Game Previews: All Fantasy Relevant Players For Week 5
Dolphins vs. Bengals
Will DeVante Parker make his second appearance this season?
Through 3 weeks, the Dolphins passing attack was based on end-arounds, reverses, shovel passes, and other gimmick plays. Getting the ball in space to weapons like Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson was proving to be wildly successful, as both receivers are quick enough to juke defenders and fast enough to blow by them afterward. The Dolphins haven’t had to rely on a traditional passing attack, which would be a boon to Kenny Stills. Danny Amendola has been largely unaffected since his job is getting open over the middle to move the chains on third downs. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, the Patriots were ready for the misdirection used by Ryan Tannehill and company, and once the Patriots started to rack up points, the Miami attack wasn’t able to pivot to a more traditional catch-up look. DeVante Parker has managed to find his way onto the field for 1 week this season, Week 3. During that game, Parker put up a 2-40 line, which given that it was his first action in weeks, was decent. Unfortunately, Parker has never met a soft-tissue injury he won’t suffer, tweaking his hamstring and quadriceps which forced him to miss Week 4. Had he been on the field, Parker possesses the physical tools to get open on the perimeter of the field and fight for the ball, which was something the Dolphins attack was sorely lacking when trying to draw closer. At this point, Parker has been limited in both practices this week, so his status is likely going to hinge on his practice status on Friday.
Despite early success, will this offense be less cute this week after last weeks debacle?
The Miami offense isn’t running a lot of plays in 2018. In 4 games, they have run 162 plays, though over the last couple of weeks they have dropped from around forty plays a game to around thirty. During both games, the Dolphins found themselves behind early, leading to them attempting to make bigger plays at the expense of picking up consistent chunks of yardage. Regrettably, many of us own a stake in the Miami ground game, considering that Kenyan Drake was viewed as an RB2 (and a 3rd to 4th round pick). One would think that the elusive Drake would continue to see targets and touches while the Dolphins are trying to make things happen, but he’s been written out of the game script for the last two weeks. This troubling trend is also very confounding, since Kenyan Drake is the best skill player on the Dolphins. Frank Gore had an ok game statistically in Week 4, though most of his production came after the Dolphins conceded and brought in Brock Osweiler to finish off the game. The Cincinnati Bengals defense isn’t a special unit, so it’s going to be up to the coaching staff to get the Dolphins offense in a position to move the ball. Adam Gase has been relatively quiet about his usage of his offensive assets, but you have to hope that someone is imploring him to actually try utilizing the run, if only to keep his defense fresh.
Can the defense keep the Dolphins in the game with their mounting injuries?
The Miami Dolphins defense has allowed opponents to put the team into a hole over the last couple of weeks. Just this week, starting CB Bobby McCain and starting DL Cameron Wake are joining starting LB Chase Allen on the ignominious list of defensive players not practicing or limited if they are. That is not a recipe for success against a Bengals team that has been firing on all cylinders before their starting RB Joe Mixon returns. Mixon is trending towards playing this week, which means Andy Dalton will have more weapons to target against a depleted Miami defense. We’ve learned over the last couple of weeks that the Dolphins coaching staff will abandon the run if the team falls behind by more than a score, so Kenyan Drake owners are silently praying that the Dolphins can hold up.
Can Andy Dalton keep it going?
Andy Dalton has been surprisingly good so far this year, but this week he faces a Dolphins secondary that’s given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks so far this year. Now, to be fair, they’ve faced Marcus Mariota and Sam Darnold as well as Derek Carr and Tom Brady, so some good quarterbacks and some not-so-good. They’ve also given up more points each week, so I’m not overly afraid of the Dolphins for Dalton, especially with the way he’s been playing. He should be a low-end QB1 this week.
Will it be the A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd show?
I expect as much in the passing game. Both A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd have been pretty productive. Obviously Green was expected, but Boyd has been a really nice surprise, logging two-straight games with at least 100 yards. I expect Green to be shadowed by Xavien Howard, which I think is a good advantage for Green, as Howard has been kind of mediocre in coverage this year, and Green has two inches of height and 20 pounds on him. Boyd also sees a pretty decent matchup against Minkah Fitzpatrick, so I think he warrants a flex play. John Ross is a dart throw at best in my opinion. Yes, he could break off a long touchdown, but he could also do absolutely nothing.
Is Joe Mixon coming back?
Yes, barring some kind of unforeseen setback, Joe Mixon should be back this week starting and ready to go. And lucky for him, he’ll be up against a Dolphins’ run defense that’s given up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs so far this year, including at least 100 yards in every game except one (and that was against the Jets who don’t have the best run game around). As for Giovani Bernard, he could still have some value in deeper PPR leagues.
Who fills the void left by Tyler Eifert?
Unfortunately, Tyler Eifert is gone for the year, so who fills in? I’m guessing a mix of C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Kroft, and I don’t think either warrant a start in anything but the deepest of leagues. If I had to pick one of the two, I think the advantage goes to Uzomah.