Training Camp Preview: Rookies 7/21, Veterans 7/24
The Dolphins are in rebuild mode and brought in new head coach Brian Flores, previously the linebackers coach in New England. Flores has had many positions on the NE staff going all the way back to 2004. He brought in Chad O’Shea as his OC who was also in New England as the wide receivers coach from 09-18′. These two guys have me excited for the future of the Dolphins franchise as they will try to implement things they have learned under Belichick all these years.
Miami brought in veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to hold the fort down for 2019 but also made a splashy trade for Josh Rosen in the draft. Early reports are that Fitzpatrick is the clear #1 and may have fantasy value for us this year, most likely as a QB2 in 2QB leagues. He might have some streaming worthy weeks early on. If the team can be competitive with Fitzpatrick, I’d expect him to keep getting starts until things start going south, which is most likely by the mid point of the season. The Dolphins will want to see what they have with Rosen this year before going into the 2020 draft where they are expected to have a top 5, top 10 pick. Overall, I wouldn’t blame you for ignoring these QBs completely in 2019.
The running backs in Miami are lead by Kenyan Drake and 2nd year Kalen Ballage. Kenyan Drake finished as the RB14 in PPR leagues last year, which is impressive considering Adam Gase used Frank Gore so much in running situations. Drake is a fantastic pass catcher and should be a PPR target for us in the 4th and sometimes 5th rounds. I’m expecting his receiving stats to be similar to last season (53rec, 477yds, 5TDS), but it wouldn’t surprise me if he improved on these numbers. Keep in mind, new OC Chad O’Shea worked in NE as the WRs coach, an offense that peppers it’s RBs with targets in the quick passing game. Factor in more carries and there’s no reason why Drake can’t be a sneaky RB1 this season. Behind Drake we have Kalen Ballage. Ballage was a 4th round pick in last years draft and had some nice moments last year, specifically a 12 carry, 123yd, 1TD performance against the Vikings in Week 15. Ballage is a better runner than pass catcher, so expect him to be in the mix with Drake for carries. Early reports out of Dolphins camp is that Ballage is struggling with the passing game, making me value Drake even more since we’re not concerned about him losing this role. After these top 2 backs, the Dolphins drafted Myles Gaskin in the 7th round and added Kenneth Farrow. We’ll monitor the rookie as well as Farrow to see if these guys can push Ballage for playing time.
Since we are not very excited about the QBs Fitzpatrick and Rosen, what can we expect from this Dolphin WR group? It’s definitely got some talent but remains capped by the QB play. DeVante Parker is getting a fresh start and has had another tremendous off season, so they say. Parker is being drafted in the double digit rounds and is a similar prospect to Zay Jones for me. Once we get this deep, you just won’t find many WR1s left, so he might be worth a shot. Parker should be a good fit with Fitzpatrick and can perhaps be a smaller version of Mike Evans for him as his go to guy. After Parker, we have Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson. Stills is a decent best ball play and can be similar to the DeSean Jackson role that Fitzpatrick had success with last year. Albert Wilson is back from injury and will be my favorite Miami WR to target because he is basically free in drafts. He is a quick slot type WR who can also stretch the field and be moved all over the formation. I’ll mention OC Chad O’Shea again here because the Patriots have had so much success with smaller quick WRs. After these top three guys, we’ll see Jakeem Grant, Brice Butler and rookie Preston Williams get mixed in. We won’t use any of these guys this year but they will get some opportunities.
The tight ends in Miami will be interesting because of the success that Patriot TEs have had. Second year Mike Gesicki should take a step forward this year and is an intriguing dynasty player. Fitzpatrick had success with OJ Howard last year so I’m open to Gesicki having TE streaming weeks this year. Behind Gesicki we have Dwayne Allen and Nick O’Leary. Allen will continue to be used as a blocker and O’Leary would be the backup for Gesicki.