Kickoff: Sunday, September 11th, 1:00 PM ET
Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Florida
Betting Odds: MIA -3.5, 46.5 total via PFF.com
Writer: Callen Elslager (@callen_elslager on Twitter and Reddit)
New England Patriots
Mac Jones (Sit, QB2)
While Mac Jones impressed on an NFL level last season, his fantasy prospects leave little to be desired. After a season in which he only put up 3 performances of over 20 fantasy points, including none against the Dolphins, a continuously improving defense, the Patriots do not seem to be moving away from their run-first mentality, even with a new offensive coordinator at the helm. Add this all together and this is not a quarterback I’m looking to start, unless you are at the later end of a 2-QB league.
Damien Harris (Start, Flex), Rhamondre Stevenson (Sit, Flex)
The Patriots come into this season wanting to continue their run-first mentality, led on the ground by Damien Harris. While there is a clear split in this backfield, the Patriots’ offensive line matches up really well against the Dolphins’ defensive line, the sixth-best matchup for run blocking according to ProFootballFocus. With the likelihood that Damien Harris will get the touches at the goal line and find his way into the endzone, I like him as a flex option this week, but the split with Rhamondre Stevenson makes him difficult to rank as anything more than a flex. While I think Rhamondre Stevenson is fairly involved in the Patriots’ offense this week, he is difficult to recommend as anything more than a flex due to the split with Harris, with this matchup against Miami leaning more in the favor of the rushing-downs back.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Jakobi Meyers (Sit, Flex), DeVante Parker (Sit, Flex), Nelson Agholor (Sit), Hunter Henry (Start, TE2)
The Patriots wide receiver room seems to be a toss of a dart to see who the number one receiver will be each week. This matchup against Miami does not seem to be any different. With Jakobi Myers leading the receiving corps last season with a 23% target share per route run, it appears that Meyers will lead the way again this week. However, he is dealing with some leg issues and already gets the shorter passes from Mac Jones each week, making him a safer option without the upside you likely want to start in the flex. DeVante Parker, the former Miami Dolphin, likely to draw Xavien Howard, presents an intriguing stash; keep an eye on him to see how he opens up this New England offense more. But, we have to see how he is used in this offense before recommending any sort of start this week. However, there is some upside in this New England passing attack with Hunter Henry, as one of the late round tight end fliers that were taken at the end of drafts. With an 18% target share per route run last season, Henry presents that tight end upside you search for when streaming tight ends each week and this Miami matchup may be one to start him against. While he isn’t a locked-in starter, he is a viable streaming option if you need one.
Tua Tagovailoa (Start, QB2)
With the additions of Mike McDaniel as head coach and Tyreek Hill into this offense, there is a lot of intrigue around Tua Tagovailoa this coming season. While a matchup with New England is never one you want to try and attack, the upside Tagovailoa presents with this new-look offense is worth taking a shot on as a mid to low QB2.
Chase Edmonds (Start, RB2), Raheem Mostert (Sit, Flex)
Chase Edmonds was known during his tenure in Arizona as a pass-catching specialist, as shown by his 81% catch percentage last year. Bring him into an offense that targeted their running backs 16.1% of the time last season, but with a new head coach who led an offense that targeted its backs 20% of the time, there is plenty of reasons to like Edmonds. Edmonds’ pass-catching ability presents a safe floor as an RB2 in lineups. On the other hand, we still aren’t sure what the backfield will look like as to the potential goal line touches and whether that will be Raheem Mostert or Myles Gaskin‘s role on the team. While Mostert is listed as the RB2 and has the McDaniel touch from his time in San Francisco, this could easily become an annoying mess. I am not starting any other backs in Miami until we get a clearer picture.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tyreek Hill (Start, WR1), Jaylen Waddle (Start, WR2), Mike Gesicki (Sit)
Tyreek Hill was the big off-season acquisition from this offense and makes a straightforward decision for fantasy managers. Most likely to matchup against Jalen Mills, this is a matchup which Hill likely will be able to take advantage of and get open downfield. He is right on the border of a WR1 and WR2, but either way is an easy start this week, and likely every week. All reports out of Miami are positive about Jaylen Waddle and it seems that Waddle will suit up for Sunday’s matchup against New England, after battling a lower-body injury all throughout training camp. While Tyreek Hill will easily take a share of the targets from Waddle, there is no question that he will be the number 2 target in this offense. I understand some hesitation in starting him due to this injury and a matchup with New England, but with all reports positive out of practice, Waddle will be in my lineup this week. Training camp rumors haven’t been as kind to Mike Gesicki, with reports coming out that the Dolphins are having him focus more on blocking. Combine that with a very tough matchup against the Patriots and that means you can likely find a streaming option on waivers that presents a better play this week than Gesicki. I cannot recommend starting him until we see that there is still a role in the passing game for him, contrary to what was said and seen during the preseason.