NFL Betting Guide – Week 12: Odds, lines, spreads, picks

Offseason with Cidolfus: Pre-Draft Recap

Pre-Draft Recap

I said I might do another one of these, time permitting. Little did I know that I’d leave my house only four times in the past month to go to the grocery store. I’ve found quite a bit of time hunkered down in my apartment. I think my dog is getting sick of me.
I know my wife is getting sick of me.
The Dolphins were active early in free agency. They made a lot of expected moves (at least in terms of what positional needs we prioritized) and some more surprising ones. This leaves the team in an interesting place headed into the draft .
In various discussions we’ve had over the past few weeks, I’ve tackled a couple cap questions, particularly in regards to the effective cap cost of rookie contracts as well as cap flexibility in 2021. In this offseason entry, I plan to address those topics and others to contextualize the way I see the draft shaking out.
If you missed any of my previous posts, find the links below. A lot of it is out of date at this point, but if you’d like a good laugh you can see how often I was wrong (although, compared to previous years, I think I did pretty well this year), take a look.

Remaining Free Agency Moves

Earlier this year, I projected a much more aggressive roster culling ahead of free agency than we ended up actually receiving. Aside from getting the departure of Reshad Jones right (admittedly, that one was a bit of a gimme), I also thought that by now we would have moved on from Albert Wilson, Taco Charlton, and Jakeem Grant to free up additional cap space. Instead, we dropped Kilgore (a move I considered unlikely), and--so far at least--have kept the others.
There’s still plenty of time for things to change ahead of the 55-man roster cutdown. As currently constructed, our roster has a logjam of players at both the wide receiver and defensive end positions (never thought I’d be saying that second bit already). The Dolphins have 11 wide receivers under contract and eight defensive ends. Several of these players are minimum salary types filling out the offseason roster for camp, but there are plenty of locks at both to make the roster as well relative to the number of expected roster spots available at each position.
Wide Receiver
Player Cap Charge Savings
Albert Wilson $10,833,344 $9,500,000
DeVante Parker $6,100,000 -$6,000,000
Jakeem Grant $4,380,000 -$1,800,000
Allen Hurns $2.883,333 $2,016,666
Mack Hollins $825,000 $825,000
Isaiah Ford $750,000 $750,000
Andy Jones $750,000 $750,000
Ricardo Louis $750,000 $750,000
Preston Williams $675,000 $671,666
Gary Jennings $675,000 $675,000
Terry Wright $610,000 $610,000
It’s a reasonable bet that the Dolphins will carry five wide receivers on the final 53-man roster. That’s how many we’ve kept every year for the past three seasons. That likely means half of the names above will be cut. DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant (now that his base salary for the 2020 season has been guaranteed) are locks for the roste. Their contracts make them more expensive to cut than to keep. Preston Williams should also be expected to return for obvious reasons.
That leaves two spots for the remaining eight guys, and I have to imagine that Allen Hurns--who signed an extension in the middle of last season--has an edge to keep his spot despite the potential cap savings. Isaiah Ford also came along when injuries pushed him to the top of the depth chart at the end of the season last year, convincing the team to pick him up as an exclusive rights free agent.
Obviously Albert Wilson fills a niche on the roster that most of the other guys don’t--unless we expect to see Jakeem Grant take a larger role as the team’s slot receiver. There’s been discussion that the team plans to use Mike Gesicki in a big slot role, but that doesn’t rule out keeping Wilson. It’s not unthinkable that we carry six wide receivers in 2020, especially with Chan Gailey as our offensive coordinator and the extra two roster spots granted by the new CBA. His spread concepts figure to see more multiple-receiver sets, after all. This especially makes sense given that we should expect Grant and Ford (or whoever earns a roster spot over Ford) to see more use on special teams than offense. With the extra roster spots available, maybe this is one of the places we use one.
Even should we keep him, I would prefer to see Wilson’s cap figure altered. There’s almost no way that he can live up to his $10.8 million cap charge in such a crowded field. If we do decide to keep him, I hope it involves a restructure and extension similar to the deal that Parker took in place of his fifth year option last year. He’s performed well in limited snaps, but his injury history and slow return last season may hurt his value moving forward, giving the team leverage to flex his remaining cap figure into a two-year contract. I suspect, though, that if that was going to happen, it already would have given the other extensions we’ve offered the plenty of our other receivers.
I also expected him to be cut by no, though.
Defensive Ends
Player Cap Charge Savings
Shaq Lawson $10,833,333 -$10,066,667
Emmanuel Ogbah $7,500,000 $0
Charles Harris $3,450,356 $291,559
Taco Charlton $1,832,541 $1,374,541
Trent Harris $750,000 $750,000
Avery Moss $750,000 $750,000
Zach Sieler $750,000 $750,000
Jonathan Ledbetter $750,000 $750,000
Lawson and Ogbah are our starting defensive ends in 2020. Headed into free agency, I expected defensive end to be a big target in the draft as well. Now I’m less certain. As a first round selection, Harris’s 2020 salary is mostly guaranteed, so we save almost nothing other than a roster spot by moving on from him. Teams rarely cut players that don’t offer cap savings, so barring someone outperforming him in camp, I expect him to be on the roster. That still leaves a five or six way battle for what remains of only three or four defensive end spots.
Consider also how many linebackers the Dolphins are likely to carry into the 2020 season: Kyle Van Noy, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Vince Biegel, Elandon Roberts, Raekwon McMillan, and Jerome Baker are virtual locks to make the roster--and that’s already six linebackers before we get to guys like Andrew Van Ginkel and Sam Eguavoen who are cheap and look to earn a spot based on their performance last season and their special teams value.
Our 2019 roster structure looked a lot more like that of the Patriots last year: fewer defensive linemen and more linebackers. We used 3-4 looks more often than we have in years past, and that means that we’re getting edge rushers from the linebackers as well. Signing Kyle Van Noy likely signals that we’ll continue to see plenty of this.
Realistically, of the bottom five guys on the list above, the one most likely to make the roster is probably the one who can be moved around the most successfully. If one of those guys can find productivity flexing between 4-3 DE and 3-4 DE or 4-3 DE and 3-4 OLB and be productive at both positions, then they’ll have a leg up making the roster.
Remaining Free Agency
Although it’s already April and less than two weeks from the NFL Draft, there are still a handful of free agents remaining at what might be considered positions of need. Two of the biggest names are Jadeveon Clowney and Yannick Ngakoue, both of whom are finding their markets to be lower than they initially anticipated (although Ngakoue’s situation is complicated by his tag designation). As detailed above, though, I think it unlikely that we bring in another defensive end--much less one that we can barely afford. Clowney’s asking price has reportedly fallen to the $17-18 million per year range, but that’s still out of our price range at this point.
Trading with the Vikings for Anthony Harris would make more sense than trying to acquire either Clowney and Ngakoue, but even that’s unlikely. Trading for Harris would be cheaper than trading for Ngakoue in terms of both draft assets required and the cost of his new contract, but it’s unlikely we would spend top money on safety after paying Byron Jones. While free safety is arguably the position we stand most to benefit from upgrading on defense, I can’t imagine a scenario where we become suitors for Harris with our current cap commitments at the position. Such a move would likely signal an impending trade of Xavien Howard.
As always, the elephant in the room is the quarterback situation. It remains our biggest position of need headed into the draft, and both Cam Newton and Jameis Winston are available. We don’t need to rehash my thoughts on free agent quarterbacks from my first post in this series, but you can guess where I stand on signing either of them. Hint: don’t.
It should be abundantly clear by now that the Dolphins made their moves early in free agency and we’re unlikely to do much more ahead of the draft. We’re in a comfortable place with our cap space and already carry 78 players on our roster. With fourteen draft picks in our back pocket for later this month, we’re already going to have to drop two players to meet the maximum offseason roster size of 90 players, unless of course we draft fewer than fourteen players because we’re losing some picks to move up. There’s also undrafted free agents who will get signed.
We can safely ignore any discussion about the Dolphins bringing any free agents in other than minimum contract players for the rest of the offseason.

Cap Space

So where does that leave us? Over The Cap calculates the Dolphins as having $23,886,772 in salary cap space remaining. With the roster filled out well past the top 51 contracts that actually count, it’s time to recalculate the effective cap cost of our rookie contracts. OTC lists our total rookie pool cost at $18,096,615. They’re wrong. For whatever reason, they’re missing one of our fourteen picks--number 154--received from Jacksonville via Pittsburgh. Good news? It doesn’t actually change our calculation since it’s value ($690,227) is lower than our cheapest contract in the top 51 on our roster ($750,000), so it costs us effectively nothing for now.
In fact, the bottom eight of our fourteen picks (rounds four and later) are all below the lowest contract on our top 51, so they’re all effectively free in terms of cap commitment. That leaves our top six draft picks displacing six $750,000 contracts at the bottom of our roster, bringing our effective salary cap cost total to $8,946,548. That leaves us with $14,940,224 in salary cap space for 2020. Barring any extensions, expect nearly all of that to roll over into 2021.
Importantly, where does this leave us for 2021? Based on the bump in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Over the Cap projects a base salary cap of $215,000,000 in 2021. With our current cap commitments and anticipated rollover, we’re likely to enter the 2021 season with $48,480,196 in available cap space.
That number is much lower than you might be seeing listed elsewhere, because I’ve included the cost of our this year’s draft class not only against this year’s cap (which reduces our amount for rollover as detailed above) but next year’s as well (which comes out to a whopping $23,458,157). Sites like Spotrac and OTC typically won’t price that in until after the draft and the players actually sign, and not without reason. Any trades in the draft can shift this amount pretty substantially, especially if we package one of our firsts to move up. It’s a good working figure at this point, though.
How about the way-too-early look ahead? Aside from the obvious move to cut Albert Wilson this season and save $9.5 million (yes, I’m going to keep banging this drum) or moving on from Julie’n Davenport after drafting tackles ($2,133,000 in savings), there are several players who can become cap casualties in 2021.
Player Cap Hit Cap Savings
Kyle Van Noy $13,900,000 $9,775,000
Xavien Howard $13,500,000 $9,300,000
Emmanuel Ogbah $7,500,000 $7,500,000
Bobby McCain $7,140,400 $5,659,600
Eric Rowe $5,050,000 $4,000,000
Jordan Howard $5,000,000 $5,000,000
Jakeem Grant $4,750,000 $2,950,000
Jesse Davis $4,585,000 $2,585,000
Allen Hurns $3,608,334 $3,175,000
Clayton Fejedelem $2,525,000 $2,525,000
Unless something has gone terribly wrong, many of these names are safe for 2021 (Van Noy and Ogbah top that list). Others might find themselves on the wrong end of a team looking to shift its roster around. If Howard is injured yet again, his contract becomes easy to move on from, especially as we’d still have Byron Jones. I’d bet that one of either McCain or Rowe isn’t with the Dolphins for the 2021 season. Others might find themselves on the right end of a team looking to lock a player down long term. If Ogbah is healthy and shows out all season, he could be in line for an extension that increases his APY moving forward while decreasing his 2021 APY.
In brief, players like McCain, Rowe, Howard, and Davis could all find themselves as cap casualties because they play positions that we are likely to target in this draft to find long-term replacements. Similarly, the logjam at wide receiver could see departures for Grant or Hurns in 2021, freeing up additional cap space.
That cap flexibility--having nearly $50 million in available cap space already and the ability to free up even more--is impressive considering our spending spree in the past few weeks. It’s also doubly important because 2021’s free agent includes several players likely to play starting or key depth roles in 2020 who will be free agents in 2021 including Kamu Grugier-Hill, Ted Karras, Vince Biegel, Matt Haack, Elandon Roberts, Raekwon McMillan, and Davon Godchaux. Players set to hit free agency in 2022 who might be up for extensions at the same time include Emmanuel Ogbah, Mike Gesicki, and Jerome Baker.
We’re unlikely to be active in 2021 free agency the way we were this year, but we have the cap health to re-sign who we wish from our own players without mortgaging our future. We entered the 2020 free agency season with an enormous amount of cap space and managed to spend aggressively (more money in new contracts than any other NFL team) without putting ourselves into a cap crunch for the future.

Positional Spending

I didn’t expect to sign Byron Jones mostly because I never thought that we would be paying two of the three highest-paid cornerbacks in the league on the same team. It’s obviously a move we can afford (as detailed above), but I’m not used to the secondary being a position in which we’ve aggressively invested resources. I wanted to take a closer look at how we’re spending our cap space by position groups by active cap spending (a total of $173,655,544 at time of writing). Let’s break it down.
Offense
. QB OL RB WR TE
Cap Charge $10,919,796 $21,564,640 $7,222,295 $26,521,667 $2,711,310
Percentage 6.29% 12.42% 4.16% 15.27% 1.56%
Defense and Special Teams
. DL LB DB ST
Cap Charge $27,358,247 $26,284,817 $47,416,972 $3,655,800
Percentage 15.75% 15.14% 27.31% 2.11%
These numbers will fluctuate significantly by the time we wittle the roster down to the final 55, but even now it’s apparent how this front office plans to build this team. A total of 58.2% of our active cap spending is going to defense. Consider also that the Dolphins are carrying an additional $18,177,506 in dead cap for defensive players while only carrying a tenth of that ($1,862,740) in dead cap for offensive players.
Expect quarterback, running back, offensive line to see the largest increases to this figure after the draft. Barring something unexpected, we’ll be drafting a quarterback at fifth overall (or higher), and with multiple openings on the offensive line, it’s possible (likely?) that we draft two offensive linemen in our first five selections. There’s a gaping hole at running back as well. Those high draft selections will be enough to move the needle in a significant way.
The number that jumps to the most immediate attention, of course, is our spending on defensive backs at nearly $50 million in total cap commitments for a total of $27.31% of active cap spending. This may be our new normal for a while. In the past three seasons, the Patriots have allocated 23.61%, 21.63%, and 23.62% of their total cap spending to the secondary. They’ve also done that while spending much more heavily on quarterback even with Brady on “bargain” deals. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this number go up in the short term either, as I think it’s likely we target a safety in the first or second rounds this year.
We’ve allocated more of our resources to the defensive line and linebacker positions than the Patriots have the past few years, but not by much. Our spending in both groups is boosted dramatically by our new free agents at the positions (Ogbah, Van Noy, and Lawson) and has been fueled by our absolutely dire pass rush situation.
Due to Fizpatrick’s contract, 2020 is likely to be our most expensive year at the quarterback position until 2024 when whatever rookie we draft could be retained on the fifth year option. The defensive secondary cost will likely come down in the near future as I think it’s unlikely Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe play out their current contracts, but in general we’re probably looking at splits roughly along these lines over the next few seasons.

2020 Free Agency Signings

Having looked at the money, let’s examine what that money bought us. Obviously this section is very subjective. As I’m sure many of you have noticed in plenty of other discussions on this subreddit, I’m positive on our signings as a whole. I try to be optimistic about the moves we make because grousing about them isn’t much fun.
Clayton Fejedelem: Three Years, $8,550,000, $3,000,000 Guaranteed
It always makes me uncomfortable when a new coach tries too hard to be the head coach he learned under. This has especially proved a concern for Belichick disciples who often try to jump right into being a hard ass without having earned the respect. Fortunately, that does not appear to be too much of a concern with Flores so far.
I bring up coaches mimicking their mentors here because even though Fejedelem wasn’t a Patriot, this signing reeks of the type of player that Belichick covets. Fejedelem checks so many boxes. He provides much-needed depth at a positional weakness from last season, he’s been a core special teams guy for the Bengals, and he’s a former team captain.
He costs under three million per year to bring depth at a position our front office clearly values, provides good special teams value, and he should fit with the type of team culture Flores is building. All of his guaranteed money is in 2020, and his contract is front-loaded as well. It’s a rock solid deal for someone who figures to be a solid player for us both on the field and in the locker room.
Ereck Flowers: Three Years, $30,000,000, $19,950,000 Guaranteed
I wish I had as much optimism about Flowers as I did about Fejedelem, but I’m less comfortable with this contract. It clearly fills a position of need, as we badly needed to improve our offensive line. In my Building the Offense entry in this series, I referred to Flowers as a competent guy who wouldn’t break the bank. I stand by the assertion he’s an improvement over any of the guards currently on our roster, but the $10 million per year number is a little higher than I expected.
While I understand that offensive line talent is increasingly at a premium, making Ereck Flowers the 14th-highest paid guard in the NFL after only one good season at the position in Washington is not without risk, especially with nearly two thirds of his contract fully guaranteed. What hurts more is that for $14 million per year, the Browns landed Jack Conklin--probably my top offensive line target in free agency--and the Chargers signed Bryan Bulaga--the Conklin consolation prize--for only $6.75 million per year. I would have preferred either of those to Flowers.
That said, it’s only fair to acknowledge that Flowers quickly became one of the top guards in a thinning market when both Brandon Scherff and Joe Thuney were tagged. Graham Glasgow, a similar prospect converted from center to guard, went for $11 million APY and Andrus Peat coming off of two poor seasons signed at $11.5 million APY. There’s an argument to be made that the guard market has just really closed the gap on tackles and Flowers got market rate.
This move, and the lack of a tackle signed in free agency, signals that our front office is confident that we can either successfully address both left and right tackle in the draft this year or that Jesse Davis can be a long-term solution at right guard. This shouldn’t be too surprising given Davis’s contract extension, but I’m not 100% on board with it.
If we’ve overpaid for Flowers’s services as I suspect, at least it’s only a three-year deal and we can move on with only $1 million in dead cap ahead of the 2022 season. Optimistically, Flowers continues to play up to his 2019 standard at guard and proves himself worthy of the contract as he comes home to Miami.
Kamu Grugier-Hill: One Year, $3,000,000, $2,000,000 Guaranteed
Although this signing is likely to draw comparisons to Fejedelem for very transparent reasons (they’re both defensive depth who figure as core special teams contributors who were team captains for their previous team), Grugier-Hill carries greater risk. Fortunately, this is reflected in his short-term deal. His 2019 season ended early due to a lower lumbar disc herniation and also missed time for other injuries.
If healthy, though, he brings a lot of the same mojo to the team as Fejedelem, with the added benefit of being one of several new Dolphins to bring championship experience to the team. As with Fejedelem, Grugier-Hill is the kind of guy who checks a lot of boxes: he’s cheap, he provides key depth and special teams value, he’s familiar with our defensive system, and he figures to be an immediate leader in a very young locker room.
Jordan Howard: Two Years, $9,750,000, $4,750,000 Guaranteed
Shocking nobody, I’m not high on signing Jordan Howard. Mostly because I’m not high on spending money on running backs in general, and paying a running back coming off an injury-shortened season makes me more nervous than at most positions. The Dolphins had the worst rushing attack in the NFL in 2019, though, and before his injury this year, Howard was on track again for a solid season in line for previous years. He’s a big bodied back who figures to split the load with the rookie we inevitably draft.
As a personal consolation, I can remind myself that none of his 2021 salary is guaranteed., so it’s essentially a one-year, prove-it deal.
Byron Jones: Five Years, $82,500,000, $46,000,000 Guaranteed
In my offseason entry on Building the Defense I wrote, “Frankly, Jones and Howard likely immediately becomes the best corner tandem in the NFL for the next couple seasons, and we’ve all seen how you can build a defense from the secondary with a rookie quarterback and find a lot of success. That said, I don’t know that our front office could swallow objections to paying what would likely be $30 million APY between two corners.”
I badly misjudged our front office’s priorities. While I said that if we did decide to address cornerback in free agency, it would be Byron Jones or bust, I didn’t take the possibility seriously. Some will have concerns that Jones doesn’t get enough interceptions to be made a top-paid defensive back in the NFL, but I take the same opinion towards interceptions as I do to sacks--they’re the gaudy number that get the attention and they’re obviously impactful, but they’re the rare high points that don’t speak to a player’s actual impact on a per-snap basis.
Byron Jones finished fourth in coverage snaps per reception last year (17.9), tied for second in coverage snaps per target (10.1), and fourth in yards per coverage snap (0.62). Opposite a ball hawk like Xavien Howard, it figures that Jones might see more targets and more opportunities for interceptions himself. As discussed above, building a defense from the back forward is a clear priority of this team. It might not have been the strategy I’d have embraced, but I get it, and it’s hard not to be excited about the potential of our new cornerback tandem.
Most importantly, we’re not committed beyond the 2020 season to huge spending at cornerback. Byron Jones’s contract makes him a lock for the roster through the 2022 season (age 30), but Xavien Howard has an out next year. If Howard proves once again to be unable to remain healthy, we can move on from him and still have one of the top corners in the league in 2021 on the roster.
Ted Karras: One Year, $4,000,000, $4,000,000 Guaranteed
This is not-so-low-key one of my favorite signings. I didn’t give Karras much of a look in my previous entry evaluating offensive free agent targets, and I’m honestly not sure how he slipped through the cracks. Karras acquitted himself well as a back-up at both center and guard and stepped up as New England’s starting center in 2019. He had a rough stretch in the middle of the season, but from week 12 onward through the wildcard round, Karras didn’t allow a single pressure.
Karras’s contract is a one-year, prove-it deal that gives us flexibility to play him at guard or center depending on who we pick up in the draft. A starting offensive lineman at $4,000,000 is good value no matter how you slice it, and Karras has upside to be a long-term solution whereas Kilgore was clearly a stopgap. It’s a lateral move in terms of cap cost, but an upgrade on the offensive line. While it doesn’t solve our biggest problem on the line (tackle), it helps.
Shaq Lawson, Three Years, $30,000,000, $21,000,000 Guaranteed
Lawson’s a decent candidate for the kind of player we might offer a more modest, short-term contract and see if he can improve with a change of scenery. If we strike out on bigger names in free agency, picking up Lawson and maybe another cheaper guy on the list to round out or defensive end depth alongside another edge rusher with one of our first five picks in the draft isn’t the worst strategy.
At least I’m not always wrong. In my assessment of the options to improve our edge rush, I expected that many impending free agents would not actually make it to free agency. Shaquil Barrett, Bud Dupree, and Matt Judon never hit the market. Yannick Ngakoue and Leonard Williams were franchise-tagged. Even the 49ers made moves to keep Arik Armstead.
Instead of paying bigger money to try and sign Jadeveon Clowney or Dante Fowler Jr., we went the cheaper route to bring on both Lawson and Ogbah. The combined cost of both of them is only marginally more than the tag amount for Ngakoue and Williams and less than Clowney was initially seeking.
Lawson’s deal comes in at 18th among 4-3 Defensive Ends. It’s very high on guarantees as a percentage of the contract, but it’s essentially a two-year deal with only $1,333,334 in dead money in 2022 if we decide to move on. Lawson’s deal also includes additional incentives for sacks and team achievements, and I can’t be mad about incentives on a deal. If the player meets them, we obviously can’t say they didn’t earn it.
A staple of Belichick defenses has been to rely on the scheme to generate pressure. Our strategy is looking similar. Our defense is prioritizing lockdown coverage rather than relying on individual pass rushing performance to get to the quarterback. Hopefully Lawson is able to take advantage. If not, it’s a two-year investment at a relatively modest amount for the position that we can move on from without major consequence. If nothing else, he’s almost certainly an upgrade over anything we already had.
Kyle Van Noy, Four Years, $51,000,000, $15,000,000 Guaranteed
Despite the gaudy numbers on the contract, Van Noy’s deal is structured extremely favorably to the Dolphins. His full guarantees include only $5.5 million in signing bonus, $6.5 million in 2020 roster bonus, and $3 million in 2020 base salary. Because his 2021 and 2022 base salaries become fully guaranteed on the fifth day of each league year, that means that if he flames out we can move on with minimal dead money. Any time you can walk away from a four-year deal in year two with only $4,125,000 in dead cap and $9,775,000 in cap savings should be considered a major coup.
With how often I’ve mentioned the Patriots defensive scheme, the fit for Van Noy in Miami is braindead obvious. He brings flexibility that few of our current linebackers and none of our defensive ends have. He’s solid in run defense, as a pass rusher, and even dropping back into coverage. We have guys who can do one or two of those things very well, but none right now who are above average (and consistent) across the board.
Van Noy is expensive for his position and he’s on the older side of the free agents we’ve signed (having just turned 29 shortly after signing), but he should be expected to be a key piece for our defensive scheme with the flexibility he brings to the table. Last year, I thought that Trey Flowers would be a good fit for us given the Patriots. Instead, he rejoined Matt Patricia up north and had a really solid year (seven sacks, fourteen hits, and 41 hurries alongside 33 defensive stops). I’m optimistic that Van Noy can have a similarly smooth transition to working under Flores in Miami.
Emmanuel Ogbah, Two Years, $15,000,000, $7,500,000 Guaranteed
There’s not a lot to be said about Ogbah’s deal that hasn’t already been said about Lawson, except that it’s even less of a financial commitment. Coming off of a career-best, but injury-shortened season, we’re betting on Ogbah to take the next step. The contract is very favorable to the Dolphins: it’s 26th among 4-3 Defensive Ends in terms of APY and has no guaranteed money in year two. As a result, it’s essentially a one year prove-it deal.
If Ogbah plays to his potential and is able to pick up where he left off before injury with the Chiefs, he’s likely to see an extension next year that will keep him with the team long term. If not, we move on no worse for the wear. If he’s a middle-of-the-road kind of guy as he has been for much of his career? Well, $7.5 million isn’t a whole lot for a defensive end who we can still use in rotation.
Signing both Ogbah and Lawson takes immense pressure off of the front office to draft a defensive end high. Considering that we signed Van Noy at linebacker, who figures to have a significant role on passing downs as well, I’d argue that we may not draft a defensive end in the first few rounds at all. Again, more on that later.
Elandon Roberts, One Year, $2,000,000, $1,000,000 Guaranteed
The Patriots were hard up against the cap this year after tagging Thuney, and Roberts was a free agency casualty as a result. This isn’t a big contract, but it’s a good one. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: he’s a defensive depth player who was a team captain who sees most of his impact on special teams and brings championship experience to our young roster.
Roberts saw a decreased workload at linebacker (where he saw a majority of his snaps as a run defender and in coverage) in 2019 because of his increased role on special teams, but he also saw work as a fullback (and even caught a touchdown against us in the final game of the regular season).
It’s pretty clear that Flores has a type.

Remaining Needs

Our most dire needs are obvious. We don’t have a long-term answer at quarterback. Aside from a gaping hole at left tackle, we could also stand to upgrade at right guard, right tackle, or even center depending on where we play Karras and Davis. After signing Jordan Howard, running back remains a priority as our depth at the position among the worst in the league. We only have two tight ends in the top 51 contracts on this team, and fans and the team alike really only have expectations for Gesicki.
It stands to reason based on positional spending alone that our biggest holes are on offense, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stand to improve on defense as well. If I had to rank needs?
Quarterback Offensive Tackle Guard or Center Free Safety Running Back Nose Tackle Tight End Linebacker
I expect that the most controversial part of this list will be the lack of defensive end. As I’ve suggested above, I don’t think we should be targeting the position as a priority following the signing of Ogbah and Lawson unless someone falls.
Both Ogbah and Lawson have excelled primarily as ends in 4-3 fronts, so expect that’s how we’ll use them most of the time. Ogbah has (at least to my knowledge) not seen much use as an outside linebacker in 4-3 looks and Lawson struggled with it early in his career in Buffalo. So while a pure 4-3 defensive end isn’t high on our list of needs, that doesn’t mean we won’t ignore pass rush entirely.
Van Noy figures to take snaps at one of our outside linebacker spots, exactly where he saw almost all of his snaps with the Patriots. Baker saw time both at the weak side and middle linebacker positions in 2019, and depending on our defensive front will likely continue that trend. These two are the only guys I see on our roster right now who figure as three-down backers unless McMillan makes a big step forward in coverage.
We also have a lot of depth at linebacker: Biegel saw a lot of snaps at outside linebacker last year and he’s returning; in the last two games Van Ginkel saw the majority of the games’ snaps at outside linebacker as well; McMillan and Eguavoen made up the majority of the rest of our snaps at middle linebacker. Except maybe Eguavoen, whose roster spot is the most tenuous of the group, these players all should expect to see continued rotational use.
There’s definitely a scenario where we look to improve our linebackers, and if there’s a guy who can be a three-down type of guy at middle linebacker or someone who flexes really outside in 4-3 and 3-4 looks, I could see us pulling the trigger in the right circumstances. Ultimately, though, I have both nose tackle and free safety listed higher on our list of needs because those are the positions where a major upgrade will bring us the biggest improvement.
For example, John Jenkins played the majority of our snaps at nose tackle in 2019 with Godchaux contributing some snaps there as well. We haven’t brought Jenkins back, and Godchaux’s probably better used at DE in 3-4 looks. Someone who can play rotationally at nose tackle would be a big boon for this defense, and fills a position where we really have no go-to guy. More importantly, that type of rotational player can be had outside of the first round entirely.
I don’t think many people would disagree about listed free safety as one of our top defensive needs. Bobby McCain is coming off of an injury shortened season. Before he was injured, he was having a rough transition to free safety. He got abused in coverage in five of his nine games played in 2019, allowing passer ratings of 139.6, 144.6, 104.2, 118.8, and 158.3.
At the time he signed his current contract, McCain was made the highest-paid slot corner in the NFL and he’s barely played the position since then. Not only would drafting a free safety likely improve upon McCain’s mediocre performance at the position last year, it would allow McCain to return to the position that earned him his contract. Given that the nickel defense is essentially the base defense these days, improving both free safety and nickel corner with one draft pick could improve our defense significantly.
The other needs listed above barely require commenting. Quarterback and offensive line lead our needs by a country mile, and both will almost certainly be addressed early. We need better running back talent to improve on our league-worst rushing in 2019. It’s not a question of if we will draft a running back, but rather when.
Many pundits and fans expect we’ll address the position in the first or second round. Much like my position on drafting a quarterback, I’ve talked to death (even by my standards) about how I feel about drafting running backs in the first round. Some will note the value of using the 26th pick to secure a fifth year option, but I’m not convinced. That fifth year option is just as valuable or more valuable at another position.
Moreover, when was the last time the Dolphins re-signed a running back? Not just a rookie--any running back? Frank Gore, Kenyan Drake, Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams, Lamar Miller, and Reggie Bush were all productive backs in the past decade who we let walk or actively traded away. You have to go all the way back to Ronnie Brown and Ricky Wiliams to find backs who received offers after their initial contracts with the Dolphins, and in both their cases we only gave them another year. Sure, this is a different front office, but that’s a trend that’s been true of this team through multiple front offices, and I’ve seen no indication that it’s likely to change.
Like with linebacker, I see tight end as a position where our depth could improve and wouldn’t be surprised to see us take a flyer late or jump on somebody we like in the middle rounds, but I don’t expect it to be a priority.
submitted by Cidolfus to miamidolphins [link] [comments]

Week 15 Matchup Strategy Guide - Part 3 (DFAroto)

Part 3 of 3

Part 1 Right Here: https://dfaroto.com/nfl/week-15-matchup-strategy-guide-part-1

Part 2 Right Here: https://dfaroto.com/nfl/week-15-matchup-strategy-guide-part-2

GLOSSARY

DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average): calculates a team's success based on the down-and-distance of each play during the season, then calculates how much more or less successful each team is compared to the league average.
DVOA Pass/Run Defense Rank: Team’s NFL rank in DVOA pass or run defense so far this season. #1 means best DEF against the pass/run, #32 means worst DEF against the pass/run.
Weighted DEFENSE: is adjusted so that earlier games in the season become gradually less important. It better reflects how the team was playing at the end of the season.
ATS = Against the spread
DVOA from https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef/2019

Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders (-6.5)

Jaguars ATS: 5-8-0 Raiders ATS: 6-7-0
Projected Team Totals: Jaguars 19.5 Raiders 26

Jaguars

Opp (OAK) Pass DVOA: #31
Opp (OAK) Run DVOA: #27
Opp (OAK) Weighted DEF: #31
Injuries to Watch DEF (OAK): LB Marquel Lee (Q) LB Kyle Wilber (Q) CB Daryl Worley (Q) S Erik Harris (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (JAX): WR DJ Chark (OUT)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): D.J. Chark (20%) Leonard Fournette (19%) Dede Westbrook (17%) Chris Conley (14%) Seth DeValve (11%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Leonard Fournette (77%, 18, 6) Ryquell Armstead (23%, 2, 2)

QB/WTE Breakdown

The Jags got blasted at home against the Chargers last week, and Gardner Minshew (2QB stream) did little to instill confidence that he is an upgrade over Nick Foles. While last week was a struggle, Minshew gets an extremely vulnerable Raiders secondary this time around. Oakland has the 31st ranked pass defense by DVOA, and has given up the 2nd most FPPG to QBs on the season. While it would be unwise to trust the rookie signal caller in a 1QB league, he makes for a possible streamer in 2QB or superflex leagues, and should be considered a mid-range QB2 with some upside in Sunday’s matchup. The loss of one of his top weapons does downgrade his outlook slightly, however..
DJ Chark has been ruled out for Week 15 with an ankle injury, leaving the Jags without their most explosive offensive playmaker. That should provide Dede Westbrook (upgrade) with an opportunity to see a high volume of targets against this leaky Raiders secondary. Oakland has allowed the 13th most FPPG to WRs, but their 31st ranked pass DVOA portrays a team that is quite vulnerable through the air. Chris Conley (upgrade) should also see a bump in usage, but he has been extremely boom or bust this season, and is reliant on big plays. Consider Westbrook a borderline WR2 under the circumstances, while Conley can be viewed as risk-reward WR3/4, just know his floor is extremely low. Keelan Cole will step into 3-WR sets with Chark on the sidelines, but he isn’t a realistic fantasy option at this point. None of the Jags TEs have been able to stand out after dealing with so many injuries, but Nick O’Leary did snag a TD last week. O’Leary is a hail mary TE2, although he does have a favorable matchup against a defense ceding the 4th most FPPG to TEs.
RB Breakdown
The running game didn’t have any more success than the passing game against the Chargers, as Leonard Fournette (auto-start) was held to 63 total scoreless yards. The Raiders are less vulnerable to the run than the pass, but have given up the 9th most FPPG to RBs, so Fournette remains a volume based RB1. He’s especially valuable in PPR leagues, as he is consistently among the RB target leaders each week. Ryquell Armstead (stash) is the clear handcuff to Fournette, so roster him if you want to have insurance through the playoffs.

Raiders

Opp (JAX) Pass DVOA: #21
Opp (JAX) Run DVOA: #31
Opp (JAX) Weighted DEF: #29
Injuries to Watch DEF (JAX): None
Injuries to Watch OFF (OAK): WR Hunter Renfrow (OUT) OT Trent Brown (Q) RB Josh Jacobs (Q, expected to play) WR Marcell Ateman (Q)
Key WCB matchups: Tyrell Williams vs. A.J. Bouye (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Darren Waller (19%) Hunter Renfrow (18%) Tyrell Williams (14%) Jalen Richard (11%) Zay Jones (10%) DeAndre Washington (8%) Josh Jacobs (7%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: DeAndre Washington (63%, 20, 7) Jalen Richard (38%, 9, 3)
QB/WTE Breakdown
A nightmare second half of the season continued for the Raiders last week in a blowout loss to the Titans, but Derek Carr (2QB only) was able to finish with a serviceable final fantasy line. Carr has gone over 21 points just once this season, so his ceiling is not something to get excited about. The Jags have given up the 11th most FPPG to QBs, so Carr has a reasonable floor, but can’t be viewed as anything more than a mid-range QB2. Leave him on the wire in most leagues.
A battle with plantar fasciitis might help to explain Tyrell Williams’ (drop) extreme dropoff over the second half of the season, but it appears the wideout will continue playing through the pain this week against the Jags. He hasn’t been a worthwhile starting option in quite some time, and the Jags surrender the 13th fewest FPPG to WRs, so consider him a TD or bust WR4, and keep him on your benches outside extremely deep leagues. Darren Waller (volume upgrade) is the real WR1 on this team, and his high weekly target floor makes him an attractive TE option at a position that is so heavily TD-dependent. The Jags have given up the 11th fewest FPPG to TEs, but Waller is too involved to be anything less than a top-6 TE1. Get him fired up this week to ensure you get a stable floor from that spot on your roster. No other Raiders pass catcher has emerged as fantasy relevant, so Waller is likely the only player that should be near a starting lineup this week.
RB Breakdown
Stud rookie RB Josh Jacobs (upgrade if healthy) was unable to play through his shoulder injury last week, leading to a workhorse level role for DeAndre Washington (stash). Jacobs currently plans to play on Sunday, so owners should put Washington on benches, and continue to leave Jalen Richard on the waiver wire. The Jags are an exploitable matchup on the ground - 4th most FPPG to RBs - so if Jacobs is active he needs to be in all lineups as a solid RB2. Washington should remain rostered as a solid handcuff.
Score Prediction: Raiders 21, Jaguars 20

Cleveland Browns (-2.5) at Arizona Cardinals

Browns ATS: 5-7-1 Cardinals ATS: 7-5-1
Projected Team Totals: Browns 25.5 Cardinals 23

Browns

Opp (ARI) Pass DVOA: #29
Opp (ARI) Run DVOA: #13
Opp (ARI) Weighted DEF: #26
Injuries to Watch DEF (ARI): CB Kevin Peterson (Q) LB Joe Walker (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (CLE): C JC Tretter (Q) OT Chris Hubbard (Q)
Key WCB matchups: Odell Beckham vs. Patrick Peterson (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Jarvis Landry (30%) Odell Beckham (23%) Kareem Hunt (17%) Antonio Callaway (12%) David Njoku (12%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Nick Chubb (70%, 16, 1) Kareem Hunt (62%, 11, 3)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Cleveland won the battle of Ohio last week, it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t without drama. Baker Mayfield (upgrade) was inconsistent yet again, throwing for only 192 scoreless yards, with two interceptions. He’s sandwiched two serviceable fantasy outings with three that weren’t over the last five, so a bounce back seems likely. Arizona has proven time and again they can’t guard anyone, ranking 29th in Pass DVOA and 26th in Weighted Defense - ceding 24.5 FPPG to QBs, and 25.4 to WRs. Mayfield becomes an appealing matchup based QB1 this week, consider him a top-10 option.
The Cleveland passing game has been a wasteland all season, with Jarvis Landry (upgrade PPR) being the only solid fantasy asset. Odell Beckham is having the worst season of his career, and is reportedly playing through a sports hernia. His expected shadow matchup with CB Patrick Peterson isn’t imposing, as Peterson has struggled against No. 1 WRs (Rotoworld). A viable fantasy day isn’t out of the question, yet OBJ is far from trustworthy at this point in the season, especially since we know now he’s been playing through injury. That being said, Arizona cedes explosive pass plays (20+yards) at a 12% clip, 3rd worst in the NFL (sharpfootballstats). Consider him a boom-or-bust WR2 in the great on-paper matchup. Landry on the other hand, has vacuumed up at least seven targets in every game over the last five weeks, clearing 10 targets in three out of five. He’s seeing monster usage, and there’s no reason to expect it to slow down. He’s a borderline WR1, and needs to be in all lineups. David Njoku returned last week, splitting time with fellow tight ends Stephen Carlson, and Ricky Seals-Jones. This is a smash spot for the position - ARI hemorrhages 13.1 FPPG to TEs, league worst - but with Njoku popping up on the injury report again with a knee issue, plus the timeshare at tight end, there really isn’t a viable fantasy play here.
RB Breakdown
Like many other backfields in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns are now utilizing a committee, to the dismay of Nick Chubb (upgrade standard) owners everywhere. Fortunately, both Chubb and Kareem Hunt (upgrade PPR) are seeing solid touch counts, and having both on the field at the same time has become a regular occurrence since Hunt became available. Arizona possesses a much better Run DVOA than Pass DVOA, but game-script and scoring opportunities should work in favor of the Cleveland backfield. Arizona plays at the 3rd fastest pace in the NFL, so there should be plenty of opportunities to go around. Consider Chubb an RB1, and Hunt a borderline RB2 play in PPR settings - ARI cedes 19.5 FPPG to the position.

Cardinals

Opp (CLE) Pass DVOA: #13
Opp (CLE) Run DVOA: #25
Opp (CLE) Weighted DEF: #19
Injuries to Watch DEF (CLE): DE Olivier Vernon (OUT) CB Eric Murray (OUT)
Injuries to Watch OFF (ARI): WR Andy Isabella (Q) OL Justin Pugh (Q)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Christian Kirk (24%) Larry Fitzgerald (19%) Kenyan Drake (16%) Pharoh Cooper (11%) KeeSean Johnson (9%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Kenyan Drake (65%, 14, 3) David Johnson (37%, 5, 2)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Cardinals season has taken a downward plunge in recent weeks, and Kyler Murray and company have only managed to score 24 combined points in back-to-back matchups (Rotoworld). Murray has made some downright silly mistakes, and while some of it can be chalked up to being a rookie, some mistakes shouldn’t be seen at the NFL level. His O-line isn’t doing him any favors either, he’s the most-sacked QB of 2019 (teamrankings.com). At home against Cleveland is the easiest matchup he’s seen in recent weeks, but it’s no cakewalk - Cleveland has a sturdy secondary, ranking in the top-half for Pass DVOA - and cedes just 18.2 FPPG to QBs and 20.6 to WRs. Still, Murray has demonstrated a high-floor through multiple tough matchups, and warrants every week QB1 consideration. Just be aware that although he always has boom potential, this week projects more as a floor performance.
Although he’s done little since his Week 10 explosion, Christian Kirk’s (upgrade volume) 8.8 targets per game rank 13th among wideouts this season (Rotoworld). Again, the matchup doesn’t scream boom week, but Cleveland has been inconsistent at best this season, and Kirk’s volume should keep him in the WR3 ranks. Larry Fitzgerald, after turning back the clock in the beginning of the season, has bottomed out over the second half. He shouldn’t be considered anything more than a low-end WR4, so look elsewhere. The auxiliary passing options shouldn't be considered for Arizona.
RB Breakdown
Like the Cleveland backfield, the Arizona backfield is devolving into a two man RBBC. Unlike Cleveland, it’s not bearing fruit in the way of fantasy points for either running back. Kenyan Drake has ceded snaps to David Johnson since the bye week, and at this point neither can be fully trusted. Drake is the preferred option, and the matchup is good on paper, but due to DJ’s involvement, he’s no more than a back-end RB2. DJ is a big-balls dart throw; it can’t be recommended. CLE cedes 18.6 FPPG to RBs.
Score Prediction: Browns 24, Cardinals 21

Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers (-10.5)

Falcons ATS: 5-8-0 49ers ATS: 8-4-1
Projected Team Totals: Falcons 18.75 49ers 29.25

Falcons

Opp (SF) Pass DVOA: #2
Opp (SF) Run DVOA: #9
Opp (SF) Weighted DEF: #2
Injuries to Watch DEF (SF): DE Dee Ford (OUT) DT DJ Jones (OUT) CB Richard Sherman (OUT) S Jaquiski Tartt (OUT) DT Jullian Taylor (OUT) CB K’Waun Williams (OUT)
Injuries to Watch OFF (ATL): OG James Carpenter (OUT) OT Ty Sambrailo (OUT)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Julio Jones (22%) Calvin Ridley (20%) Russell Gage (16%) Austin Hooper (16%) Devonta Freeman (11%) Christian Blake (10%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Devonta Freeman (67%, 21, 4) Brian Hill (19%, 9, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Atlanta’s second half resurgence continued against a rudderless Carolina team last week. Matt Ryan (downgrade) has returned to form of late, posting back-to-back solid fantasy performances. His ankle injury may have been the reason for the mid-season stumble, but either way, against a ferocious 49ers defense and without offensive weapon Calvin Ridley (OUT-IR), just isn’t the time to chase points. While the argument can be made that the San Francisco defense is banged up, they still possess most of the pass rushers that have carried them this season. Atlanta has struggled to keep Ryan upright, he’s been sacked the 5th most in the NFL (teamrankings). He’s no more than a back-end QB2 in a tough matchup - SF gives up just 15 FPPG to QBs and 17.9 to WRs.
Ridley’s injury vacated 20% of the target share to Atlanta’s pass catchers, and Russell Gage is the best bet to assume his snaps and some of his target share. Yet, he still projects as a distant third option to Julio Jones (upgrade volume) and Austin Hooper (upgrade volume). The remaining receivers split snaps evenly last week, and aren’t realistic options in the tough draw. Julio should be peppered with targets san Ridley, and should be treated as an every-week WR1 regardless of matchup. Same goes for Hooper, both should be active in most lineups.
RB Breakdown
Since returning from injury, Devonta Freeman (upgrade volume) has accumulated 20+ touches in two of three games. As long as he’s operating as the clear lead back and receiving the bulk of the touches, he’ll continue to be a floor-play RB2. The matchup is imposing - SF cedes just 12.2 FPPG to RBs - but Freeman’s volume should stabilize his floor, just don’t expect a big day.

49ers

Opp (ATL) Pass DVOA: #26
Opp (ATL) Run DVOA: #16
Opp (ATL) Weighted DEF: #23
Injuries to Watch DEF (ATL): DE Allen Bailey (OUT) CB Isaiah Oliver (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (SF): None
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): George Kittle (23%) Deebo Samuel (20%) Emmanuel Sanders (17%) Kendrick Bourne (12%) Ross Dwelley (12%) Tevin Coleman (8%) Raheem Mostert (5%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Raheem Mostert (60%, 12, 2) Matt Breida (18%, 7, 1) Tevin Coleman (16%, 3, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The 49ers won the game of the year last week, in an exciting shootout on the road against the New Orleans Saints, 48-46. Jimmy Garoppolo (upgrade) showed critics a side of him many thought he didn’t possess, by not just managing the game, but gun slinging his way to victory when facing a deficit. He may be more than an elite game manager, rolling up 349-yards passing, with four touchdowns and an interception. On tap is an exploitable secondary that has been dissected by opposing signal callers routinely - ATL cedes 22.1 FPPG to QBs and 24.3 to WRs - Jimmy G is a very attractive QB1 streaming option in the plus matchup.
The addition of Emmanuel Sanders (upgrade) and Deebo Samuel, with the emergence of Kendrick Bourne, has created an explosive receiving corps for the 49ers. The three have settled in as the fulltime wideouts, clearing up what used to be a mess of a rotation. Sanders and Samuel are both solid fantasy plays against an Atlanta team that boasts a true pass funnel; ranking much higher in Run DVOA than Pass DVOA. Adding to that, CB Desmond Trufant has been placed on IR, creating an even softer matchup. The concern is volume. Positive game-script early could erase the need for passing, so hopefully the injuries to San Francisco’s defense allow Atlanta to stay in the game. Consider Sanders a WR2, and Samuel an upside WR3. Kendrick Bourne is a no more than a DFS dart throw. George Kittle is an every week top-3 option at tight end. Fire him up - ATL cedes 7.5 FPPG to the position.
RB Breakdown
Two camps exist when it comes to the 49ers backfield. There are those that think Raheem Mostert has completed a hostile takeover, and is now the lead back. And there are those that think a Kyle Shanahan offense takes the hot hand approach, and that Matt Breida or Tevin Coleman could be next in-line to have the big week. Kyle Shanahan has stated that Mostert has “earned” his role as the lead ball-carrier, but we’ve seen that talk before from coaches, just look at Ronald Jones. Either way, Mostert has earned every-week RB2 consideration, but be warned, this backfield can change in an instant. Breida and Coleman are much riskier propositions, and can’t be started as more than desperation dart throws. They’ll likely still be involved in some capacity, but it’s not worth betting on.
Score Prediction: 49ers 30, Falcons 17

LA Rams (-1.5) at Dallas Cowboys

Rams ATS: 9-4-0 Cowboys ATS: 7-6-0
Projected Team Totals: Rams 25.25 Cowboys 23.75

Rams

Opp (DAL) Pass DVOA: #24
Opp (DAL) Run DVOA: #19
Opp (DAL) Weighted DEF: #21
Injuries to Watch DEF (DAL): LB Leighton Vander Esch (OUT) LB Sean Lee (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (LAR): TE Gerald Everett (OUT) OT Rob Havenstein (D)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Robert Woods (30%) Tyler Higbee (19%) Cooper Kupp (16%) Gerald Everett (15%) Josh Reynolds (10%) Todd Gurley (9%) Brandin Cooks (7%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Todd Gurley (80%, 27, 4) Malcolm Brown (20%, 5, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
After his first blow-up week in a long time, Jared Goff (streamer) returned to his mediocre 2019 levels in Week 14’s win over Seattle, at least in terms of fantasy points. The positive is that the Rams offense suddenly looks at least partially back to its old ways, scoring 28 and 34 points the last two weeks, albeit against questionable defenses. This week, Goff will take aim at the Cowboys - 24th ranked pass DVOA but allowing the 13th fewest FPPG to QBs. Dallas got lit up by Mitchell Trubisky last week, and are on a downward trend overall, so this actually sets up as a favorable matchup for Goff. Consider him on the QB1/2 borderline, and ride him if you are thin at QB as he should be able to produce a point total that lands somewhere in between his last two performances.
What started as a year for the record books has turned into a disappointment in a hurry for Cooper Kupp (start). Despite the Rams being without their top TE Gerald Everett (out again this week) the past few weeks, Kupp hasn’t gone over 70-receiving yards since Week 8. He snagged a TD last week to salvage his day, and could be on the verge of a breakout day with the Rams offense starting to hum again. The Cowboys have given up the 8th fewest FPPG to WRs, so this isn’t an ideal matchup, but Kupp should still be viewed on the WR2/3 borderline and be in most lineups this week. The only consistent producer over the last month at WR for the Rams has been Robert Woods (auto-start). Woods has gone over 90-yards in 4 straight games he’s played in, and looks to be Goff’s #1 target at this point in the season. Consider him a borderline WR1 this week. Brandin Cooks (volume downgrade) just hasn’t seen much volume since returning from his multi-week concussion absence, and played about a third of the offensive snaps last week. He can break a big play at any time, but his role is too tough to trust as more than a WR3/4 at this point. If you have the depth, Cooks should likely be on your bench as only a part-time player in a difficult matchup. With Everett out again this week, Tyler Higbee (volume upgrade) will resume his role as the clear pass-catching TE for the Rams. He’s won a lot of matchups for owners the past two weeks, and should continue to thrive as long as Everett is sidelined. The Cowboys have given up the 10th most FPPG to TEs, so there’s no reason to view Higbee as less than an elite TE1 this week.
RB Breakdown
Perhaps part of the reason that the Rams have looked re-energized the last two weeks is the commitment to the run game with Todd Gurley (volume upgrade). The offensive line and entire team are getting healthier, and Gurley is getting the volume necessary for an RB1 valuation. The Cowboys have given up the 16th fewest FPPG to RBs and have the 19th ranked rush defense by DVOA, so the matchup is basically a wash. Consider Gurley on the RB1/2 borderline, and get him locked into your lineup for a game the Rams absolutely have to win to remain in the playoff race. Malcolm Brown makes for a worthwhile handcuff.

Cowboys

Opp (LAR) Pass DVOA: #9
Opp (LAR) Run DVOA: #3
Opp (LAR) Weighted DEF: #6
Injuries to Watch DEF (LAR): None
Injuries to Watch OFF (DAL): None
Key WCB matchups: Amari Cooper vs. Jalen Ramsey (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Michael Gallup (20%) Amari Cooper (19%) Randall Cobb (15%) Jason Witten (15%) Ezekiel Elliott (10%) Blake Jarwin (8%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Ezekiel Elliott (99%, 21, 5)
QB/WTE Breakdown
While the Cowboys have been a huge disappointment overall, they remain firmly in the playoff race due to the antiquated NFL seeding rules, and their QB Dak Prescott (auto-start) has shown he is deserving of a huge contract extension. The Rams have given up the 12th fewest FPPG to QBs, and have the 9th ranked pass DVOA, but Prescott will be needed for a big day if Dallas is to get a win at home. Their solid projected point total, and Dak’s consistent presence as a top-5 QB in fantasy, means that Prescott should be a fixture in fantasy lineups in the second week of fantasy playoffs. He’s a solid QB1.
Amari Cooper (slight downgrade) may not like the term “garbage time”, but it’s hard to argue that’s not the scenario in which he caught his TD pass and salvaged his day against the Bears. Regardless, Cooper was able to produce despite looking less than 100%, and isn’t on the injury report this week. However, he’s likely to face Jalen Ramsey in shadow coverage this week, which is a concern considering just how good Ramsey has been since landing in LA. Cooper has been more effective against shadow coverage this year than in previous years, and his role in the offense combined with his individual talent make him tough to bench. View him as a high-end WR2 that is capable of breaking Ramsey’s coverage, but could also finish with a disappointing 2-30-0 type of day as well. Michael Gallup (upgrade) has been relatively productive over the last month, and he could benefit from Ramsey’s focus on Cooper. The Rams overall cede the 15th fewest FPPG to WRs, so this is a spot for Gallup to potentially come through for owners. Consider him a mid-range WR2 with upside this week in a game the Boys will likely need to throw heavily to win. Randall Cobb has benefitted from the high volume of passing in the Cowboys rough last five games, but will likely see a lot of highly-graded CB Nickell Robey-Coleman in the slot (PFF). Consider Cobb a low-end WR3 whose ceiling isn’t extremely high, but whose floor makes for a useful asset in deeper leagues. Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin have rendered each other relatively unstartable this season, and both should be viewed as low-volume TE2s. Neither is worth starting this week against a Rams squad giving up the 7th fewest FPPG to TEs.
RB Breakdown
The Cowboys were without Tony Pollard last week, but that didn’t serve to change their game plan much as Ezekiel Elliott (auto-start) has been a workhorse all year long. Pollard is expected to return on Sunday, but Zeke will get his 20+ touches again this week regardless. The Rams are stout on the ground - 3rd best DVOA and 10th fewest FPPG to RBs- but Zeke is an easy RB1 due to his volume and talent. Get him locked into your lineup, and keep Pollard rostered as a feel-good insurance policy.
Score Prediction: Rams 21, Cowboys 17

Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) at LA Chargers

Vikings ATS: 7-6-0 Chargers ATS: 4-7-3
Projected Team Totals: Vikings 24 Chargers 21.5

Vikings

Opp (LAC) Pass DVOA: #20
Opp (LAC) Run DVOA: #23
Opp (LAC) Weighted DEF: #18
Injuries to Watch DEF (LAC): LB Uchenna Nwosu (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (MIN): RB Alexander Mattison (Q) WR Bisi Johnson (Q)
Key WCB matchups: Stefon Diggs vs. Casey Hayward (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Stefon Diggs (20%) Dalvin Cook (15%) Kyle Rudolph (13%) Irv Smith (13%) Bisi Johnson (11%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Dalvin Cook (47%, 20, 2) Alexander Mattison (37%, 16, 2)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Last week was a game that fantasy owners always fear; the home favorite Vikings so outmatched the injury riddled Lions that none of the offensive weapons were needed for a big day to capture the win. Kirk Cousins (low-end QB1) was solid as a game manager, but finished with only 242 yards and 1 TD. This week he’ll likely be in a more competitive game with the Chargers, who have given up the 5th fewest FPPG to QBs. While this should lead to higher volume for Kirk, the matchup concern is a legitimate reason to consider keeping him on the bench. Getting Adam Thielen back from injury should help to establish his floor, but his ceiling isn’t as high considering the Chargers are not often involved in shootouts. Owners can view Cousins as a low-end QB1, and throw him in lineups if they don’t have a safer and higher upside option.
Cousins will have stud receiver Adam Thielen (downgrade) back on the field this week, and that means owners will have a tough decision to make with their lineups. Stefon Diggs (start) is likely to see Casey Hayward in shadow coverage this week, which would leave Thielen with more positive matchups, but Diggs is easier to trust given his body of work throughout the year. The Chargers have given up the 3rd fewest FPPG to WRs this year, giving both receivers a slight downgrade in outlook. Consider Thielen a WR3, and Diggs a WR2. Both have a solid case to be in starting lineups this week, but Diggs is the slightly preferred play. Kyle Rudolph (downgrade) gets a tough potential individual matchup with stud safety Derwin James, and needs to be pushed just outside the TE1 ranks this week. The Chargers have given up the 9th fewest FPPG to TEs, and Rudolph is quite TD-dependent, so consider your options before plugging him in. Irv Smith simply isn’t seeing the volume to be trusted at this point, so he should be viewed as a low-end TE2 in a tough matchup.
RB Breakdown
Fantasy superstar Dalvin Cook (auto-start, upgrade) was subject to the same issue as Cousins, as he saw an uncharacteristic 47% snap share, but still was able to save his line with a few nice runs and a short TD plunge. This week sets up much better for Cook, as the game should be competitive throughout, and the Chargers are more vulnerable to the run than the pass. They’ve given up the 13th most FPPG to RBs and have a bottom-third run DVOA, so get Cook fired up as an elite RB1 once again. Keep Alexander Mattison (stash) rostered as a top-3 handcuff, even if he ends up being ruled out. If Cook were to suffer a setback or pick up a minor injury, Mattison would be an elite RB1 for the fantasy finals assuming he’s healthy.

Chargers

Opp (MIN) Pass DVOA: #11
Opp (MIN) Run DVOA: #7
Opp (MIN) Weighted DEF: #9
Injuries to Watch DEF (MIN): S Jayron Kearse (OUT) CB Xavier Rhodes (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (LAC): None
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Keenan Allen (23%) Hunter Henry (20%) Austin Ekeler (17%) Mike Williams (13%) Melvin Gordon (11%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Austin Ekeler (49%, 12, 5) Melvin Gordon (46%, 17, 5)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Chargers came a bit out of nowhere last week to drop 45 points in their win over the Jags. Philip Rivers (slight downgrade) eclipsed 25 points for the first time this season, and was dealing all game long. He’ll face a stiffer matchup from the Vikings - Minnesota cedes the 11th fewest FPPG to QBs and has the 11th ranked pass DVOA. Consider Rivers a mid-range QB2; his ceiling isn’t extremely high but his weapons should establish his floor as a solid asset in 2QB or superflex leagues.
Still not producing at levels owner are accustomed to, Keenan Allen (start) has at least returned solid value over his past 4 games with good yardage and 2 total TDs. Mike Williams (downgrade PPR) FINALLY scored his first TD of the year, after getting 10 last year, and continues to make impressive contested chunk catches week in and week out. The Vikings have given up the 8th most FPPG to WRs, and Xavier Rhodes is no longer a shutdown shadow corner, so both WRs are worth starting consideration. Consider Allen a WR2, with upside in PPR leagues, and view Williams as a WR3 with an upgrade in standard leagues. The Vikings pass rush is impressive, and the Chargers O-line has struggled to keep Rivers upright against top defensive lines, so having the time to throw downfield might make Allen more productive than Williams this week. Hunter Henry (start) found the end zone last week, and despite some low yardage totals the last month remains a solid TE1 this week. The Vikings have allowed the 14th most FPPG to TEs, so this isn’t a shy-away matchup by any means. Get Henry active unless you have a top-3 alternative, as he might benefit from additional short throws due to Rivers needing to get the ball out quick.
RB Breakdown
Perhaps the most important player to the Chargers this year has been the explosive and dynamic all around back, Austin Ekeler (auto-start). He put up a career-high 213 scrimmage yards in the win last week, which was buoyed by an impressive 84 yard catch and run TD. Melvin Gordon (PPR downgrade) got in on the action by rolling up 84 total yards and a TD, and should continue to handle a slight majority of the carries. Ekeler’s role is slightly more valuable, however, as his looks in the passing game often give him room to make plays in the open field, and give him a higher floor in PPR leagues. Consider Ekeler on the RB1/2 borderline, especially in PPR formats, and Gordon can be viewed as a solid RB2. Both should be in lineups this week, despite the Vikings giving up the 6th fewest FPPG to RBs, but Ekeler is a bit safer as he doesn’t require rushing lanes up the middle or goal-line opportunities to be able to rack up the points.
Score Prediction: Vikings 23, Chargers 16

Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints (-8.5)

Colts ATS: 6-5-2 Saints ATS: 8-5-0
Projected Team Totals: Colts 18.75 Saints 27.25

Colts

Opp (NO) Pass DVOA: #10
Opp (NO) Run DVOA: #10
Opp (NO) Weighted DEF: #7
Injuries to Watch DEF (NO) Friday Report: LB Kiko Alonso (DNP) S Vonn Bell (DNP) CB Patrick Robinson (DNP) DE Cameron Jordan (LP) LB AJ Klein (LP)
Injuries to Watch OFF (IND) Friday Report: WR TY Hilton (LP) OL Le’Raven Clark (DNP)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): T.Y. Hilton (24%) Zach Pascal (20%) Jack Doyle (15%) Parris Campbell (15%) Nyheim Hines (12%) Deon Cain (6%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Nyheim Hines (56%, 8, 5) Marlon Mack (41%, 13, 0) Jordan Wilkins (14%, 1, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
This season has gone south fast for the Colts, dropping five of their last six games, and Jacoby Brissett (downgrade) has been much less effective in the second half of the season. He was able to take advantage of the Buccaneers ridiculously bad secondary last week in a close loss, but will face a stiffer challenge this week. The Saints give up the 10th most FPPG to QBs, but have the 10th best pass DVOA, and Brissett may be without his top WR again this week. Consider him a low-upside QB2, and don’t look his way unless desperate in a 2QB or superflex league.
TY Hilton (injury downgrade) is currently listed as a game time decision for MNF, making him a risky starting proposition due to the fact that most of the alternative options in your lineup will have already played by the time we get final clarity on his status. Unless there is a report stating definitively he will suit up, it’s best to avoid him this week. If you own Zach Pascal (start only if Hilton sits), you could also use him as a pivot option in case Hilton is ruled out before kickoff. If that’s the case, it would leave Pascal in position to soak up another high target total. He’s been extremely productive the past two weeks, and the Saints give up the 3rd most FPPG to WRs, so if he’s the #1 option this week he should be in your lineup. However, it’s hard to bank on this as Hilton likely won’t be declared active or inactive until just before kickoff, so it’s tough to bench more established studs for him during Sunday’s games. Consider Pascal a borderline WR2 if Hilton sits, but he’s no more than a boom-bust WR3/4 if Hilton plays. It’s likely best to avoid this situation entirely if you can, and either player could potentially see Marcus Lattimore in shadow coverage if the Saints decide to go that route as well. With Eric Ebron out for the year, Jack Doyle (upgrade) has shown flashes, but put up a 2-27 dud last week. Brissett likes throwing to his TEs, and Doyle is a great red-zone threat, so with the scarcity of quality options at the position Doyle is a mid-range TE1. The Saints are middle of the pack against TEs, so get him in your lineups this week unless you have a higher floor elite option.
RB Breakdown
Another tough draw is on deck for Marlon Mack (volume upgrade). He played 41% of snaps in his return from injury, receiving only 13 touches. Still, he looked healthy, and was clearly the lead back. The Colts will likely increase his workload moving forward, and he should see closer to 20 touches this week, game-script permitting. New Orleans has only ceded 14.2 FPPG to the position, but Mack’s projected volume keep him in the RB2 ranks. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins are merely afterthoughts in this offense with the return of the Mack, and both can be safely dropped.

Saints

Opp (IND) Pass DVOA: #14
Opp (IND) Run DVOA: #20
Opp (IND) Weighted DEF: #15
Injuries to Watch DEF (IND) Friday Report: CB Kenny Moore (DNP) CB Pierre Desir (LP)
Injuries to Watch OFF (NO) Friday Report: OT Terron Armstead (LP) OL Will Clapp (LP) OG Andrus Peat (DNP)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Michael Thomas (30%) Alvin Kamara (22%) Jared Cook (15%) Ted Ginn (10%) Tre’Quan Smith (6%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Alvin Kamara (76%, 17, 6) Latavius Murray (33%, 9, 3)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Lamar Jackson broke Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record for a quarterback on Thursday Night Football this week, so it would be fitting for Primetime Drew Brees (upgrade) to break the all-time passing touchdown record on Monday Night Football in the same week. Brees is sitting at 537 career touchdown passes, just two shy of Peyton Manning. However, Tom Brady is at 536, so it’s possible that going into MNF, Brees will be chasing both Manning and Brady (NFL.com) Indianapolis has been fading of late, Jameis Winston just posted 456-yards and four touchdowns against a usually solid secondary. Monday feels like it’ll be a special moment for Brees, he’s a top-5 QB option, fire him up.
Michael Thomas (upgrade) is also chasing greatness, going after Marvin Harrison’s single-season reception record of 143. Thomas is just twenty-three catches shy with three weeks left to go (NFL.com). Indy’s zone defense should provide plenty of underneath windows for the stud wideout, he’s an every-week elite WR1. The other wideouts are riskier: neither Ted Ginn or Tre’Quan Smith can be relied upon, and should be treated as boom-or-bust dart throws. Jared Cook has emerged as the No. 3 passing option since Brees returned from injury, vacuuming up a 15% target share in the last six weeks. He’s expected to suit up Monday, after a concussion knocked him out of last week's barn burner. He’s an every week TE1 - IND cedes 7.3 FPPG to the position.
RB Breakdown
It was extremely disappointing to watch the Saints roll up yards and points in the shootout last week, while Alvin Kamara (upgrade) busted on 17 touches. Latavius Murray was given fewer snaps and touches than Kamara, but was able to parlay his limited opportunity into a successful fantasy outing. Unfortunately, that’s just fantasy football sometimes; a plethora of variables exist and many cannot be predicted. Kamara owners that managed to survive the opening round of playoffs, despite his unfortunate bust week, need to renew their faith for this one. Indy cedes just 14.4 FPPG to RBs - but they are bottom-12 in Run DVOA. Additionally, we may be back to a reality in which the Saints score 30 a week in The Big Easy. I’m not betting against the positive game-script the home matchup should provide; Lat “Pulldown” Murray can be considered a viable, albeit slightly unpredictable, flex option as well.
Score Prediction: Saints 35, Colts 20
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[Game Preview] Week 7 - Philadelphia Eagles(3-3) at Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) at Dallas (3-3)
The Eagles continue their three game road trip after being shellacked by the Vikings last week in Minneapolis. The Eagles head next down to Dallas to take on the division rival Cowboys, who are reeling from a loss of their own at the hands of the New York Jets.. After coming out of the gate red hot, Dallas has lost three in a row to the Saints, Packers and Jets and the Eagles will look to make it four for their rival. The Eagles have had their own struggles though as the secondary has been getting torched week in and week out with little adjustments from Schwartz, who refuses to give his beleaguered corners more safety help over the top. On the other side of the ball, it is much of the same from last season where the Eagles are suffering from slow starts and failing to put up points in the first quarter. It won’t get easier for them this week. The Dallas defense is stout giving only 331.8 yards per game which is good for 9th in the league while holding opponents to 19.0 points per game (8th in the league). On the other side, the Cowboys may get a boost with both their tackles returning to practice Thursday albeit as limited participants, it is a good sign for the Cowboys who badly missed them last week versus the Jets, however Cooper and Cobb both remained sidelined Thursday. Their participation Friday will be something to watch for to give a better idea for their status on Sunday. The Eagles are dealing with injuries of their own as Desean Jackson, Jason Peters, Darren Sproles and Nigel Bradham are all likely to miss the game this week. Injuries aside, this is a huge game with first place in the NFC East on the line for the two 3-3 squads. Look for the Eagles to try to establish the run early and utilize the screen game against the fast attacking Cowboy defense to get them on their heels. On the other side of the ball, the secondary may get some help this week with the return of Jalen Mills, but the secondary will need some help from their play caller. If the Eagles hope to hold Dak in check, Schwartz will needs to stop focusing on the run and be willing to give his corners help over the top, despite such a strong running threat from Elliott. If the Eagles can limit the big plays and force the Cowboys to grind it out, it will go a long way in winning this football game. It is Prime Time NFCE Sunday Night Football, so let's get ready for a slugfest this weekend. Go Birds!
General Information
Posting Rules and Guidelines
Remember to Join us on Discord during the game!
New to the Eagles? Take a look at our New Fan Page!
Date
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
Game Time Game Location
8:20 PM - Eastern AT&T Stadium
7:20 PM - Central 1 AT&T Way
6:20 PM - Mountain Arlington, TX 76011
5:20PM - Pacific Wikipedia - Map
Weather Forecast
Stadium Type: Retractable Roof Stadium
Surface: RealGrass Matrix
Temperature: 75°F
Feels Like: 75°F
Forecast: Clear. Partly cloudy throughout the day.
Chance of Precipitation: 26%
Cloud Coverage:11%
Wind: 16m SSW
Betting Odds
Oddsshark Information
Favorite/Opening Line: Dalaas -3
OveUnder: 49
Record VS. Spread: EAgles 2-4, Cowboys 3-3
Where to Watch on TV
NBC will broadcast Sunday’s game to a national audience. Al Michaels will handle the play-by-play duties and Cris Collinsworth will provide his usual poor analysis. Michele Tafoya will report from the sideline.
TV Map - Week 7 TV Coverage Map
Internet Streams
NFL Streams - Look here 30 minutes before the game for Streams
Radio Streams
Disclaimer: Subscription Based Official NFL Radio Streams available via TuneIn
List of Eagles Radio network member stations with internet broadcast availability
Radio.com 94.1 Desktop Streaming
Listen to Merrill Reese and Mike Quick
Calling the game on 94WIP and the Eagles Radio Network will be Merrill Reese, the NFL’s longest-tenured play-by-play announcer (42nd season). Joining Reese in the radio booth will be former Eagles All-Pro wide receiver Mike Quick, while Howard Eskin will report from the sidelines.
Location Station Frequency
Philadelphia, PA WIP-FM 94.1 FM and 610 AM
Allentown, PA WCTO-FM 96.1 FM
Atlantic City/South Jersey WENJ-FM 97.3 FM
Levittown, PA WBCB-AM 1490 AM
Northumberland, PA WEGH-FM 107.3 FM
Pottsville, PA WPPA-AM 1360 AM
Reading, PA WEEU-AM 830 AM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WAFL-FM 97.7 FM
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA WEJL-FM 96.1 FM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WAFL-FM 97.7 FM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WEJL-AM 630 AM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WBAX-AM 1240 AM
Williamsport, PA WBZD-FM 93.3 FM
Wilmington, DE WDEL-FM/AM 101.7 FM
York/LancasteHarrisburg, PA WSOX-FM 96.1 FM
Philadelphia Spanish Radio
Rickie Ricardo, Macu Berral and Gus Salazar will handle the broadcast in Spanish on Mega 105.7 FM in Philadelphia and the Eagles Spanish Radio Network.
Location Station Frequency
Philadelphia, PA LA MEGA 105.7 FM
Allentown, PA WSAN 1470 AM
Atlantic City, NJ WIBG 1020 AM; 101.3 FM
Dallas Radio
Dallas Cowboys Radio Network Brad Sham returns for his 41st season in the Dallas Cowboys radio booth. Beloved by Cowboys fans, Sham's award winning play-by-play has provided the soundtrack to many of the most memorable moments in Dallas Cowboys history. Babe Laufenberg returns as the Network's full-time color analyst. A fixture on the sideline, veteran reporter Kristi Scales provides instant updates from the field.
National Radio
Westwood One will broadcast the game to a national audience with Kevin Kugler on play-by-play and Jason Taylor providing analysis.
Satellite Radio
Station Eagles Channel Cowboys Channel
Sirius Radio SIRI 81 (Internet 825) SIRI 83 (Internet 808)
XM Radio XM 225 (Internet 825) XM 226 (Internet 808)
Sirius XM Radio SXM 225 (Internet 825) SXM 226 (Internet 808)
Eagles Social Media Cowboys Social Media
Website Website
Facebook Facebook
Twitter Twitter
Instagram Instagram
Snapchat: Eagles Snapchat: cowboys
NFC East Standings
NFC EAST Record PCT Home Road Div Conf PF PA Net Pts Streak
Eagles 3-3 .500 2-1 1-2 1-0 2-3 161 149 +12 1L
Cowboys 3-3 .500 2-1 1-2 2-0 2-2 153 114 +39 3L
Giants 2-4 .333 1-2 1-2 1-1 2-2 111 160 -49 2L
Redskins 1-5 .167 0-3 1-2 0-2 0-4 73 151 -77 1W
Series Information
The Dallas Cowboys lead the Philadelphia Eagles (68-52)
Series History
Head to Head Box Scores
First Game Played
September 30th, 1960 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX. Dallas Cowboys 25 - Philadelphia Eagles 27
Points Leader
The Dallas Cowboys lead the Philadelphia Eagles (2604-2374)
Coaches Record
Doug Pederson: 2-4 against the Cowboys
Jason Garrett: 10-8 against Eagles
Coaches Head to Head
Doug Pederson vs Jason Garrett: Garrett leads 4-2
Quarterback Record
Carson Wentz: Against Cowboys: 2-3
Dak Prescott: Against Eagles: 4-2
Quarterbacks Head to Head
Carson Wentz vs Dak Prescott: Prescott leads 3-2
Records per Stadium
Record @ Lincoln Financial Field: Cowboys lead the Eagles: 10-6
Record @ AT&T Stadium: Eagles lead the Cowboys: 6-5
Rankings and Last Meeting Information
AP Pro 32 Ranking
Eagles No. 15 - Cowboys No. 17
2019 Record
Eagles: 3-3
Cowboys 3-3
Last Meeting
Sunday, December 9th, 2018
Eagles 23 - Cowboys 29
The Cowboys dominated almost from the start, but let the Eagles stay close to set up a wild fourth quarter as they outgained the Eagles 576-256 on the day, but the Eagles hung around to set up an exciting 4th quarter that saw 3 TDs on the final 3 series. After Dallas took a 7 point lead on a 75 yard TD pass from Prescott to Cooper, the Eagles responded with a TD of their own. After a bad call nullified a Dallas Goedert TD, the Eagles marched down the field and scored a game tying TD with 1:39 to go in the game. After the Cowboys failed to score on the next possession the game went to overtime where the Cowboys got the ball to start. The Cowboys quickly marched down the field and scored the game winning TD. Rasul Douglas jump the slant route and tipped the ball, but it ended up in the waiting arms of Amari Cooper who took it in for the score to give the Cowboys the 29-23 win.
Click here to view the Video Recap
Click here for box score
Last 10 Meetings
Date Winner Loser Score
12/9/2018 Cowboys Eagles 29-23
11/11/2018 Cowboys Eagles 27-20
12/31/2017 Cowboys Eagles 6-0
11/19/2017 Eagles Cowboys 37-9
1/1/2017 Eagles Cowboys 27-13
10/30/2016 Cowboys Eagles 29-23
11/8/2015 Eagles Cowboys 33-27
9/20/2015 Cowboys Eagles 20-10
12/14/2014 Cowboys Eagles 38-27
11/27/2014 Eagles Cowboys 33-10
Injury Reports Depth Charts
Eagles Eagles
Cowboys Cowboys
2019 “Expert” Picks
Week 7 - "Expert" Picks
2019 Team Stats
Eagles Season Stats
Cowboys Season Stats
2019 Stats (Starters/Leaders)
Passing
Name CMP ATT PCT YDS TD INT RAT
Wentz 131 214 61.2% 1458 12 3 94.3
Prescott 147 211 69.7% 1884 11 6 102.9
Rushing
Name ATT YDS YDS/G AVG TD
Howard 66 297 49.5 4.5 4
Elliott 113 491 81.8 4.3 5
Receiving
Name REC YDS YDS/G AVG TD
Ertz 33 366 61.0 11.1 1
Cooper 33 515 85.8 15.6 5
Sacks
Name Sacks Team Total
Graham 4.0 14
Quinn 5.0 14
Tackles
Name Total Solo Assist Sacks
McLeod 35 19 16 0
Vander Esch 51 31 20 0.5
Interceptions
Name Ints Team Total
Gerry 2 7
Awuzie/Lewis 1 2
Punting
Name ATT YDS LONG AVG NET IN 20 TB BP
Johnston 22 1039 60 47.2 44.3 12 0 0
Jones 19 817 58 43.0 38.7 8 1 0
Kicking
Name ATT MADE % LONG PAT
Elliot 7 7 100.0% 53 16/16
Maher 11 7 63.6.5% 62 18/18
Kick Returns
Name ATT YDS AVG LONG TD
Sanders 9 222 24.7 67 0
Pollard 3 73 24.3 28 0
Punt Returns
Name RET YDS AVG LONG TD FC
Sproles 9 84 9.3 17 0 3
Austin 6 26 4.3 10 0 4
League Rankings 2019
Offense Rankings
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Cowboys Stat Cowboys Rank
Total Offense 349.3 20th 443.7 2nd
Rush Offense 111.2 15th 138.8 7th
Pass Offense 238.2 16th 304.8 3rd
Points Per Game 26.8 9th 25.5 10th(t)
3rd-Down Offense 50.0% 3rd 50.8% 2nd
4th-Down Offense 33.3% 23rd 0.0% 28th(t)
Red Zone Offense (TD%) 70.0% 4th 65.0% 6th(t)
Defense Rankings
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Cowboys Stat Cowboys Rank
Total Defense 353.0 14th 331.8 9th
Rush Defense 72.8 2nd 93.8 12th
Pass Defense 280.2 29th 238.0 12th
Points Per Game 24.8 23rd 19.0 8th
3rd-Down Defense 37.1% 12th 25.4% 2nd
4th-Down Defense 66.7% 23rd(t) 44.4% 14th
Red Zone Defense (TD%) 55% 17th(t) 50.0% 8th(t)
Team
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Cowboys Stat Cowboys Rank
Turnover Diff. +1 12th(t) -3 23rd(t)
Penalty Per Game 7.0 11th(t) 8.0 20th(t)
Penalty Yards Per Game 60.5 14th(t) 78.3 31st
Connections
Eagles RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai is a native of Haltom, TX and went to Haltom High School. Vaitai played collegiately at TCU in Fort Worth, TX
Eagles S Jalen Mills was born in Dallas and grew up in DeSoto, TX and went to Desoto High School.
Cowboys Safeties Coach Greg Jackson played for the Eagles during the 1994-95 season.
Cowboys DT Justin Hamilton played one season for the Eagles in 2017.
Cowboys PS QB Clayton Thorston was drafted in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL draft, but was released during final cuts.
Cowboys Director of Pro Scouting Judd Garrett was selected in the 12th round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles but was released before the season began.
Cowboys Assistant Director of Video Stephen Gagliardino began his NFL career in 1995 as a ball boy with the Philadelphia Eagles when he was 16 years old, working training camp and game days at Veterans Stadium. He did that for four seasons before moving over to the Eagles video department in 1999, where he worked full time as an intern for three seasons (1999-2001).
Many Cowboys fans were born and raised in the Greater Philadelphia Area, however have no ties to Dallas nor have ever been to the city.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was born in Abington, PA, located roughly 15 miles north of Philadelphia
Eagles DT Fletcher Cox and Cowboys QB Dak Prescott played together at Mississippi State University when Prescott was a red shirt freshman.
Eagles OT Lane Johnson is from Groveton, TX and has family who are Cowboys fans including his grandmother who was told “Shut up, if you want to see 75” while she was rooting for the Cowboys.
Recap from Last Week’s Games.
Eagles
Video The Eagles saw a familiar nemesis in Kirk Cousins who scorched them in the past and this weekend gave them flashbacks. Cousins has been criticized this season for not living up to his contract, but he lived up to it Sunday throwing for 333 yards and 3 TDs against the bewildered Eagles secondary. The Vikings got it started early and with a Theilen TD on the opening drive. Despite all signs pointing to the Vikings being aggressive and exploiting the poor pass defense, Jim Schwartz stubbornly continued to keep 8 men in the box most of the day and left his corners on islands to cover the speedy Diggs and All-Pro Theilen on their own with no help over the top. While the defense was torched the Eagles offense had their own struggles as they once again failed to score in the first quarter and struggled to find rhythm throughout the day as they fell to the Vikings 38-20.
Cowboys
Video The Cowboys entered the game reeling from a home loss to the Green Bay Packers while the Jets looked to get a boost from QB Sam Darnold who returned to action for the first time since week 1 as he recovered from mono. A boost is exactly what Darnold gave the Jets as he threw for 2 TDs in the second quarter and was 23-32 for 338 yards on the day. The Cowboys were without their top 2 receiving targets in Randall Cobb who missed than game and Cooper who left the game with a quad injury after the first drive.The Dallas WRs struggled to get open and the high powered Dallas offense sputtered. Dallas did make a push in the 4th quarter, but the Jets were able to hold them off for their first win of the season under Adam Gase.24-22.
2019 Pro Bowlers
Eagles Cowboys
DT Fletcher Cox (Starter) OT Tyron Smith (starter)
OG Brandon Brooks (Starter) DE Demarcus Lawrence(starter)
TE Zach Ertz (Starter) DE Danielle Hunter
SS Malcom Jenkings (1st Alt) CB Byron Jones
OT Lane Johnson (1st Alt RB Ezekiel Elliott
LB Leighton Vander Esch (1st Alt)
WR Amari Cooper (2nd Alt)
QB Dakota Prescott (3rd Alt)
General
Referee: Jerome Boger
Since 2000, Philadelphia has produced a 21-17 regular-season record vs. Dallas, which marks the highest winning percentage (.553) by an NFC East team against the Cowboys in that span. The Eagles have also registered a 6-4 (.600) regular-season record at AT&T Stadium, winning 4 of their last 6 games at the venue.
Since 2016, Philadelphia ranks 4th in the NFL in primetime winning percentage (.722, 13-5) (including playoffs), trailing only Seattle (.781, 12-3-1) in the NFC.
The Eagles own the 3rd-highest overall winning percentage (.667, 6-3) in primetime road games since 2016, behind Pittsburgh (.778, 7-2) and New England (.714, 5-2)
Philadelphia owns the No. 2-ranked rushing defense (72.8), trailing only Tampa Bay (68.0). The Eagles also lead that category since 2016 (including playoffs), allowing just 91.2 rushing yards per game in that span. Philadelphia has not allowed a 100+ yard rusher in 9 consecutive regular-season contests.
The Eagles have produced the 3rd-best third-down offense (50.0%) in the NFL, behind Houston (51.4%) and Dallas (50.7%). Philadelphia’s 50.0% third-down conversion rate is the team’s 3rd best mark through 6 games since at least 1991, behind 1994 (51.0%) and 2017 (50.6%).
Philadelphia ranks 4th in the NFL with a 70.0% red zone TD efficiency, trailing only Houston (71.4%), Buffalo (71.4%), and Seattle (70.8%) in that category.
Carson Wentz ranks 2nd among NFL QBs in passing TDs per game (2.2) since 2017, behind Patrick Mahomes (2.8). Wentz also owns the 6th highest passer rating (100.5) in the NFL in that span, trailing only Mahomes (111.8), Drew Brees(108.8), Russell Wilson (105.8), Deshaun Watson (104.1) and Matt Ryan (100.7) (min. 500 attempts).
Miles Sanders ranks 3rd among NFL RBs in scrimmage yards per touch (5.97), behind Dalvin Cook (6.08) and Matt Breida (5.99) (min. 60 touches). Sanders has recorded a 30+ yard play from scrimmage in each of the least 4 games, totaling six 30+ yard plays (5 receiving, 1 rushing).
Draft Picks
Eagles Cowboys
OT Andre Dillard DT Trysten Hill
RB Miles Sanders OG Connor McGovern
WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside RB Tony Pollard
WR Shareff Miller CB Michael Jackson
QB Clayton Thorson DE Joe Jackson
S Donovan Wilson
RB Mike Weber
DE Jalen Jelks
Notable Off-season Additions
Eagles Cowboys
WR Desean Jackson WR Randall Cobb
DT Malik Jackson DE Kerry Hyder
DE Vinny Curry TE Jason Witten
S Andrew Sendejo DT Christian Covington
LB Zach Brown DE Robert Quinn
DT Hassan Ridgeway
QB Josh McCown
Notable Off-season Departures
Eagles Cowboys
QB “Big Dick” Nick Foles WR Cole Beasley
DE Michael Bennett WR Cole Beasley
DE Chris Long RB Rod Smith
S Chris Maragos WR Terrance Williams
RB Jay Ajayi DT David Irving
RB Josh Adams TE Geoff Swaim
RB Wendell Smallwood DE Taco Charlton
WR Jordan Matthews OLB Damien Wilson
DT Haloti Ngata
Milestones
Eagles TE Zach Ertz (30) needs 1 TD to move up to 11th on the Eagles all-time receiving TD list all-time tying WR Jack Ferrante and Brent Celek and he needs two TDs to move up to 10th all-time tying WR Ben Hawkins.
Eagles TE Zach Ertz (5193) needs 171 yards to most up to 7th on the Eagles all-time receiving yards list passing Eagles TE/HB Bobby Watson.
Eagles WR Desean Jackson (34) needs 2 TDs to move into a tie for 7th on the Eagles all-time receiving TD list tying Jeremy Maclin.
Eagles WR Desean Jackson (6271) needs 194 yards to move up to 3rd on the Eagles all-time receiving yard list to moving ahead of Mike Quick.
Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins's (4) needs 1 more Interception for a TD to tie CB Eric Allen (5) for most Interceptions for a TD by an Eagles player.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (78) needs 2 TDs to move into a tie with Dallas QB Craig Morton for 6th on the Cowboys all-time passing TD list.
Pro Football Focus Matchup Charts courtesy of PFF Edge (join.profootballfocus.com/edge/)
WDB Matchups (CAPS = expected shadow coverage)
Stats to Know
Dak Prescott’s Time to Throw
In the first 3 weeks of the 2019 regular season, Dak was dropping an astounding 147.2 passer rating on dropbacks 2.5 seconds or less and 98.9 on those over. He averaged 2.67 seconds (8th-longest of QBs with a noteworthy number of dropbacks) in Time to Throw over that period, with 45.5% of his dropbacks coming in under 2.5 seconds. In Weeks 4-6 (3 Cowboys losses), Dak was averaging the 9th-longest average Time to Throw at an almost identical clip of 2.66 seconds. However, his passer rating in attempts coming under 2.5 seconds plummeted to 81.2, where his passer rating in attempts over 2.5 seconds also dropped from 98.9 to 85.3. Potentially missing key contributors, we shall see how these figures fare in Week 7 against an under-performing Eagles secondary--an understatement I fully acknowledge.
Matchups to Watch
Cowboys Passing Attack vs Eagles Pass Defense
There is no point in praising the Eagles limiting Dalvin Cook to under 3 YPC when they got absolutely torched through the air yet again. Few people love stopping the run as much as Schwartz despite the fact that having a worse pass defense doesn’t really help your odds of winning. Dallas enters this contest with their own injuries since Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb may not play. Cobb is a notable loss but missing Cooper would be a big help to a wildly poor Eagles pass defense considering what he is able to do. I’m not sure when to rank Cooper among the NFLs wide receivers, but he is a very good route runner that is capable of making himself an easy target for Dak Prescott. Second year pro Michael Gallup had a nice start to the season prior to missing time with his own injury and is a great compliment to the other two starting receivers on the roster. The Eagles enter with a poor cornerback room fresh off the roasting by Kirk Cousins and the great Vikings receivers. Rasul Douglas has been solid on the young season prior to last week. He’s not likely a long term starter at the position but he’s giving you good value for the resources used to get him. Sidney Jones may start opposite him if Ronald Darby can’t go or if Jalen Mills isn’t activated off PUP this week. That’s a problem area. Jones looks washed and lacks any sort of confidence needed to play outside. The players that may return will help the Eagles but they have missed significant time so expectations should be low in the short term. Moreover, the coaching staff has continuously failed to ensure the DBs are executing their responsibilities consistently and failing to develop them in meaningful ways to help out the team. Dallas has an opportunity to get right against this group as do the Eagles themselves given the Cowboys injury struggles. If the Eagles pass defense can just be solid – and not a liability – it’ll go a long way in ensuring success on Sunday.
Cowboys Offensive Line vs Eagles Pass Rush
The Eagles pass rush has not been bad so far this season… it just hasn’t been great. This is a defensive scheme that is predicated on a dominant front 4; we’ve seen what that can mean for the Eagles when they are playing at an elite level. Injury, recovery, natural regression, and the slow growth of younger players on the line have been contributing factors to Eagles lack of pass rush as compared to the previous two years. This is a big setback for the organization since the success of the scheme is predicated on this unit. Like the Jets game two weeks ago, this contest provides the Eagles with a chance to get right against a struggling and banged up offensive line with Tyron Smith and La’el Collins unlikely to go. Tyron Smith has returned to form as a top tier left tackle but has missed the last couple of weeks due to a high ankle sprain. As we saw in 2017, Smith’s absence has massive ramifications for the Cowboys offensive performance. La’el Collins had a good start to the season prior to suffering his own injury. Dak takes more hits and sacks without Smith in the game and that problem is amplified with Collins out as well. Brandon Graham has been playing well so far this season and the Eagles will need that to continue Sunday. Derek Barnett and the other EDGE rushers need to step up opposite him by taking advantage of backup Cameron Flemming. Travis Frederick has returned to the starting lineup this year after missing 2018. While he isn’t at the All Pro level we’ve become accustomed to, he’s still a solid center that is slowly returning to form. The Eagles need Fletcher Cox and whoever else will play on the inside to take advantage of the favorable matchups presented to them by a lesser Frederick and Connor Williams. It’s important to limit Zeke but it is also important to pressure Dak into making bad decisions and getting sacks. It’s not reasonable for anyone to expect a strong performance by the Eagles secondary but the defensive line can absolutely have an impact in this one. They will need to in order to win on Sunday.
Cowboys Secondary vs Eagles Passing Attack
The Eagles passing offense has been extremely underwhelming in the absence of Desean Jackson as they have no big play element at Wide Receiver with his injury. Alshon Jeffery has seemingly worked his way back from an early season calf injury and is a big, usually reliable target for Carson Wentz. Other than Alshon, none of the Eagles WRs are giving the offense anything of value without Jackson out there. Mr. Try Hard himself, Nelson Agholor, has been nothing but a waste of cap room given his production. If the pass isn’t absolutely perfect, he isn’t catching it. And he may not catch it even if it is. Mack Hollins? Who? JJAW is where? There were high expectations for this receiving group entering the season and they would be met if Desean was on the field. Unfortunately, this is a group that absolutely cannot make a moderately difficult play to bail out their QB. At some point this has to change for the Eagles to succeed this season. Zach Ertz has been getting a lot of extra attention from opposing defense since he is the best receiving option on the field for Philly right now and even he has cost the team recently. Dallas enters the game with a banged up secondary as Xavier Woods is out, Byron Jones may be out, and Anthony Brown may be out as well. This secondary gave the Eagles some issues last year and is hurting right now. Can the Eagles receivers make a play for their QB? Wentz is doing everything he can to put the team in positon to win each week this season: the rest of the offense has repeatedly let him down. The stakes are high in this game and the team needs this group to step up for the first time in a long time.
Eagles vs Slow Starts
The Eagles cannot start fast; the alarming trend from 2018 hasn’t gone away so far in 2019. I’d wager that Eagles fans can turn off the game for the first quarter and expect the team to trail by 10 early without scoring any first quarter points. This is a trend that cannot continue anymore. Coaches and players need to come together to figure out what they are doing wrong and stop doing that thing. It’s infuriating to watch and not conducive to success for this team to be in a position where they are constantly chasing teams. Statistics show that teams that start fast and score early are more likely to have success than not. Why the Eagles cannot get this fixed is beyond me but they have no choice but in doing so. They play themselves out of games with the slow starts. Failing to get going as they have been can cost them in the long run later in this season. Everyone who follows this teams knows this is a troubling trend that seems to not have an end in sight. We also know that if they can get going, they can have success. Will they? I am not sure.
Special thanks to MikeTysonChicken and abenyishay for their help in creating this Game Preview.
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Offseason with Cidolfus: Building the Offense

Building the Offense

Last week I detailed how I expect the Dolphins to easily clear $100 million in spendable salary cap space heading into free agency, even after considering the monumental effective cap cost of our rookie pool for the draft. This week, I’m going to examine free agency options at the positions addressed and who I expect our major targets to be. Unlike last year, I’m not going to focus very much on our own impending free agents this time around. I addressed the very few free agents I expect to return this year in last week’s segment, so this piece will be almost exclusively focused on free agent targets across positions of need.
Additionally, because we are still so far out from the draft and because I expect we will try to address as many holes as possible first through free agency so that we’re not pidgeon-holed into selecting specific positions in the draft, I’m not going to dive too far into the draft except in a few circumstances.
For those who haven’t been keeping up with the series and would like to catch up, see the links below:

Possible Free Agent Targets

Like we covered last week, our needs on offensive should be readily apparent to anyone even remotely following the Dolphins. Ignore the talking heads who bafflingly keep trying to speak the Dolphins drafting a wide receiver in the first round into existence. That won’t happen barring some stunning fall like how Laremy Tunsil fell into our laps a few years ago.
The Dolphins badly need to find a quarterback of the future, an offensive line to protect him, and a running back to share the load with him. That’s not necessarily the order I see those positions being prioritized in free agency, though. As mentioned in replies to last week’s post, I expect that our free agency efforts will be heavily focused on building in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Before I get into free agents I expect that our front office tries to prioritize, I’ll go through free agents, position by position. All rankings are from PFF, which, while not perfect, tend to be pretty accurate in the aggregate over a season.

Quarterback

2020 is shaping up to be a very strange year at quarterback. There’s a lot of big names potentially available here, and that’s going to cause talking heads to have a lot of controversial and “bold” takes, such as all the suggestions we’ve seen that Tom Brady will come to Miami.
It’s not going to happen. There’s very little reason to believe that we make any free agency moves at the quarterback position. Ryan Fitzpatrick is under contract for $8 million in 2020 and we only save $4 million by cutting him. However, as discussed, the signing of Chan Gailey as our offensive coordinator makes a commitment to Fitzpatrick abundantly clear. We also save no money by cutting Josh Rosen since, as a former first-round selection, his base salary is entirely guaranteed. I expect that we’ll add a third quarterback to the team in the draft, but I don’t see us being remotely active at the position in free agency.
Make no mistake, though. The quarterback landscape across the NFL looks to be very different in 2020. Free agents include Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston, and Marcus Mariota. Every single one of those players started multiple games for their current teams in 2019. Brees likely returns to New Orleans, Tannehill will almost certainly be tagged, and Winston may as well. I’d have to bet that Brady returns to the Patriots, especially now that they’re retaining McDaniels as offensive coordinator, but it’s unclear how that shakes out. Eli Manning probably retires unless a team stuns the world to give him the starting job somewhere.
That still leaves Rivers, Keenum, Bridgewater, and Mariota up in the air, and that’s before potential cuts or trades for guys like Cam Newton and Derek Carr who could shake up the market further. The biggest way that free agency at quarterback impacts the Dolphins is how it informs the decisions of other teams in the draft. Of particular concern are the Chargers (6), Panthers (7), Jaguars (9), Raiders (12, 19), and Colts (13). The Chargers, Panthers, and Raiders are in the best position to have the draft capital to leap the Dolphins.
The Raiders can cut or trade Derek Carr and save $16.5 million in 2020. In a trade, Carr would be on a three-year deal at $19 million, $19,625,000, and $19,777,519 over the next three years. That said, I’m not sure that the Raiders actually move on from Carr. Last year he had a career high 70.4% completion percentage, 21 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, a passer rating of 100.8, and an ANY/A of 7.25. Those are respectable numbers, and rather than using multiple mid-firsts to trade up to the top of the draft, I have to imagine Gruden likes his chances to use their two firsts and three thirds and $50 million in cap space to retool their roster rather than commit to starting over with a rookie quarterback in his third year as head coach. With a ten year contract, though, he has more security than most to make a dramatic move now.
The Panthers are almost certain to move on from Cam Newton in 2020 under their new head coach Matt Rhule. Reports are that they want to trade Newton, who would carry a $19.1 million cap charge for another team in 2020 and save the Panthers just as much. I don’t expect that the trade market for Newton will be robust. He’s in a very similar position to Joe Flacco last year, who only earned the Ravens a fourth, which doesn’t give the Panthers much more immediate ammunition to move up for a quarterback. With a new head coach and the departure of Luke Kuechly, the Panthers may see themselves in a true rebuild and instead look ahead to 2021 for their quarterback of the future rather than mortgaging firsts over multiple years to try to get their quarterback now. There’s a very good chance that they’re in the same position we were this time last year with Ryan Tannehill and a new head coach coming in.
That leaves the Chargers, who almost certainly aren’t looking to bring back Philip Rivers. As the clear second team in a market that’s already proven fickle on football teams not named the Raiders, it’s possible that the Chargers might view the 2020 draft as an opportunity to make a splash by drafting their quarterback of the future. Or they could be one of the teams trying to make a splash by grabbing one of the bigger names in free agency. Our best hope is that they like a guy like Herbert or Love that they think they can get by standing pat if nobody else is moving up. We won’t be the only team that the Lions or the Giants call if they’re fielding an offer to move up and they think they can get a higher bidder.
What’s really important, though, is that with five first round picks and four seconds in the next two drafts, nobody is in a position to outbid the Miami Dolphins to move up in the draft in April. As Grier signalled loudly on Thursday, the Dolphins have “more than enough” draft capital to trade up in the draft. In a season sure to be full of vacuous statements, smokescreens, and misdirection, that statement might be the most honest thing we hear out of Grier’s mouth regarding the draft for the next couple months. It’s a signal loud and clear to teams looking to trade up that we can outbid them, and an invitation to teams fielding offers to keep us in the loop. That might cause teams ahead of us to try and bluff to get us to move up ahead of another team “trying to move up”, but if we believe it’s credible and want to beat the bid, there’s little doubt that we can.

Offensive Line

I’ll take a brief step back for a moment to remind everyone that I do not consider myself a great evaluator of talent and rely heavily on others who do this kind of stuff for a living. I know it can be a controversial metric, but one source I’ve always relied on for these posts is Pro Football Focus’s premium stats. Their grades are far from perfect, but it’s some of the best cumulative data available, and I find that while they’ve occasionally got some outliers, their grades usually align with the general consensus. Moreover, their advanced stats are some of their better material. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot on offer in that regard for offensive linemen. I believe what follows generally follows the eye test. I’m not going to come out here swinging with data that should really surprise anyone, and I’m not going to try to use PFF’s gradings to try to advocate for fringe players who are undervalued. I’m not trying to beat the system with this analysis.
This brings us to the first position group where I expect we will be active in 2020 free agency. Offensive line talent is at a premium right now, and as noted previously we have PFF and Football Outsider’s worst-ranked offensive line in the game. After letting Ja’Wuan James walk in free agency last year and trading Laremy Tunsil to the Texans, there’s a lot of pressure to rebuild this position group from a bunch of nobodies. Rookies Michael Deiter and Shaq Calhoun are the only two players on the line who played any amount of time, and both underwhelmed.

Deiter and Calhoun

Player Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
Deiter 42.5 37.8 45.5 996 708 287 6 15 23 44 5(1) 96.2
Calhoun 44.2 44.0 43.9 471 332 139 2 3 13 18 2(1) 96.8
For those of you unfamiliar with PFF’s grading system, plays are graded on a scale of +2 to -2 and then the cumulative scores are normalized to a score of 100 where 100 is the best score ever recorded for the position. Because they normalize the scores that way, that doesn’t mean that 50 is average and both Deiter and Calhoun were just above average. In fact, the median overall offensive grade among guards in 2019 was 59.6. Right about now, you should be getting the sense that neither Deiter nor Calhoun were particularly good last year.
Let’s hit the rapid fire on just how not good these guys were. In pass blocking, Deiter’s grade ranks 114th of 123 guards. Calhoun’s is 108th. Deiter’s Pass Blocking Efficiency (PBE), which is a score normalized to 100 of pressures allowed as a percentage of total pass blocking snaps with a weighting toward sacks, was tied for 92nd among 118 qualifying guards. Calhoun’s was tied for 76th. Deiter’s penalties were tied for 97th worst. Calhoun’s better here, but he also played half as many snaps and was on pace to be in a similar place as penalties as Calhoun. It doesn’t stop there, either! Deiter was PFF’s 115th ranked guard in run blocking; Calhoun was 117th.
That’s not to say that we should give up on either of them developing or playing better with better pieces around them, but we should not be complacent pursuing opportunities to upgrade over either of them.

Davenport, Webb, and Davis

If our guards were bad, our tackles weren’t much better. Julie’n Davenport, Jesse Davis, and J’Marcus Webb all played significant snaps for us at tackle throughout the season, and they were all pretty bad.
Player Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
J’Marcus Webb 34.4 32.0 37.1 543 372 171 7 6 26 39 8(3) 93.4
Julie’n Davenport 56.5 61.5 41.3 534 389 145 6 9 16 31 1(0) 94.9
Jesse Davis 58.9 59.6 53.6 975 696 279 4 5 33 42 4(1) 96.5
J’Marcus Webb is PFF’s worst tackle out of 120 total tackles, 117th in pass blocking, and 118th in run blocking. Davenport was 93rd overall, 82nd in pass blocking, and 114th in run blocking. Davis was 85th overall, 87th in pass blocking, and 91st in run blocking. In terms of pass blocking efficiency, Webb was 110th of 118, Davenport was 90th, and Jesse Davis was the only one in the bunch in the top half of tackles (barely) tied for 57th. You might have wondered why we didn’t try to maximize our running backs out in space and instead constantly rushed up the middle for small gains? Having tackles who were hot garbage blocking was certainly a big part of it.

Kilgore

Only center was acceptable through the season. Kilgore’s performance through thirteen games ranked him at 15th (of 49) in pass protection allowing three sacks, four hits, and 12 pressures with a pass-blocking efficiency good for tied for 23rd of 48 qualify centers. Even that’s not all that great, and given that none of his contract is guaranteed and he’s a free agent in 2021, if an upgrade was available we might pursue it. That said, given the dire need at guard and tackle, I imagine we keep Kilgore for another year.
I go over all of this now to make abundantly clear how dismal our offensive line is right now. Webb and Davenport are free agents who won’t be making a return. Davis, Kilgore, Deiter, and Calhoun are all under contract, but if more than two of them are still starting for the Dolphins in 2020, that will be a colossal failure by the front office.
Between free agency and the draft, we should be looking to add a minimum of three offensive linemen. Fortunately, we have the cap space and the draft capital to make this a reality.

Tackles

There are a handful of tackles available in free agency who would be an immediate upgrade for the Dolphins, although I’ll admit that’s a pretty low bar. Given that the draft is looking pretty top-heavy in offensive tackle talent in particular (depending on who you ask, there’s at least four tackles projected to go in the first round and another two or three who could be anywhere from late firsts to seconds), I expect we’ll only target one tackle in free agency. We’ve got some options. For each of these guys, I’ll discuss how they finished relative to their peers in 2019 and then include (where available) PFF grades for the last three seasons.
Bryan Bulaga (RT)
While older than maybe we’d initially want--he’ll be 31 by the time we can sign him--Bulaga is still one of the best right tackles in the game. He finished just behind Jack Conklin seventh among all tackles in run blocking in 2019, and performed better in pass blocking, grading at 41st overall with a pass blocking efficiency score good for 32nd in the league. Bulaga allowed four sacks, four hits, and nineteen hurries on 612 pass blocking snaps.
Year Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
2019 77.1 73.3 79.4 959 612 347 4 4 19 27 7(1) 97.2
2018 75.0 84.0 59.3 781 559 222 5 3 14 22 8(0) 97.4
2017 61.4 72.0 49.0 232 155 77 1 1 10 12 1(0) 95.5
Aside from age, another major knock on Bulaga will be his penalties. Unfortunately Bulaga’s 2017 season is the outlier across his career, as it’s the only time he’s had fewer than five penalties in a season. The final knock against Bulaga is his injury history. 2019 was the first season since 2016 in which Bulaga had played in all sixteen games.
The Packers aren’t flush with cap space and have several other free agents contributing significant snaps to the team who need replaced which might leave Bulaga hitting the market. Offensive linemen often have long careers well into their 30s, and Bulaga on a 3-4 year deal might be reasonable. He’s likely not our first choice, but for the past six seasons while healthy, Bulaga has consistently been one of the best pass blocking tackles in the game and would be a massive improvement for us on that front.
Jack Conklin (RT)
At 26, he’s one of the youngest tackles expected to hit the market this season. He’s also one of the surest bets not to be re-signed. Although he’s stated that he’d “love” to re-sign with the Titans, with both Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry as unrestricted free agents, the Titans are in a tough spot to keep together the team that took them from the wildcard round to the AFC Championship. Tannehill is likely to receive the franchise tag projected at a whopping $26,895,000 and Henry could receive the transition tag at $10,189,000. That alone accounts for more than half of all of the Titans’ cap space with Conklin, Logan Ryan and Termaine Brock all unrestricted free agents with over 60% of total snaps played this past season.
Conklin allowed five sacks, four hits, and 24 pressures on 617 pass-blocking snaps with the Titans this season. His pass blocking grade was 45th among tackles (T51st in pass blocking efficiency), but his run blocking grade was sixth.
Year Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
2019 80.6 74.0 83.7 1108 617 491 5 4 24 33 9(1) 96.6
2018 66.8 69.2 66.2 498 317 181 4 1 14 19 7(3) 96.1
2017 72.4 73.8 69.0 1099 632 467 2 8 21 31 8(2) 97.4
Despite his age, Conklin’s performance has been consistent across his young career despite an injury-shorted season in 2018. Demand at the position, Conklin’s age, and his consistency aside from the short year last season is going to drive his price up, although likely not quite to the gaudy APY number that Lane Johnson signed this November (more on that later).
D.J. Humphries (LT)
Humphries checks a lot of boxes as the type of guy the Dolphins might target. He’s 27-years old and can be a long-term solution at left tackle where he’s played 2,694 snaps the past four seasons. Following a season-ending knee injury in 2018, he put up a solid season in pass protection in 2019, allowing only two sacks, one hit, and 27 hurries. His pass blocking efficiency was tied for 27th among all tackles. He was poor in run blocking (94th out of 120), but has performed much better in previous years.
Year Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
2019 1046 677 369 64.5 76.3 52.3 2 1 27 30 13(1) 97.5
2018 522 342 180 68.8 62.9 72.2 4 8 16 28 2(0) 95.0
2017 204 104 100 81.7 66.0 86.1 0 0 5 5 0(0) 97.4
Humphries has been a mixed mag throughout his career with injuries and up-and-down performance that has rarely turned toward downright awful--although 14 penalties in 2019 is pretty nuts. But that’s exactly why he might be the kind of guy the Dolphins take a look at if the Cardinals decide to replace Humphries through the draft.
He won’t break the bank, and if we strike out on better options in free agency, he could be a cost-effective solution that’s still a major upgrade over any of our current tackles. His worst pass blocking grade of his career (61.8 his rookie season) is still better than any of our tackles this past season, and his worst run blocking grade of his career (52.3 in 2019) is barely worse than our best (Jesse Davis).
Greg Robinson (LT)
Likely a cheaper option, if he hits the market. This former second overall selection in the 2014 draft has had a pretty average career, but posted career-high grades last year in Cleveland. Last year, he allowed four sacks, five hits, and seventeen hurries on 535 pass blocking snaps. His pass blocking efficiency ranked him 42nd among all tackles and his overall pass blocking grade was 56th. He's marginally better in run blocking, ranking 49th among all tackles. He’s also 28-years-old.
Year Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
2019 66.9 69.3 62.8 860 535 325 4 5 17 26 11(2) 96.9
2018 59.6 68.8 52.1 498 311 187 1 0 19 20 10(3) 96.3
2017 54.6 53.4 53.2 395 257 138 3 3 18 24 5(3) 94.4
That Robinson managed to rack up 13 penalties in 2018 while only playing half a season’s worth of snaps is downright impressive. Aside from him being the living definition of mediocrity on the offensive line, his penchant for penalties is the biggest knock on Robinson. But he’ll likely be even cheaper than Humphries. If we strike out on other free agents, or only want a short-term stop gap (Robinson has played for three teams in the past four seasons already), Robinson is an option and his most recent season would still be an improvement over our current tackles.
I can see a scenario where we either whiff on guys like Bulaga and Conklin or spend more on the offensive interior and instead pursue a guy like Robinson as a stopgap for the 2020 season so that we only need to draft a single tackle in 2020 and can instead punt until 2021 with one of our two first round selections then to find the bookend at the other side of the line.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai (RT)
Vaitai saw about 40% of the Eagles total snaps this season at right tackle, and while he was far from a stud in pass protection (45th overall and 72nd in pass blocking efficiency), he ranked 10th against the run. The Eagles could end up keeping him and starting him at right tackle and moving Lane Johnson over to left tackle to replace Jason Peters, but he might also hit the market in free agency.
Year Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
2019 74.4 64.6 76.2 540 331 209 2 8 13 4(0) 95.8
2018 47.7 52.7 38.9 350 224 126 4 4 9 17 2(0) 94.7
2017 59.4 52.3 61.8 1031 600 431 9 14 28 51 6(0) 94.7
There’s risk in pursuing a guy like Vaitai, but he performed very well in his limited performance in 2019. If we’re investing in other positions on the line, we might bet that Vaitai will be able to repeat his 2019 performance with other good linemen around him. If the Eagles let him go, he’s the kind of guy I could see a tackle-needy team like the Dolphins thinks can take a decent stint as a back-up in 2019 and put together a good season as a starter. Given his up-and-down history (not listed above is his rookie season which was pretty similar to 2019), it’s riskier than most moves, but could provide good production at cost.

Guards

As previously established, our guards were bad this season. Our guards have been bad for years. The last time we had a good guard was when Laremy Tunsil played at left guard his rookie year. The last time before that was way back in Tannehill’s rookie season when we had Incognito. Adam Gase infamously dismissed our woes on the interior offensive line by insisting you don’t need to invest in guards, but NFL trends over the past several seasons have run counter to that logic.
Despite trotting out woeful ineptitude at the position for the past seven years, we’ve only drafted three guards in all that time: Jamil Douglas in the fourth, Isaac Asiata in the fifth, and Michael Deiter in the third. It’s time the Dolphins get serious about addressing the offensive interior, but this draft isn’t exactly stacked at guard (or the offensive interior line) the way it looks like it is at tackle. Fortunately, there are a handful of options who may be available in free agency.
Ereck Flowers (LG)
Flowers is young (only 26) and coming off of a decent season in Washington. He’s not the big prize available in free agency from Washington’s offensive line, but he’s still a significant upgrade over anyone we’re rostering right now.
Year Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
2019 64.2 69.0 60.1 937 588 349 2 2 20 24 6(1) 97.6
2018 65.1 62.0 63.4 588 353 235 3 7 28 38 6(2) 93.8
2017 66.8 70.4 52.8 1001 653 348 6 8 27 41 9(3) 96.2
His pass blocking efficiency was good for 43rd. In 545 pass blocking snaps he allowed two sacks, two hits, and twenty hurries. He played his first four season primarily at left tackle, and he seems to have weathered the switch to left guard in Washington well. He’s far from a world-beater, but he’s competent and is another guy who won’t break the bank. His previous experience at tackle is also always useful in the event that injuries require he shift over.
Graham Glasgow (RG)
Speaking of players for whom a move to guard was agreeable, Graham Glasgow moved from center to right guard this year and did a pretty great job of it. He allowed zero sacks, five hits, and 20 hurries on 559 pass blocking snaps and put up a career-high 74.2 grade in run blocking.
Year Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
2019 74.1 69.0 74.2 872 559 313 0 5 20 3(0) 97.6
2018 70.1 73.8 69.1 1076 673 403 1 5 15 21 9(6) 98.2
2017 71.1 71.8 67.0 1042 681 361 3 6 17 26 4(0) 97.7
Glasgow was already pretty solid as a center in 2017 and 2018, and he made the transition to guard pretty well. At 28-years-old, he could be a solid contributor who has the ability to play both guard and center, and that kind of flexibility has value, as noted with Flowers. It becomes even more valuable considering the time that Kilgore has missed over the past two seasons.
Andrus Peat (LG)
A couple of years ago, Peat was looking like a stud young guard, but he’s posted back-to-back horrendous seasons in 2018 and an injury-shortened 2019.
Year Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
2019 48.7 56.5 47.0 628 388 240 3 3 13 19 3(0) 97.1
2018 39.8 47.3 40.4 879 494 385 3 4 17 24 8(0) 97.3
2017 68.3 66.4 63.7 932 524 408 4 6 18 28 6(1) 96.7
I mostly bring Peat up because his name is one that’s certain to come up in free agency discussions, and someone’s going to look at his first three seasons in the league and think he can return to that performance. He’s risky, but his recent performance is likely to affect his price, and he’s young so there’s upside there for him to turn it around and be a long-term piece on the line.
Brandon Scherff (RG)
Of the two guards out of Washington, Scherff, age 29, is obviously the bigger catch. He’s missed time due to injury and had a lot of penalties (9) this season, but when he was on the field he was still great, ranking as PFF’s seventh overall guard and allowing only 10 total pressures (one sack, nine hurries) in 394 pass blocking snaps. Moreover, Sherff has been stellar for years.
Year Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
2019 75.0 72.0 76.3 643 394 249 1 0 9 10 9(1) 98.5
2018 70.8 84.0 62.3 506 301 205 1 1 7 9 2(0) 98.2
2017 79.9 72.3 79.3 867 524 343 3 4 15 22 2(1) 97.5
It may be worrisome to some that Scherff has ended the past two seasons on injured reserve (2018 for a pectoral tear and 2019 for shoulder and elbow injuries), but if the medicals look good, his performance on the field is good enough to justify the added risk, and he’d be a major get in free agency at a position of need.
Michael Schofield (RG)
Schofield’s a good pass blocking guard but won’t offer much of an improvement in the way of run blocking if his 2019 performance is anything to go on. He finished 17th in pass protection (allowing one sack, seven hits, and 18 hurries in 688 pass blocking snaps) but 97th in run blocking. He’s a cheaper option we may look to if we strike out on the premier names in this free agency class. At 30, he’s on the older end of players on this list as well.
Year Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
2019 63.6 76.9 50.3 1057 688 369 1 7 18 26 1(0) 97.9
2018 62.7 71.7 53.1 1116 680 436 5 5 21 31 0(0) 97.2
2017 57.0 48.1 63.1 407 230 177 2 5 18 25 2(0) 93.6
He’s been pretty consistently that same guy the past two years with the Chargers at right guard: a good pass blocker, but a poor run blocker. He played almost all of his snaps as a back-up RT tackle in 2017 with the Chargers and fared much more poorly than he did at the same position with Denver in his rookie season.
Joe Thuney (LG)
The clear prize at guard in free agency. Especially if the Patriots bring back Tom Brady, it’s going to be hard for them to afford to bring back Thuney as well. The 2019 All Pro guard figures to see a big pay day, and we should be the ones to give it to him. Thuney was absolutely stellar in pass protection last year, allowing only 17 total pressures (one sack, four hits, and twelve hurries) on 732 pass blocking snaps. His run blocking brought him down, but he finished as PFF’s sixth-ranked guard regardless. Did I mention that in 1,201 snaps he had no penalties on top of everything else? That’s crazy.
Year Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
2019 79.2 88.0 68.7 1201 732 469 1 4 12 17 0(0) 98.7
2018 75.5 85.3 68.0 1371 765 606 0 5 21 26 5(0) 98.1
2017 74.4 74.9 68.8 1354 835 519 5 10 31 46 3(0) 96.7
He’ll be sure to break the bank and may even reset the market at the position, but we badly need an infusion of talent on the interior offensive line, and Thuney’s a guy who can absolutely give it to us. He’s 28-years-old and can be a staple of our offensive unit for our quarterback of the future for years to come.
Thuney is the kind of guard you throw money at, and if he does reset the market, he’ll have earned it.
Greg Van Roten (LG)
Also one of the older guys on the list, Van Roten is similar to Schofield in that he offers solid pass blocking (24th among guards with one sack, three hits, and 13 hurries) with poor run blocking (63rd among guards).
Year Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
2019 65.6 74.3 57.3 704 446 258 1 3 13 17 2(1) 97.9
2018 59.8 68.8 53.6 1059 668 391 2 2 32 36 2(0) 97.0
2017 62.9 29.4 65.5 10 3 7 0 0 0 0 0(0) 100.0
Having only played ten snaps in 2017 (one at tight end and nine at center), you might as well disregard that season. Before that, he was in and out of the NFL and the Canadian Football League. He was the only offensive player to play all of the Panthers’ offensive snaps in 2018. In 2019 he dislocated his toe in week 12 and was placed on IR. He’s another, cheaper option we might consider if we whiff on bigger names.

Center

As mentioned earlier, I don’t think that center is a position we actively pursue, but given that Kilgore’s contract has no guarantees, if an upgrade is available it’s a possibility. Even if we wanted to address the center position in free agency, however, there’s not a major upgrade to be had, at least not someone who’s young enough to be a long-term contributor and to justify moving on from Kilgore.
Connor McGovern
As far as immediate upgrades go, McGovern comes to mind. McGovern had a career year in his contract year, allowing only one sack, three hits, and 11 hurries in 609 pass-blocking snaps and scored PFF’s fifth highest pass blocking grade for centers.
Year Offensive Pass Blocking Run Blocking Total Snaps Pass Snaps Run Snaps Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures Penalties PBE
2019 71.9 82.5 64.0 1013 609 404 1 3 11 15 0(0) 98.6
2018 58.3 38.7 66.2 1056 667 389 2 5 36 43 6(0) 96.4
2017 49.2 58.8 49.5 418 247 171 1 3 12 16 3(0) 96.3
He’s been considerably less consistent the rest of his career, however, allowing two sacks, five hits, and a whopping 36 hurries on 667 pass-blocking snaps in his first full year starting in 2018, earning a dismal 38.7 pass blocking grade that season. He was a competent run blocker in both seasons. It’s also worth noting that more than half of his snaps came at right guard in 2018 and almost all his snaps came at right guard in 2017. McGovern looks like another player for whom the position change has yielded positive results.
If he can keep up his play from 2019, he’d be an improvement over Kilgore. That’s a big if, though. At 27 he’s far more a long-term solution to the position than Kilgore who is five years his senior. I’m far more gun shy about rewarding a player for a single year of elevated performance than injuries, however, and I’m not sure I’d pull the trigger here.

Running Back

Running back is not a position with much of a shelf life, and outside of a few top backs in the league, rushing production is perhaps the most replaceable production on the field. Many fans bemoan the backs we’ve let leave in recent years, but history has largely vindicated the Dolphins’s reluctance to commit to backs beyond rookie deals.
The Texans surely regret paying Lamar Miller so much. Jay Ajayi can’t even find a spot on an NFL roster these days. While Drake has played well in Arizona, it remains to be seen whether he can actually sustain that. Even Damien Williams, who we’re watching be very successful in the playoffs now, only has 750 rushing yards and 350 receiving yards since he left the Dolphins. We haven’t let any world-beaters go.
So to say that I’m against spending money on running backs in free agency is an understatement, and frankly this year doesn’t look like a particularly good one to be pursuing anyone either. Has a holdout ever worked out more poorly for a player than it has for Melvin Gordon this year? Do we really want to go out and spend money on a guy like Jordan Howard? The only two running backs I’d really even consider trying to bring in right now might be Austin Ekeler or Gus Edwards, and the former will almost certainly be tendered (and he’s not worth giving up draft picks for) and the latter is an exclusive rights free agent.
Both, notably, are also undrafted free agents. While the recent draft has shown that premier running back talent is dominant in the league (the leading rusher in the NFL has been a former first round pick four of the past five years), there’s also plenty of evidence showing that middle-round selections for running back can return big dividends. Sorry guys, I’m not going to dive into rushing stats to demonstrate that like I did for quarterbacks. Maybe next year (but probably not).
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t improve at the position. Right now, Patrick Laird is our only running back worth half a damn on the roster, and we definitely need to bring more bodies into the group. We should probably target a running back in the middle rounds of the draft. Maybe the second if someone falls, but in general I’m against investing a lot of draft capital or cap space into the position.
It’s also worth noting that in moving to a spread offense under Gailey, rushing is unlikely to be the focal point of our attack. Versatile backs who are useful both as pass blockers and receivers are going to be very important, so a bruiser like Derrick Henry (who I doubt makes it to free agency) doesn’t seem like the type of player we should be targeting.

Tight End

As noted last week, Mike Gesicki stepping up for us in 2019 was a big get, and I expect that his role will increase even more in Gailey’s offense as he was very successful in college in a similar scheme. That said, one of the ways that we can continue to help out our offensive line in both pass blocking and run blocking is to run more sets with multiple tight ends. We brought in a lot of tight ends last off season to try and improve the group, but really only Gesicki has emerged as anything worthwhile. I don’t expect this position to be a major priority, but there’s a couple free agents who might be worth looking at if they become available.
Given the much lower likelihood that we’ll actually pursue one of these targets, I won’t go into as much depth as above for the offensive line. These are just some names to keep in mind that might not be completely out of left field.
Austin Hooper
Hooper’s a threat in the passing game, no doubt. In the past two seasons he’s caught 146 of 180 targets for 1,447 yards and ten touchdowns with only four drops. He has similar flaws to Gesicki, though, as he’s rarely used in pass protection and isn’t the stoutest run blocker (although he’s still an improvement over Gesicki in blocking). He’d be another big-bodied passing threat in what figures to be a passing-heavy offense, though.
Hunter Henry
Hunter Henry’s a very similar guy to Hooper. In his first two seasons he was much more effective in pass protection and run blocking, but he had a down year in 2019 after missing all of 2018, but he’s another guy who provides a big-bodied receiving threat that provides match-up problems for linebackers.
Tyler Eifert
He’s starting to get on the older side, but he’s probably the most well-rounded of the tight ends available in free agency. Eifert didn’t get a lot attention in the passing game this season, but he was solid in pass protection and decent in run blocking. He’s probably not a guy we target unless he’s really cheap.

Wide Receiver

We’re not going to sign a wide receiver in free agency. We’re probably not going to draft a wide receiver before the fifth round in April either. DeVante Parker and Preston Williams figure to be our two main targets in 2020, and last week I already discussed that I think we should drop both Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson while keeping Allen Hurns and bringing back Isaiah Ford. That doesn’t leave much room for additional wide receivers who should expect to see much playing time.
I’ll readily admit, though, that it does skew towards a single skill set. Isaiah Ford is the smallest of the bunch listed at 6’2” and 189 pounds. The others are all 6’3” or taller and over 200 pounds. They all posted combine 40 times right around the average for wide receivers (4.48). In that group Hurns figures as our slot receiver (where he played 50% of his snaps last season). The group lacks lateral speed, shiftiness, and speedsters in general, but we’ve had both of those recently (Kenny Stills, Jakeem Grant, Albert Wilson) and except for Stills none of those players ever provided consistent production.
Regardless of what the team ultimately decides to do with Wilson and Grant, wide receiver is the last position any of us should expect to invest in this offseason, whether that’s in terms of cap space or draft picks. The only way I see us grabbing a wide receiver is if someone unexpected falls into our laps in April.
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All you need to know before betting on the NFL's Week 12 games is contained within this handy cheat sheet, including updated odds, point spreads, injury reports and more. NFL Week 12 Spreads, Over/Under, Betting Odds, Game Picks. By: David Latham, Managing Editor | November 19, 2019. 11 weeks on NFL action are in the books, and Vegas just released their NFL Week 12 spreads and over/unders. Let’s take a dive into each matchup, break down the games, and decide which side to bet on. Live NFL Week 12 betting lines from your favorite US sportsbooks. Get the latest spreads, totals and moneylines for every game on the NFL schedule. Check out Week 12 NFL betting trends on every game below. [ Odds were Week 12 NFL opening lines from BetOnline] Thu - Houston at Detroit (+3) (12:30pm ET) Texans 8-2 SU & ATS past 10 road games Texans 7-1 SU & ATS past 8 games in November Lions 2-6-1 ATS past 9 games as underdog. Thu - Washington at Dallas (-3) (4:15pm ET) Week 12 of the 2018 NFL season has arrived! It's officially time to dive into point spreads and betting lines around the sport on a weekly basis. That means picks and predictions for the entire

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