time head coach Adam Gase, aka “The Quarterback Guru”.
The excuses for fifth year QB Ryan Tannehill will be no more now that he orchestrates an offense that is loaded with weapons. Miami used the 13th overall pick to snag Laremy Tunsil — the Rebels offensive tackle who’s draft stock plummeted after a video was released of him smoking marijuana out of a gas mask. Once considered the top prospect in the Draft, if Tunsil can play up to expectations, Tannehill should have much better protection than he did in his first four years when he was sacked a total of 184 times.
Since the Dolphins lost key pieces on offense (Lamar Miller and Rishard Matthews) in the offseason, and there are still question marks at running back (Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams, and Kenyan Drake) it will be up to Ryan Tannehill to improve his overall playmaking abilities. Only if he can do that will the Dolphins crack the top-15 in fantasy football during the 2016 season.
Matthew Berry 2016 Quarterback Rankings- 20th
2015 was supposed to be Ryan Tannehill’s breakout fantasy season; Unfortunately that breakout never seemed to happen. In his fourth year in the NFL, Tannehill significantly improved his deep ball accuracy and threw for more yards, but he also had fewer touchdown and a drop in completion percentage.
Ex-Dolphins receiver Greg Jennings stated this offseason that RT17 has “been kind of babied,” which I believe to be a valid statement. Entering his fifth season, there are no more restrictions, no more questions on how limited he is at the line, and the 2016 season could be a make or break year for the former Texas A&M WR turned QB. While I don’t believe Tannehill is a Top-10 QB yet, that doesn’t mean the potential isn’t there.
Tannehill will continue to improve his numbers under Adam Gase, and under his tutelage, Tannehill will develop into a low-end QB1.
I’d take Ryan Tannehill over: Jameis Winston, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan.
Projection: 4,500 yards, 30 TD, 12 Int
Matthew Berry 2016 Running Back Rating: 22nd
Entering his second season in the league, 22nd ranked Jay Ajayi could be an excellent late round pick with the capability of becoming a breakout candidate in 2016. Ajayi showed his potential last season, rushing for 187 yards in nine games, and the addition of change-of-pace back Kenyan Drake means the Dolphins are ready to ride the J-Train. If Ajayi can stay healthy throughout the 2016 season, there is no reason he won’t see 150+ carries while also doing damage in the passing game. If Ajayi can even come close to the fantasy impact of his predecessor Lamar Miller, the former Boise State Bronco could be one of the better RB2 in this year’s draft.
I’d take Jay Ajayi over: Jeremy Langford, Dion Lewis, Carlos Hyde
Projection: 190 Carries, 900 yards, five TD; 35 receptions, 300 yards, two TD
With the addition of Kenyan Drake, Damien Williams is guy who could easily get overlooked at first glance, especially after he was only on the field for 159 offensive snaps in 2015. According to Scout.com, in Williams’ last ten games, the back only had five rushes for 13 yards while grabbing 13 passes for 108 yards. Williams is a do-it-all back with great size and traits that remind me of a certain other Williams who also ran for the Miami Dolphins. While the numbers won’t be great, Williams is poised to be an instant fit into Adam Gase’s offense, and he could do some real damage on the screen.
Projection: 20 carries, 90 yards, one TD; 25 receptions 550 yards, one TD
CBS Top 200 Ranking: 170th
Kenyan Drake was easily one of the most slept on players in this years draft class. Widely overshadowed by the 2015 Heisman Winner, Derrick Henry, there’s a great deal to like about the Dolphins’ 3rd round pick from Alabama. With comparisons to Jamaal Charles, Drake is a true duel-threat RB who, once in open space, can seem virtually untouchable with his lights out 4.4 speed. His solid hands are evident in his return skills, and if Kenyan Drake can stay healthy, he could be a perfect week-to-week slot or RB2 to add to your fantasy lineup.
Projection: 60 carries, 228 yards, one TD 30 receptions, 210 yards, two TD
Matthew Berry 2016 Wide Receiver Rankings: 25th
On 166 targets (6th in the NFL) and 18 carries, Jarvis “Juice” Landry tallied 1,270 yards, and five TDs – not bad numbers for someone ranked 25th of all fantasy receivers.
Landry can be dominate in the slot, and while the touchdowns didn’t come easy last season, the targets were there. Entering his third season, Landry should prosper in Adam Gase’s offense, and besides being a PPR machine, I’m counting on Juice to break into the top-15 in standard leagues this season.
I’d take Jarvis Landry over: Golden Tate, Emmanuel Saunders, Doug Baldwin
Projection: 115 receptions, 1300 yards, six TD
Matthew Berry 2016 Wide Receiver Rankings: 35th
After finishing the season with 26 receptions for 494 yards and three touchdowns, DeVante Parker may be a player non-Dolphins fans overlook at first glance. Big mistake!
After being sidelined due to foot injury, Parker exploded onto the scene during the final five weeks of the season, catching 22 of his 37 targets for 445 yards and three touchdowns. At 6-foot-3, Parker is a nice end-zone target, which shows in his 24.8 percent of catches resulting in touchdowns. Parker is the type of guy who could average Mike Wallace-type numbers during his time in Miami (67 receptions, 862 yards, 10 TD). Going into 2016, Parker is a solid WR2 option with WR1 potential.
I’d take DeVante Parker over: Steve Smith, Marvin Jones, Vincent Jackson
Projection: 60 receptions, 850 yards, 8 TD
Kenny Stills had a quiet first year in Miami, finishing the season with 27 receptions, 440 yards, and three touchdowns. Considered mostly a deep-treat, Stills will be fighting for the WR3 spot with 3rd round pick Leonte Carroo, who the Dolphins gave up multiple picks to sign.
Stills has the speed and solid hands to be a contributor for Miami this season, but I think field time overall will be an uphill battle for 23-year old receiver.
Projection: 25 receptions, 400 yards, two TD
Mike Clay’s Top 100 Rookies for 2016: 8th
Leonte Carroo graded third on Rotoworld’s best rookie receiver list, which uses a formula that predicts “NFL success for recently drafted wide receiver prospects, using collegiate production statistics, NFL combine measurables and NFL draft data.”
Carroo placed ahead of three first-round picks (Houston’s Will Fuller, Washington’s Josh Doctson and Minnesota’s Laquon Treadwell), and he is an interesting fantasy option this season that I truly like. Averaging 19.5 yards per catch last season, Carroo can be difficult to cover on crossing routes, digs, and on double moves, which could help the rookie get looks in the redzone. Overall, year one may not be a giant season for Carroo, but his redzone efficiency makes him an interesting draft target.
Projection: 30 receptions, 335 yards, three TD
Matthew Berry 2016 Tight End Rankings: 17th
After a solid start to the 2015 season, a chronic hamstring injury and the inability to make a connection with Ryan Tannehill unfortunately put a damper on Jordan Cameron’s Dolphins’ debut. Many fantasy owners were frustrated with the former Pro Bowler’s productivity, or lack thereof. Cameron did slightly better under interim head coach Dan Campbell (former tight end) having multiple catches in three out of four games, but the fantasy productivity just wasn’t there. Tight ends have seemed to fare well under Adam Gase and his offensive schemes, but that doesn’t mean I’m sold. Cameron is a solid TE2, and I personally like the rating.
I’d take Jordan Cameron over: Eric Ebron, Charles Clay, Jared Cook
Projection: 40 receptions, 445 yards, 5 TD
Sims is a solid backup TE2 who scored as many touchdowns as Jordan Cameron in 2015. He could see the field more because his stellar blocking on rushing plays.
Projection: 20 receptions, 200 yards, one TD
CBS 2016 Kicker Rating: 25th
Andrew Franks’ rookie season was muddled due to the fact that he had little opportunity to kick field goals. Franks made 13-of-16 attempts, with his three misses coming from 40-yards or further. The former undrafted kicker has a strong leg, and considering how the Dolphins are looking to put up more than 20 points per game, I’m actually quite fond of Franks this fantasy season.
I’d take Andrew Franks over: Robbie Gould, Nick Folk, Josh Brown
Projection: 17-of-19 FG
Do you agree with these predictions? Comment below and tell us who you think will be Miami’s fantasy savior will be in 2016.