Miami Dolphins Early August Scouting Report
Jimmy The Finger
I’m writing this the day before Miami’s first pre-season game. Barring catastrophic injury can’t imagine many questions will be answered.
And questions we have. At this point The Fins have nothing but questions. Fantasy-wise that makes drafting almost any Dolphin a gamble.
The main question, of course, is new Head Coach Brian Flores. How much of "The Patriot Way" will he bring to Miami? How much of "The Patriot Way" does this guy even know? Will he be worth a damn as a Head Coach? Or will he be another in the long line of putzes the Miami Dolphins have hired over the past couple decades?
Immediate Fantasy ramifications:
Quarterback. (Ya THINK?) The Fins brought in Ryan Fitzpatrick, then traded a 2nd Round Draft Pick for Josh Rosen. So far, Fitzpatrick has seemed to be doing better, though Rosen’s had his moments. Still a developing situation. Fitzpatrick is streaky. Some days he looks like the second coming of Peyton Manning, next day he looks like the second coming of Mark Sanchez. My best guess is Fitzpatrick will probably start the Season under center, but I find it hard to believe the Fins won’t give Rosen a shot at some point, see what they’ve got, figure out how much of a priority Quarterback may be heading into next year’s draft.
At least that’s the intelligent way to proceed. We can’t forget we are talking about the Miami Dolphins here, so that ship has sailed. Owner Stephen Ross has turned over control to GM Chris Grier. These are the two people most responsible for the mess in which the Fins currently find themselves.
Running Back. If you’ve been following reports you know the Big Buzz has been 2nd Year RB Kalen Ballage getting starting reps over the under-utilized Kenyan Drake. We have much to discuss on this front. At first it may seem inconceivable the Fins are actually going with Ballage given the talent and potential Drake has shown. Ballage was my 2nd Ranked Running Back in last year’s Draft. He’s big and he’s fast, and a capable receiver coming out of the backfield. His stats may look good from last Season, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, but that’s based on 36 Rushes for 191 yards. One of those carries, however, was a 75 Yard TD. Take that out of the equation, Ballage rushed 35 times for 116, averaging 3.31 yards per carry. Compare that to Kenyan Drake, who averaged 4.8 in 2017 (644 yards on 133 attempts) and 4.5 in 2018 (535 yards on 120 attempts, with 4 TDs), catching 53 passes for 477 yards and 5 TDs last year. You would think Drake has certainly earned a shot to be featured. I’ve seen some Fantasy sites who suggest he might not have the physique, but he’s 6’1" and 212 lbs.
It might boil down to how much of "The Patriot Way" Head Coach Brian Flores brings with him, for The (Cow) Patties are renowned for utilizing multiple backs. It is perhaps important to further note the Fins Offensive Coordinator, Chad O’Shea, came with Flores from New England, where he had been Wide Receivers Coach.
On the other hand, we might also consider these guys might just be idiots who don’t know how to properly evaluate and/or utilize the talent on their roster. Which, of course, has become "The Dolphin Way."
Wide Receiver. Kenny Stills has played lights out whenever given the chance, is probably the surest thing of all Miami receivers. How much of a sure thing is the question here. Given the unknown Offensive Coordinator, not knowing who’ll be starting at QB, at best Stills might be a WR2, though drafting him as such does come with an element of risk. Starting opposite of him will probably be DeVante Parker – a.k.a. Mr. Potential. Parker has all the tools to be a very good receiver, but he gets a hangnail he’s worthless. Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant have also shown flashes, when healthy, but it’s impossible to predict how many targets any of these wide outs might receive. Also, we’ve seen reports Preston Williams has been shining in camp. He seems like the kind of player somebody in your League will take a flyer on, ending up dropping week two or three.
Tight End. When Miami Draft Mike Gesicki I thought he’d be the best receiving Tight End to hit the League since Jimmy Graham. He didn’t show much last Season, and reports out of camp thus far have not been encouraging. Of course, most talk about his deficiencies as a blocker, which might simply indicate a failure on the part of the coaches to evaluate and/or utilize his true talents (see previous paragraph), but the Fins currently have six TEs on the roster and once you get past Gesicki none have much Fantasy value. Having played Fantasy Football since the 1980s, when it comes to Tight Ends I look at the Quarterback. Some use their TEs, some don’t. Gesicki might still be worth a flier if Ryan Fitzpatrick wins the starting job, for he has shown a tendency to go to his Tight End. I don’t know about Josh Rosen; given the situation he was thrown into last Season in Arizona you simply cannot make any intelligent assessments of his ability.
In conclusion, I know many of you will be Drafting your Fantasy teams over the next couple weeks. The one phrase from this dispatch which you should remember is "element of risk." At this point it would seem you are taking a flier on any Dolphin player, no matter where you Draft them. As a lifelong Fins Fan I am certainly hoping Brian Flores and the coaching staff he has assembled are better than the succession of idiots Miami has hired in recent memory, but the jury’s still out on that one. For the time being, these are guys hired by GM Chris Grier, who has the full faith and confidence of team owner Stephen Ross, and these guys are batting Zero for the 21st Century.
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Sunday, September 13th, 2020
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