Fantasy football draft season is fast approaching. Prep to win your league with SI.com's ongoing preview, including team-by-team breakdowns that examine each club's key fantasy storyline and much more.
Key fantasy storyline
There's one thing we learned about Joe Philbin in his first year as the Dolphins' head coach: He isn't afraid of letting veterans go. Reggie Bush, Jake Long, Karlos Dansby, Anthony Fasano and Davone Bess are all gone; in return, the Dophins face question marks.
Philbin better be sure that the players he brings in are better.
A lot of the onus falls upon second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was one part promise and two parts frustrating as a rookie. Philbin is a rhythm-pass-happy coach, and he signed free-agent receiver Mike Wallace from Pittsburgh to give Tannehill a legitimate target down field. Tannehill has a lot of room to grow, despite the fact that there's hardly anywhere else to go but up.
In place of Bush is second-year Miami Hurricane product Lamar Miller, who should hold off Daniel Thomas and Florida Gators rookie Mike Gillislee as the feature back. Miller has elite potential but the Dolphins need to find answers along an offensive line that lost a franchise player in Long.
Miami is a bit short on reliable fantasy options going into the season, but that presents the opportunity for sleepers here. There could some late-round gems, including Tannehill and free-agent signee Dustin Keller at tight end.
|Miami Dolphins' 2013 schedule|
|Including a look at how the Dolphins' upcoming foes fared defensively in fantasy last season|
The Dolphins quietly will play a second-place schedule this season, but other than games against the Ravens, Bengals, Steelers and perhaps the Jets, you shouldn't feel compelled to sit many of your Dolphins because of an unfavorable matchup. On the other side of the ledger, there aren't many easy ones for the Dolphins either. Players need to see major improvements in their second year under Philbin in order to earn a fantasy owner's trust.
QB: Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore
RB: Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Mike Gillislee, Marcus Thigpen
WR: Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Armon Binns, Rishard Matthews
TE: Dustin Keller, Michael Egnew, Dion Sims
K: Caleb Surgis
|Miami Dolphins' 2012 defensive rankings|
The Dolphins have some intriguing playmakers on defense, namely Cameron Wake. They've also added free agent linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, and they traded up to draft pass-rushing 4-3 defensive end Dion Jordan from Oregon with the third-overall pick. The Dolphins were a top-10 defense in terms of points against, but the yardage shouldn't be overly difficult to rack up, particularly if the offense picks up the pace in Tannehill's second year.
However, Miami will struggle against the pass unless second-rounder Jamar Taylor and third-rounder Will Davis can step up to contribute on the corner right away. The Dolphins might be better than we are giving them credit for defensively, but opponents shouldn't have a hard time in any given week. Wake (top 10 defensive lineman), Ellerbe (top 50 linebacker) and perhaps Jordan (top 50 defensive lineman) might be the only draft-worthy IDPs of their unit.