Ryan Tannehill’s non-contact injury sounds ominous for the Dolphins, and it has major fantasy implications. There are several big-name free agent quarterbacks floating around, but Dolphins coach Adam Gase is confident in backup Matt Moore’s ability to run the offense. Until the verdict has been reached on Tannehill’s knee, Moore is the man under center.
Tannehill isn’t exactly a fantasy stud, with an ESPN ADP of 170 before Thursday’s injury. He finished the 2016 season with 190.2 fantasy points, good for 27th among all NFL quarterbacks. But with a young wide receiver corps and a workhorse running back, many expected Tannehill to make strides in his development this season. Now that the concept is shelved for the time being, where does that leave Matt Moore?
For one, Moore is a capable backup. It’s his sixth year with the Dolphins, so the setting is familiar. Like Tannehill, he worked with Adam Gase last season and is comfortable with the offense. Moore started three games last season, including a four-touchdown performance on the road against the Jets. He went 2-1 as the starter, throwing for over 200 yards and two scores in every start.
Adam Gase knows how to handle quarterbacks. He made a name for himself in Denver, where he helped lead Peyton Manning to the Super Bowl, but also prepared Brock Osweiler for his NFL career. Then, as a coordinator in Chicago, Gase was able to handle Jay Cutler. The Bears weren’t good, but Cutler had one of the most efficient (and interception-free) seasons of his career.
Actually, this news only means more work for the running game. The Dolphins were a top-10 rushing team last season, despite only finishing over 100 rushing yards six times during the regular season. Jay Ajayi started training camp with a concussion, but he also had a slow start last season. Ajayi totalled 117 rushing yards after the first four weeks of the season, but exploded Week 5 and finished the season with over 1,200 yards.
Tannehill wasn’t a must-draft, but this definitely hurts his value. Ultimately, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker will be the ones who suffer the most. The Dolphins were 31st in passing attempts in their first year under Gase, and the strategy will likely be even more run-heavy without Tannehill. No, seriously, only the Buffalo Bills threw the ball less than the Dolphins last season. The Ravens attempted over 200 more passes than the Dolphins. That’s like, four games worth of passing attempts.
Tannehill wasn’t the guy, and Matt Moore still isn’t the guy. Stay away from the Dolphins, unless you’re grabbing a running back.