Kickoff: Sunday, December 4th, 7:20pm PM ET
Location: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood California
Betting Odds: LAC +3, 52 O/U total via oddhsark.com
Writer: Dustin Ludke (@TheDunit13 on Twitter)
Tua Tagovailoa (Start, QB2)
It needs to be noted that Tua Tagovailoa left the game last week with an ankle injury but should play this week. Monitor practice reports and have a backup plan just in case. He did not have a great game before the injury with only 18 completions on 33 attempts. He only threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns but also had two interceptions and a fumble. It’s a game that Tua and the Dolphins will want to forget as they continue their playoff push. Luckily things get easier this week with the Chargers. The Bolts are giving up the up 16.96 points to quarterbacks which is the eleventh most this season, making it a good matchup for Tua. He may not have his wide receivers at 100% but you can still start him as he will be in the high QB2 range.
Raheem Mostert (Start, FLEX), Jeff Wilson (Start, FLEX)
Maybe the Jeff Wilson takeover in Miami was just fool’s gold. Perhaps he was seeing all those snaps and carries because Raheem Mostert was injured. Looking at Week 13, it looks like Mostert is the guy to have. He came back after missing a game and played on 61% of the team’s snaps. In the previous games with Wilson on the team, he saw under 50%. He led the team in carries with seven for 30 yards. Wilson fell from the 60% range to 37% and only got one carry for three yards. The team now faces the Chargers who are giving up the fourth most points to running backs at 27.2. It’s a great matchup for both the rushers. Who leads the backfield is the key question. I’m starting both as high-end FLEX plays this week. I know, super bold take. I can’t tell who will get the most work or carries. I think both will be fine given the good matchup. Even if you end up with the guy who ends up with the smaller share of the split, you should still get enough volume to be okay.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Tyreek Hill (Start, WR2), Jaylen Waddle (Start, WR3), Mike Gesicki (Sit), Durham Smythe (Sit)
The biggest question for the Dolphins will be the health and availability of Jaylen Waddle. Waddle left the game last week but did come back but was held to only one catch for nine yards. He only played on 52% of the team’s snaps which was down from his typical mind of 70%. It is the second week in a row where he has been below 70% so it can’t all be accredited to the injury. He did run 20 routes against the 49ers. This week against the Chargers he will most likely see coverage from the weaker corner in Asante Samuel Jr who rates at 57.8 in coverage. With the lingering leg injury and just an okay matchup, I’m moving Waddle to a WR3 this week. Even if he isn’t on the injury report and gets a full practice, I’m not sure he can get into the WR2 range.
Tyreek Hill will continue to be the main focal point of the passing game. He played on 85% of the team’s snaps and saw a whopping 14 targets, catching nine of them for 146 yards and a score. This could be a tough week for the former Chief. He will probably see coverage from Michael Davis who rates at 63.7 and will likely see a lot of safety help from the likes of Nasir Adderley who rates at 64.5. Hill has scored in three of the past four games and led the team in routes run in Week 13 with 34. The moment he signed with the Dolphins, he became the Alpha and should be started as a WR1. The Chargers are giving up the twelfth fewest points to wide receivers at 32.44. With the tough matchup, Hill probably fails to reach the WR1 range but you can trust him as a solid WR2.
I’m not starting Trent Sherfield even though he has scored in two of the last three games. He is playing under 70% of the team’s snaps and outside of the games where he scores he has been in flex range only twice. When he is on the field in three wide receiver sets, it moves Hill to the slot so Sherfield would get covered by Davis, and Hill would see Bryce Callahan who rates at 65.4. Hill played 52.9% of his routes from the slot. Sherfield is a touchdown-dependent start that I’m avoiding.
It’s a shame that Mike Gesicki has become an afterthought in this offense and that Durham Smythe has taken over as the pass-catching tight end. In Week 13 Smythe played 59% of the snaps and Gesicki only played 20%. Neither saw meaningful target volume. Smythe only ran 14 routes and got two targets. The Chargers are giving up the 11th most points to tight ends at 12.2. There just isn’t enough volume to start either of them, especially with Derwin James probably covering them.
Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert (Start, QB1)
Justin Herbert has been shaky the past five games after the BYE week. He only has one game where he was a QB1 and that came in Week 12 against Arizona. Week 13 against the Raiders was the first time he threw over 300 yards since Week 4 but only had one touchdown. He can right the ship this week against the Dolphins who are giving up the fifth most points to QBs at 20.29. He could get all of his receivers back this week and given the good matchup, you can start him as a solid QB1.
Austin Ekeler (Start, RB2), Joshua Kelley (Sit)
It was another slow day for Austin Ekeler in Week 13. He only saw 10 carries, on which he only managed 35 yards, and he added five receptions on six targets for 67 yards. The pass-catching work is keeping Ekeler from being a bust in recent weeks. He only played on 60% of the team’s snaps and ran 30 routes. He now faces the Dolphins who are giving up the 16th most points to running backs at 22.92. It’s not a great matchup for Ekeler and the lack of rushing volume hinders his upside. You are still starting him but you have to manage expectations. He should be in the RB2 range this week. He has the potential to get a top-five running back but with the trend of lower snaps and carry volume it seems less likely.
Joshua Kelley is the backup ahead of Isaiah Spiller. Kelley played on 43% of the team’s snaps and got seven carries. He shouldn’t be started but should be on your bench as a top-end handcuff if anything were to happen to Ekeler.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Keenan Allen (Start, WR1), Mike Williams (Sit), Josh Palmer (Start, WR2), Gerald Everett (Start, TE1) DeAndre Carter (Sit)
Week 13 was a true return to form for Keenan Allen. He saw 14 targets, catching six of them for 88 yards and a touchdown. It’s the most targets he has seen since Week 11 of the 2020 season. He played on 96% of the team’s snaps and now looks fully recovered from the injuries that have plagued him all season. He also led the team in routes run with 55. He did play 70.2% of his snaps from the slot position, which isn’t the preferred spot for this week. In the slot, he would draw coverage from Kader Kohou who rates at 74.5 by PFF.com. It’s a tough matchup for Allen but the Bolts should be able to move him around enough to get better matchups and allow the 10-year vet to get open. He should be a WR1 this week.
It remains to be seen whether Mike Williams will be active for this game. Even if he is, then he won’t be 100% dealing with the lingering ankle issue. It looks like Josh Palmer will continue to get starting reps. He has played on 90%+ in each of the past five games. He saw 11 targets in Week 13 and caught seven of them for 60 yards. He was second on the team in routes with 54. He will be covered primarily by Xavien Howard who rates at 56.9, making it a solid matchup for Palmer overall. The other starting corner for the Dolphins is Keion Crossen who rates at 53.2. The Dolphins as a whole are giving up 32.87 points to wide receivers which puts them at 17th overall. You can sit Mike Williams and start Palmer as a solid WR3.
I’m not gambling on either DeAndre Carter or Michael Bandy this week. Neither has been a significant fantasy piece unless they score. Carter did play on 60% of the team’s snaps and ran 42 routes but only saw two targets. He is behind tight end Gerald Everett in terms of reads for Herbert. Everett played one fewer snap than Carter but saw six targets on his 35 routes. Everett can be trusted as a TE1 this week against the Dolphins who are giving up the third most points to tight ends at 15.26. Given the matchup and volume, Everett could be the overall number-one tight end this week.