After completely dominating the Vikings on defense and doing enough offensively to win, the Patriots are back on the road against the Dolphins. Trips to Miami are always tough, but the Patriots have enough firepower to score some decent fantasy points, especially against a Dolphins D missing its top cornerback.
Once again, Tom Brady did enough to win, but didn’t post a barn-burning fantasy performance. While his interception wasn’t his fault, the lack of explosive plays and passing touchdowns is still a worrisome trend for Brady’s fantasy status. Thankfully, this Miami passing defense ranks 21st in the NFL, and will be without #1 corner Xavien Howard on Sunday. Brady is still a low-tier starter (probably around the 10th-best fantasy QB) thanks to the Pats’ running game, but his efficiency keeps a relatively high floor. Considering the way the Patriots completely dismantled Kirk Cousins and the Vikings O, Ryan Tannehill isn’t starter material. Even in the past two games, his points have come mostly from passing scores--he's only thrown for 339 yards. Leave him on your bench.
Sony Michel rushed for 112 yards back in Week 4, during the first meeting between these teams. Considering the way Miami has played the run since, he’ll be in for another big day. He’s a solid RB2 with some upside if he can hold onto red-zone touches. There should still be enough volume here and in the passing game to keep James White as a flex, especially in PPR. However, if Rex Burkhead continues to grab 1/3 of the snaps, White will be the first to feel the effects. Burkhead still doesn’t add enough at this point to start. Miami’s Frank Gore offers little upside, and Kenyan Drake doesn't see enough usage in the run game to merit a start.
Josh Gordon’s touchdown last week was a welcome one for fantasy owners. He hasn’t ascended to dominant WR1 status, but he has a solid WR2 floor with good upside, especially facing potential backups. Julian Edelman has a similar floor, but his declining target rate severely limits his potential. In PPR and deeper leagues I would call him a startable WR2, but in standard leagues he’s better suited as a flex. Cordarelle Patterson, Chris Hogan, and Philip Dorsett are all too niche to start. Meanwhile, the Dolphins' entire receiving corps is touchdown-dependent for fantasy relevance. If you own them for some reason, keep them benched.
Gronk failed to get involved again last week, and at this point it’s time to worry about his long-term sustainability. He hasn’t flexed his typical dominance in weeks, if this year at all. If you have another viable tight end option or can pick one up, consider replacing him. Despite carrying four tight ends on the roster, Miami doesn't use any one enough to start.
This game is hard to predict on both sides. Will the Patriots' historic struggles in Hard Rock Stadium continue, or should they roll over an overmatched Dolphins team. Will Ryan Tannehill and the Miami offense step up, or will this Pats D continue its recent success? I think the Pats are a good defensive play this week, though I would hesitate before starting the Dolphins. Stephen Gostkowski is a fine kicking option, as is Miami's Jason Sanders.
That's it for this fantasy breakdown. Enjoy your Sunday, and Go Pats!