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The three-year experiment with Adam Gase ended with a 23-25 record and one playoff appearance. The Dolphins only have two playoff appearance over the last 17 seasons. Miami stole a piece of the Patriots system by bringing in Brian Flores to take over as the head coach.
Flores worked in New England’s system for 15 years with a variety of jobs. Over the last eight seasons, Brian worked on the defensive side of the ball as a defensive assistant, safeties coach, and linebackers coach. He’s been a part of four Super Bowl winnings teams and seven AFC Championships. Flores will be making a significant step up in job.
Patrick Graham will take over as the defensive coordinator. He has ties as well to the Patriots (seven years) while spending the previous three seasons with the Giants (defensive line coach) and the Packers (linebacker coach).
Miami named Chad O’Shea as the offensive coordinator. The common theme in 2019 for Miami’s new coaching staff is pulling away from the Patriots’ staff. O’Shea has been the wide receivers coach for New England for the last decade. Chad has six other seasons of experience coaching in the NFL.
Last year the Dolphins ranked 31st in offensive yards gain and 26th in points scored (319). They scored 38 more points than 2017 (281), but their defense allowed 40 more points. Miami allowed 433 points (27th) with a poor ranking as well in yards allowed (29th).
The Dolphins tried to become more balanced on offense last year, which led to a 45/55 percent split in run and pass plays compared to 38/62 in 2017.
Miami gained an impressive 4.7 yards per rush last year, but they only scored seven rushing TDs with 12 rushes over 20 yards. The Dolphins averaged only 23.2 runs per game due to losing many games.
Last year they finished with the third lowest number of passing attempts (455) in the league with reasonable passing TDs (26) while completing 64.2 percent of their passes.
Josh Rosen – In his rookie season, Rosen started 13 games. He finished with a 3-10 record with weakness in his completion rate (55.2) and yards per pass attempt (5.8) while throwing more Ints (14) than TDs (11). Over his last five starts, Josh only tossed one TD, but he did lower his mistakes (three Ints). Over this stretch, Rosen took 21 of his 45 sacks. He had over one TD in two games (252/2 and 136/3) with both games coming at home. His opportunity to pass the ball won’t be better in 2019 or play behind a better offensive line. I expect growth in his game while expecting him to be more of a game manager than an attractive Fantasy option in the season-long games. Miami still has a below-par core of receivers. Just for reference, here’s a look at his college scouting report written by me in 2018:
Over two and half seasons at UCLA, Rosen passed for 9,340 yards with 59 TDs and 26 Ints. His running ability is minimal in rushing plays, but he can sneak a TD or even extend some drives with his legs. He played many snaps from under center where he was a much better timing passer while adding ball fakes to move the deep safeties. Josh will make good pre-snap reads while getting the ball out quickly in his dropbacks from center. At the goal line, Rosen can throw fades on the outside or challenge the middle of the field with accuracy. His arm strength is below the NFL average, and he does have a history of injuries (shoulder in 2016 and two concussion in 2017). I like his pro feel, so he should improve quickly if given a starting opportunity.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – 2018 was a fun year for Fitzpatrick when he had a chance to start for the Bucs. He passed for over 400 yards in his first three games (417, 402, and 411) while delivering 12 combined TDs over this span. His play did take a step back in his other four starts (126/0, 243/4, 406/0, and 167/0) when Ryan threw more Ints (8) than TDs (4). Overall, his success showed Fitzpatrick could still play in the NFL if given enough receiving talent around him. He has a 50-75-1 record in his career with 190 TDs and 148 Ints. Only a backup going forward plus Miami lacks the skill in the passing game that Tampa showcased in 2018. His experience will work if asked to start over short stretches or make a late relief appearance.
Other Options: Jake Rudock
Kenyan Drake – Fantasy owners came away with a bad feeling about Drake in 2018. Miami gave too many carries to Frank Gore, which led to many low output games by Kenyan. In the end, he still ranked 14th in RB scoring in PPR leagues despite emptiness in Week 3 (3.00), Week 4 (2.60), Week 10 (5.80), and Week 15 (6,40) in Fantasy points. Drake offset some of his down showings by scoring 20+ Fantasy points in three games (24.50, 23.50, and 26.60) with each game coming in the road. Kenyan ended the year with 1,012 combined yards on 173 touches with nine TDs and 53 catches. He gained 4.5 yards per rush and 9.0 per catch, which shows his explosiveness. Despite success in catches, Drake struggled in pass protection leading to too many sacks (6) over the last nine games of the season. I like what he brings to the table when the ball is in his hands, but Kenyan has to want to be an every-down back to reach and impact level. I expect him to split touches again this year, which will help keep him fresh. If he figures out the mental game in pass protection while adding some fight in the trenches, Fantasy owners would be thrilled with his upside. I’ll raise his bar to 225 touches this year (ten runs per game with about four catches per week), which will lead to 1,200 combined yards with eight to ten TDs.
Kalen Ballage – Over his final four seasons at Arizona State, Ballage rushed for 1,858 yards with 76 catches and 26 TDs while playing time with other RBs. His best success came in his junior season (1,005 combined yards with 15 TDs and 44 catches. Kalen gained only 4.4 yards per rush in his college career. Power type runner with some pass-catching ability. His lack of a full-time job in college sets a lower bar in the NFL. In his 12 games of limited action in 2018, Ballege looked explosive at times. He gained 5.3 yards per rush, but 75 of his 191 yards came on one play. Over his other 35 runs, Kalen gained only 3.3 yards per carry. He chipped in with nine catches for 56 yards. His best two games came in Week 15 (12/123/1) and Week 17 (12/47). Last year Frank Gore had 168 touches for Miami. I expect his window to be between eight to ten touches per game. Ballage is the big back in this offense with a chance to be the favorite at the goal line for TDs. More of an insurance policy than a playable option.
Myles Gaskin – Based on experience running the ball, a Fantasy power won’t find a player in this year’s draft with a better resume. Over four seasons at Washington a starter, Gaskin average over 250 touches per year leading 5,888 combined yards with 62 TDs and 65 catches. Myles checked in at 5’9” and 205 lbs. at this seasons NFL combine. His strength (24 reps in the bench press) graded will while coming up a bit short in speed (4.58 40 yards dash) and quickness compared to the top RBs in the NFL. Gaskin sees the field well with the first step to get through tight holes. His short legs don’t match his frame, but his quick steps help him weave his way through traffic. Myles didn’t get many chances in the passing game while showing pass-catching hands. More than a change of pace back. I would rather own him as a handcuff to Kenyan Drake than Kalen Ballage. Gaskin needs to prove himself in pass protection.
Other Options: Kenneth Farrow
Kenny Stills – After playing well in 2017 (58/847/6), Stills never developing into a playable WR3 last year. His season started with a great game (4/106/2), but Kenny failed to catch more than passes in 13 of his next 14 games. His only other game of value on the year came in Week 13 (8/135/1). Stills gained fewer than 30 yards receiving in nine games. His catch rate (57.8) fell in line with his career resume (58.1). Over the last three seasons with Miami, Kenny scored 21 TDs in 47 games while averaging 15.5 yards per catch. There’s more here than his production last year if Miami can show improvement in the passing game. More of a WR5 for me in PPR leagues while being priced higher than I’m willing to pay. Upside of 60/900/6 if the breaks right for him.
DeVante Parker – After taking three months off from football to do baseball research, I was stunned to see Parker still on the Dolphins’ roster. Over his first four years in the NFL, DeVante has 163 catches for 2,217 yards and nine TDs on 280 targets while starting 31 of 54 games. Last year he played himself into a bench role, which led to his worst season (24/309/1 on 47 targets) of his career. Working in his favor in 2019 is a new coaching staff along with a change at quarterback. Parker battled a quad issue early in the season plus a shoulder injury in November. Based on his stats in 2016 (56/744/4) and 2017 (57/670/1), a Fantasy owner can still dream of a season of value in 2019. More of flier if the summer reports are positive. Start the bidding at 50 catches for 600 yards with a chance to surprise in TDs.
Albert Wilson – The training camp noise last season painted Wilson as possible value WR in 2018. Over his first four years in the NFL with the Chiefs, he caught 124 passes for 1,544 yards and eight TDs on 198 targets. His game did show growth in 2017 (42/554/3). Albert started last season as rotational receiver over the first three games (8/142/2 on 11 targets) before earning three starts over the next four games. He flashed in the sixth game (6/155/2) setting up a waiver wire frenzy. Unfortunately, a hip injury ended his season the following week. Wilson didn’t need surgery, but his recovery to full strength will be slow. His stats (26/391/4) over seven games last year project over an entire season would come to 59 catches for 893 yards and nine TDs. Keep an open mind plus follow his injury progress before making your draft day evaluation.
Other Options: Brice Butler, Jakeem Grant, Ricardo Louis, Isaiah Ford, Reece Horn
Mike Gesicki – In his first season in the NFL, Gesicki can go down as almost a no show. He caught 22 of his 32 targets for 202 yards and no TDs while starting seven games. Over the last eight games of the season, Mike only caught six balls for 56 yards on ten targets. In his previous two seasons at Penn State, Gesicki caught 105 passes for 1,242 yards and 15 TDs. He projects to be a pass catching TE with plus hands and upside in route running. Mike offers no value in blocking game leading to him having a rotational role in his rookie season. Gesicki needs to prove he can handle tight press coverage. In 2018, the Dolphins’ TEs caught only 39 catches for 386 yards and two TDs on 56 targets. Talent dictates opportunity. Gesicki failed to develop last season, but his starting point can’t be higher than the TE chances over the previous two years. The change in coaching staff should lead to a bump in TE targets, but he can’t be drafted higher than a TE3 in PPR leagues.
Other Options: Dwayne Allen, Nick O’Leary, Clive Walford, Durham Smythe
Jason Sanders – Miami only scored 38 TDs last year while creating 20 field goal tries. Sanders made the most of his limited opportunities by making 90 percent of his chances. He went 7-for-9 from 40 to 49 yards and 1-for-1 over 50 yards. Jason missed one of his 36 extra point tries. His success would draw attention if he played for a higher scoring team. Only a waiver wire option with a chance to be playable in a couple of games at home.
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