2014 Fantasy Football Sleeper: Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill – QB – Miami Dolphins
16 Games, 355-588 (60.4%), 3913 Yards, 24 TD’s, 17 INT Passing
40-238 Yards, 1 TD Rushing
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I have to admit that I really didn’t like Tannehill coming out of Texas A&M. I figured his college numbers were heavily inflated due to the spread offense that the Aggies ran. I definitely didn’t like him in Miami where the Dolphins were defunct of receiving options and saddled with a porous offensive line. The combo of Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman running the Dolphins offense especially didn’t inspire me.
But here we are just two years later and things are really looking up for the Miami Dolphins offense and for Ryan Tannehill. For starters, Tannehill has proven in his first two seasons that he is the type of QB who can make the players around him better. He has turned Charles Clay into a legitimate dual threat TE and has made Brian Hartline a steady PPR producer.
He has a swagger about him that isn’t to be mistaken as a pompous jackass, rather a strong confidence that there isn’t a play that he cannot make. It’s an attitude that is present in most of the great QB’s around the league and its definitely present in Tannehill. He isn’t afraid to step up in the pocket and deliver a strike while knowing that he is about to get blown up. Tannehill has very good size and strength for a QB as well. He can take a hit and get right back up.
As we discuss in the 2014 Fantasy Football Draft Guide, Quarterbacks take a major leap at age 25 or 26 depending on the age they entered the league and the number of starts they make in their first two seasons. So not only is Tannehill entering his third season but he is also 26 years old and thus ripe for a breakout season.
Another good thing for both the Dolphins and for Ryan Tannehill is the change in offensive coordinator this season. Mike Sherman has been Tannehill’s play caller for his entire adult life. But Sherman’s system is too simple and basic for the modern NFL. New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor worked with Chip Kelly and Nick Foles last year and will bring along a lot of predesigned roll outs and different formations to keep the defense on its heels. Lazor has a history with former Packers head coach Mike Holmgren which is why he was Joe Philbin’s choice to replace Mike Sherman. The Dolphins are going to run a very similar style to that of the Packers with some more up tempo passing plays. This style is going to fit players like Tannehill, Lamar Miller and Mike Wallace very well.
But the best thing that Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins have going for them this year is an entirely rebuilt offensive line. The Dolphins finished in the bottom half of the league in both run and pass blocking the past two years. Plus, we all know what happened with their offensive line between Jonathan Martina, Richie Incognito and that whole situation. This offseason the Dolphins went out and signed LT Brandon Albert away from the Kansas City Chiefs and RT Jason Fox from the Lions. As if that wasn’t enough, they also used their first round pick on OT Ja’Wuan James from Tennessee. James has the size, strength and footwork to be a starting caliber RT on day one. The Dolphins also used their third round pick on another OT Billy Turner from North Dakota State. This unit is now brimming with talent and will have all summer to work with each other to become great.
If you don’t realize the importance of a good offensive line and how it affects fantasy performances of the skill position players, then you simply aren’t ready for the next level of fantasy football. Behind every great fantasy performance of the last 30 years, there is a great offensive line paving the way. In our offensive line rankings in the 2014 Fantasy Football Draft Guide, we have the Dolphins offensive line ranked as the 5th best in the NFL. When you look at the teams ahead of them, the Eagles, Broncos, 49ers and Bengals are all expected to have very good offensive seasons. So, will the Dolphins.
Everything is set up for the Dolphins offense to have a real breakthrough season in 2014. Ryan Tannehill is obviously the heart and soul and thus should be the biggest breakout this season. He has the size, arm, experience, offensive system and offensive line to be among the top ten fantasy QB’s this season. With a healthy run game, weapons like Mike Wallace, Charles Clay and Jarvis Landry the numbers could be sizzling for Tannehill in 2014.
16 Games, 385-593 (64.9%), 4309 Yards, 28 TD’s, 15 INT
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