Fantasy football drafts are in full swing around the country, and no one knows this better than popular ESPN fantasy sports guru Matthew Berry.
This is a time of optimism in the NFL where many fantasy owners make the mistake of drafting with their hearts and not their minds. Therefore, there is a tendency to overdraft players on your favorite team.
We caught up with Berry over the weekend to get his thoughts on Miami, and whether it’s risky or wise to draft Dolphins players on your fantasy teams this year.
James Walker: Matthew, Mike Wallace always is a popular name with fantasy owners because of his big-play capability. How do you view his fantasy value in 2014?
Matthew Berry: I’m not, in general, a Mike Wallace fan. I haven’t been. It’s just too much inconsistency, frankly. Whether it’s Pittsburgh or Miami, obviously he’s a big name in fantasy, and so far in the last couple of years he’s not lived up to where he’s been drafted. He’s been drafted very high and he’s underperformed. Whether that’s scheme, whether that’s injury, whether that’s connection to the quarterback, who knows? But he just seems like an inconsistent player. I feel like sometimes when I watch Wallace, he gives up on routes too easily and sometimes has lapses in concentration. Having said all that, I actually think Mike Wallace is a sleeper this year and is sort of going under the radar. He’s certainly got a world of talent, and there’s no question he was misused last year by [former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman]. There’s no question about that at all. If he’s going to be in the DeSean Jackson role in Bill Lazor's offense, Mike Wallace has the ability to be a top-10 fantasy wide receiver. He's got that kind of skill. It's just a matter of can they get him the ball, can he stay consistent and can he stay on the field? I actually think the fantasy community in general is sleeping on the Dolphins as a whole, and specifically on Mike Wallace, because last year was such a mess. It's not a "sexy team." There’s not a lot of buzz coming out of training camp after being in the headlines so much last year. Miami is understandably taking a very low-key approach this year, which I think is helpful for the savvy fantasy owner.
Berry: Lamar Miller is another guy that I believe is a huge sleeper this year. In current ESPN.com drafts, Moreno actually goes ahead of Lamar Miller in a lot of cases. I think it's partially because Moreno had a huge fantasy year last year as a top-five fantasy running back with Denver. And, to be honest, Lamar Miller had a disappointing year last year. But I love Lamar Miller. He was somebody that I was way out in front of last year as a sleeper. Obviously, that call didn't work out for me (laughs). But I'm back in on the Lamar Miller bandwagon. I will say that I think it remains to be seen given the health of Moreno and once both guys are healthy. Given how many offensive snaps the Dolphins want to run this year and the pace of the game they want to do it, I think there is enough work for both guys. Lamar Miller, potentially in the "LeSean McCoy role," is a guy who is going way outside the top 20. But Miller could sneak inside the top 20. You wouldn’t want him as one of your top two running backs. But as a No. 3 or No. 4 running back, I think he’s a steal because he’s a guy who has a lot of skill and who hasn’t been utilized correctly yet.
Walker: Opinions continue to vary on Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. What is your take on Tannehill in terms of fantasy value?
Berry: I don’t think Tannehill is being taken very high. But, again, this is one of those things where you may consider him if you’re in a two quarterback league or wait on quarterbacks and want to play matchups. I don't have him as a top-15 quarterback, but I can see him sneaking into the top 15 in a high, up-tempo offense. There is a lot of talent in Miami. It's just a matter of the right fit and getting it all together. But in an up-tempo offense and the success Bill Lazor had with Nick Foles last year, you look at something like that. You also look at Tannehill's physical skills that he has and you think, "Maybe it's not outside the realm of possibility." So he's a guy who's going way late in drafts -- if he's being drafted at all -- in ESPN.com fantasy drafts. But my one take on the Dolphins is that fantasy owners are sleeping on the Dolphins across the board. There definitely is going to be fantasy points to be had out of this team. None of these players on the team are going high at all in drafts.