Dolphins continue to be fantasy football’s right answer

The fantasy gods had a laugh during Week 6’s first window. Most games fell under their totals. A slew of big-name players got hurt. An unbeaten juggernaut took its first loss.

You don’t try to win a week like this, you try to survive it.

Thank goodness for safe harbors, like Miami. When all else fails in 2023, we look to the Dolphins.

When Sunday’s first window closed, three of the top four fantasy scorers were Dolphins. We’ve heard this song before. Raheem Mostert scored three touchdowns and rushed for 115 yards; Tyreek Hill posted a 6-163-1 dessert; and Tua Tagovailoa had three touchdown passes and 262 yards. And the only non-Miami in the Fab Four came from the other side of that game; Adam Thielen continued his brilliant ageless season, racking up a 11-115-1 masterpiece.

Mostert goes down as the biggest league-winning pick of the first six weeks. He’s already collected 11 touchdowns, he’s caught 18 passes, and he’s finished as a Top 3 back (in half-point PPR scoring) three different times. It’s a massive windfall for someone who’s Yahoo ADP was around 118 in the preseason.

Mostert’s magical mystery tour is well-documented. He’s in his age-31 season. He’s already been released seven different times. He’s also encountered numerous injuries, standard for most NFL running backs. Last season’s 212 touches were a career high. Mostert’s best fantasy finish was a RB20 chart in 2019, back with the 49ers.

For fantasy purposes, Mostert might be a forced hold. It’s difficult to let go of a surging back tied to this perfect a setup — Mike McDaniel is an elite play caller, and most defenses are scared silly by Miami’s outside speed. There will be red-zone opportunities and big rushing lanes against almost everyone. Nobody ever went broke making money.

Of course a shrewd fantasy manager might think about selling high, but can you convince one of your league mates that a 31-year-old surprise back with an extensive injury history is going to remain healthy all of this season? It might be a hard argument to win. And heck, if I didn’t really like the return on a Mostert trade, I wouldn’t try to talk myself into it.

Other backs will eventually get run here, of course. Salvon Ahmed had 34 yards and a touchdown Sunday, most of it in garbage time. Chris Brooks had one 28-yard run, and some other attempts that went nowhere. Jeff Wilson Jr. will return soon, and obviously De’Von Achane was torching the league before he hurt his knee last week.

One other thing that makes this offense fantasy gold is the narrowness of the usage. Tagovailoa only targeted six different players, with most of the attention going to Hill and Jaylen Waddle (7-51-1, nine targets). McDaniels knows it’s good to let your best players be your best players. The ancillary pieces seldom see the ball in Miami.

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The Dolphins will get a legitimate test next week at Philadelphia — both from the Eagles staunch defense, and the Philly offense on the other side. Then Miami hosts struggling New England in Week 8 (that’s going to be a sky-high spread) and a pinball-likely matchup awaits in Week 9 against Kansas City in Germany. The Dolphins are off in Week 10.

Your holiday plans will probably include the Dolphins, too. Miami hosts Dallas on Christmas Eve (Week 16), and heads to Baltimore on New Year’s Eve (championship week for most fantasy leagues). Here’s to your good health, Fins. You’ve been fantasy football’s right answer through the opening third of the season.

Note: This story will continue to be updated with more fantasy analysis off Sunday’s action.


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