By Stephen Dolan
The revived Miami Dolphins look to take down the perennial AFC East power New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football. Miami is 2-0 under interim head coach Dan Campbell while the Patriots are undefeated through the first seven weeks of the season and continue to roll over the divisional opponents. In case your fantasy team is comprised of players from these two teams, here is who we’d recommend you play.
Play: Tom Brady (vs. MIA)
Brady faced off against one of the best defenses in the NFL on Sunday in the New York Jets and still managed to throw for 355 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Sunday also marked the first time in Brady’s career that he led the team in rushing as he rushed four times for 15 yards and a touchdown. He faces a Miami defense that has been swarming of late but it will be difficult to knock Brady off his game.
Pass: Ryan Tannehill (vs. NE)
Tannehill posted his best game of the season, and perhaps the best game of his career, completing 18 of his 19 pass attempts for 282 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions as the Dolphins destroyed the Houston Texans. Miami’s offense has been clicking since head coach Joe Philbin was relieved of his duties. Tannehill would be a good option, but you shouldn’t start him over arguably the best quarterback in the NFL.
Play: Lamar Miller (vs. NE)
Miller had the best game of his career on Sunday rushing 14 times for 175 yards and a touchdown while also catching three passes for 61 yards and another score, all in the first half against Houston. In the two games since Philbin’s departure, Miller has posted 288 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground on 33 carries. He is facing a Patriots defense that is allowing 110.3 yards per game, which ranks 19th in the NFL.
Pass: LeGarrette Blount (vs. MIA)
Blount was abysmal on Sunday against the Jets rushing three times for negative-three yards and no touchdowns. It was a letdown for a bruising back coming off of a strong game against Indianapolis in which he rushed 16 times for 93 yards and a touchdown. Miami’s run defense hasn’t been its strong suit as they rank 30th in the NFL, but pass on him in favor of the white-hot Miller.
Play: Julian Edelman (vs. MIA)
Edelman has been the recipient of a lot of Tom Brady’s targets as he has 19 targets over his last two games, parlaying that into 11 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Miami features a strong secondary that ranks ninth in the NFL, allowing 1,519 receiving yards through their first six games of the season, but Edelman will still certainly get his share of catches with Brady delivering the football.
Pass: Kenny Stills (vs. NE)
Yeah, remember him? He was acquired from the New Orleans Saints in the offseason to be the speedy, deep threat the Dolphins needed after trading Mike Wallace to the Minnesota Vikings. Stills did not record a catch in Sunday’s onslaught of the Texans and had just two receptions for 46 yards the week before against the Titans. Until Stills proves to be a vital cog in Miami’s offense, roll with other options.
Play: Rob Gronkowski (vs. MIA)
Gronkowski basked in Brady’s 355-yard performance on Sunday as he hauled in 11 receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown. Gronkowski has just one game this season in which he has failed to record 100 receiving yards and/or failed to score a touchdown. He is a match-up nightmare and the Dolphins can only hope to contain him on Thursday night. Play Gronkowski.
Pass: Jordan Cameron (vs.NE)
Cameron is a quality tight end in his own right as he stands 6-foot-5 with wide receiver-like tendencies, but he isn’t the player that Gronkowski is for the Patriots. Cameron caught two passes for 23 yards on Sunday, which made it four consecutive underwhelming performances as he has posted games with 16, 19, 30 and 23 receiving yards with just one touchdown. Pass on Cameron.
Play: Stephen Gostkowski (vs. MIA)
Pass: Andrew Franks (vs. NE)
Steve Dolan is an MBA student at Villanova University and a graduate of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University. Steve co-founded Whiz Wit Sports, a Philadelphia-centric sports blog, in March 2011 growing the site to win PHL 17’s Best Local Blogger on the Philly Hot List in 2013.