The running back position is the cream of the crop when it comes to fantasy, as having a set running back or two can make your season, while having depth/handcuffs can be an invaluable bail-out option in case the unthinkable injury happens.
Along with looking at the Dolphins running backs, three of which could have some unique fantasy value this year, we’ll take a look at the Dolphins defense as well in terms of fantasy.MDD Lead Editor: Eric Galko
Reggie Bush, Running Back
Projection: 230 rush, 1150 yards, 7 TDs
Projection: 55 rec, 450 yards, 4 TDs, 2 FBL
Reggie Bush has claimed his best season(s) is ahead of himself, and he’s looking forward to being among the NFL’s top rushers this season. The Dolphins went about 400 carries as a team last year from their running back crew, a number I’d expect them to hit again. However, two things may limit Bush’s rushing success this year: depth at running back, and injuries.
As you’ll see below, Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller both will be looking for carries this year, and Joe Philbin has spread the ball in the backfield the past two years. Also, Bush stayed relatively injury free last year, the first time in his NFL career he did so for a whole season. The odds of that happening again are slip. Still, Bush should be at worst a 3rd running back in fantasy that could be a steal, or a fringe #1 running back, especially thanks to his likely 300 touches if he can stay healthy.
Daniel Thomas, Running Back
Projection: 95 rush, 400 yards, 4 TDs
Projection: 15 rec, 105 yards, 0 TDs, 1 FBL
Thomas struggled mightily last year as a runner, something slightly surprising based on his college tape on his ability to bounce through tackles with balance. Part of it likely was a lack of confidence and adjusting from the college game, two things that are only correctable with time and experience. 100 rushes isn’t out of the question even with Lamar Miller jostling for some as well, and he may get some goal line rushes on outside handoffs thanks to his size and ability to break tackles in space. Don’t expect much as a receiver however, and he’ll likely be out for most 3rd downs.
Lamar Miller, Running Back
Projection: 70 rush, 280 yards, 2 TDs
Projection: 25 Rec, 205 yards, 2 TDs, 2FBL
The role of the running back in the passing game is intriguing for now, but it remains to be seen how much those running backs will actually be thrown the ball. My hunch is that the athleticism and big play ability when Miller (or Reggie Bush) is lined up outside is more of a diversion. Still, I do expect Miller to get around 100 touches this year, with a high reception average and an inconsistent yards per run. 600 yards from scrimmage and 4 touchdowns works out about right, but if Reggie Bush goes down, he could get 60% of all of Reggie’s touches.
Projection: 18 PPG, 22 INTs, 2 Fumble Returns, 2 Def TDs
Projection: Top 12 Defense
Stars: DE Cameron Wake, MLB Karlos Dansby, CB Vontae Davis
These numbers are mainly based around how well the defense played the from Week 8 on last year. The Dolphins were a Top 10 defense in the NFL during that time, and most of these numbers are pro-rated from that time to a 16 game schedule. I’d actually expect a bit more struggles early in the year thanks to a new defense and some guys like Cameron Wake, Koi Misi, and Richard Marshall getting acclimated to unique positions for their skill sets.
However, the Dolphins seem to have few weaknesses defensively with the exception of weakside linebacker and a set number two cornerback. If guys like Koi Misi/Josh Kaddu can step up along with Sean Smith/Richard Marshall at cornerback, the Dolphins could easily be a Top 10 worthy defense in fantasy next year. At worst, they’ll be a quality backup to store in case things start to click by mid-season. Keep in mind, as well, they play the NFC West and AFC South this year, which means match-ups against the Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks, Colts, and Jaguars.