MDD Staff Writer: Chad Pullen
The Dolphins cut QB David Garrard on Tuesday, opening up a spot on the roster for another player. Miami may decide to sign someone right away, or they could wait until after week one when anyone signed won’t have a guaranteed contract. No indication yet which way the Dolphins are leaning.
One indication that has been made is that the Dolphins are thinking in terms of the future beginning now and each move they have made has reflected that including the release of Garrard. Miami is down to only four players in their 30’s, two of them just having turned 30, and another one being only the long snapper on the team. It’s clear, there is a youth movement in Miami and the team is going to build a foundation around their franchise quarterback, Ryan Tannehill.
Reggie Bush RB
Tough match up against a stout Houston defense. Without WR Brandon Marshall to worry and a rookie QB under center to boot, opposing defenses will now key in on Reggie as the main weapon in the Dolphins arsenal. This will make for some rough times, however, Bush is versatile enough to possibly make some plays in the passing game and could gain some points that way. At the very least, the Dolphins lack a lot of other options so Bush should get the touches needed to possibly gain some fantasy points. He should be at least a #2 RB in most leagues.
Davone Bess WR
Bess now becomes the de facto number one receiver in Miami and while that could mean facing the top corners in the league from each team, it also means the most looks, and in fantasy, that’s all you can ask for sometimes. Having a star receiver who doesn’t see the ball thrown his way all day doesn’t help fantasy owners score points, even if Bess doesn’t match up with those guys, seeing 8-10 passes his direction could at least lead him to some cheap fantasy points. Solid flex option at best this week, don’t start him if you don’t have too.
Dan Carpenter K
It’s possible that Carpenter is the Dolphins most valuable fantasy option the entire season. He has the leg enough to kick 50+ yard field goals, as well as accurate enough to not lose his job at any point this season, and lastly he has an offense that should be good enough to move the ball between the 20’s, but not yet proven enough to do much damage in the red zone. Add all that up, and Carp could see quite a few three field goal games plus a few from distance. In Houston, a dome stadium, with a defense that doesn’t allow a whole lot of touchdowns, Carpenter could be asked to drill a few long distance field goals which would make fantasy owners very happy. Solid starter in week 1 over any other kicker not named Janikowski.
Sleeper, Charles Clay TE
Clay is more of a season sleeper than just week 1, but it’s possible that Clay breaks out in the seams vs Houston. Clay is probably on many waiver wires in smaller leagues but has the type of potential to be a quality fill in as the season progresses. If Houston focuses in on Bush and Bess too heavily, Clay could exploit that and pick up some yards in the middle of the field. Not a solid starter in week 1, but if your top TE is out or facing a very tough matchup, Clay could be available and productive in many leagues.
Super Sleeper(s), Rishard Mathews WR, Lamar Miller RB
Neither should have much impact in week 1; however both have a lot of upside and could be parts of the Dolphins future on offense. If you have to resort to either of these in week 1, you drafted poorly in your fantasy draft, or you are in a 45 team league. Either way, not recommended this week, but certainly worth keeping an eye on as the year progresses and the Dolphins start to identify when they want the younger players to start gaining experience.
Jake Long – knee
John Jerry – ankle
Brian Hartline – calf
Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett – inactivity
All questions heading into week one, however each appears to be practicing this week and preparing for Sunday and barring any setbacks, should all play in Houston. Hartline is the biggest question mark as he has not even played a single snap in preseason and no one can be sure what he’ll have in the tank. If he can come in completely healthy, it will be a big lift to the receiving core as well as help take some pressure and focus off of Davone Bess, but if he can’t go full speed yet, the Dolphins will need to sit him and decide what to do with him longer term.
Long is another big concern, especially given that he’s in charge of protecting the future of the franchise, however he’s played injured many times before and even at 70% of himself is still more than capable of doing his job. The concern is that he could continue to wear on the knee and have this be a season long nagging injury, something he and the Dolphins staff do not want.