ESPN beat writer James Walker:
Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi started just 12 games last season and put up huge numbers. This is the first season entering as the known starter and Ajayi has more confidence and swagger that he can carry the load. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said he won't be afraid to give Ajayi 350 carries if needed this season. Ajayi also has worked diligently on catching the football out of the backfield, which to date is his biggest weakness. Ajayi should have a monster year and could put up 1,900 total yards if he stays healthy.
Ajayi had a breakout season, but nearly 58% of his rushing yards came in four of his 15 games (against the Bills twice, the Steelers and the Jets). He averaged 6.74 YPC in those four weeks, and just 3.56 YPC in the other 11 games. Not coincidentally, three of those four big games came with center Mike Pouncey in the lineup, yielding a 5.96 YPC with Pouncey (versus 4.12 YPC without). As long as his offensive line is healthy, Ajayi should have a very productive 2017.
This will be DeVante Parker’s third season since he was a Miami Dolphins‘ first-round draft choice.
And there are strong indications this is the season Parker takes the giant leap forward he’s surely capable of.
“It’d be consistency,” Christensen said. “He’s run fast every day where last year it was kind of up and down. One day you’d think you had a Hall of Famer and the next you weren’t sure if he was going to make it to the game. Just his health and staying consistent. I think his routine and how fast he’s played has been really, really different from last year.”
Head coach Adam Gase says he sees a “hungry” Parker.
Gase has said Parker is “applying himself” and that he has the physical gifts to be a “big play, number one receiver.”
Gase has predicted a “gigantic year” for Parker.
In 15 games, Parker was the #50 WR last season, catching 56 passes for 744 yards and four touchdowns on 88 targets. He was on the injury report for six of those games (3.3-39-0.33, 9.2 PPG in PPR formats) and healthy for nine (4.0-57-0.20, 11.0 PPG). Those "healthy" PPG numbers are about what Anquan Boldin scored as 2016's #41 fantasy receiver. If he can stay healthy, he should provide WR3 numbers, but that’s a big “if.”
Jay Ajayi is entering 2017 as a full-time starter for the first time in his NFL career. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase recently said Ajayi could get as many as 350 rushing attempts if the running back stays healthy and plays all 16 games, which is 90 more attempts than last season.
"I'm ready for it," Ajayi said Tuesday during the opening of Miami's organized team activities. "I prepare myself every season to take a huge workload and be able to carry the team, and I think I'm ready for that."
Since 2010, 20 running backs have surpassed the 300-carry mark, and they all played at least 15 games, so staying healthy will be key for Ajayi. Those 20 backs averaged 284.3 fantasy points (PPR), or 17.8 FP per game. That's about what Devonta Freeman scored and averaged as last year's #6 fantasy back. From Week 5 on, Ajayi averaged 16.1 FP and 20.2 carries per game. That puts him at a 258-point, 323-carry pace over a full, 16-game season.
Dolphins beat writer Armando Salguero:
Today, on the eve of the Dolphins beginning their Organized Team Activities (OTAs), there is one player coaches believe has taken a significant jump from what they saw last year. He has become one of, if not the most improved player, in the early part of the team’s offseason conditioning program and coaches are hopeful that will continue and carry over to the OTAs ...
Then to training camp.
And the preseason.
And the 2017 regular season.
DeVante Parker is that player.
I am told by multiple sources Parker has been so impressive this offseason he has coaches hopeful he can finally develop into the dominant threat the Dolphins were expecting when they drafted him in the first round in 2015.
In 15 games, Parker was the #50 WR last season, catching 56 passes for 744 yards and four touchdowns on 88 targets. He was on the injury report for six of those games (3.3-39-0.33, 9.2 PPG in PPR formats) and healthy for nine (4.0-57-0.20, 11.0 PPG). Those "healthy" PPG numbers are about what Anquan Boldin scored as 2016's #41 fantasy receiver. The article discusses how Parker is more mature this offseason and seems to be taking care of his body. If this translates to a healthier season, he should produce at a higher level in 2017.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase expects TE Julius Thomas to cause similar matchup problems with Miami like he did in Denver in 2013 and 2014.
According to Gase, the Dolphins were seeing a lot of base defenses when they went with three wide receivers and one tight end. Essentially, opponents didn't fear Miami's tight ends enough and were willing to cover them with linebackers, and the statistics bear that out.
The Dolphins did not get nearly enough production out of the tight end position last season due to injuries and inconsistency. Last year’s starters -- Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims -- combined for just 34 receptions for 316 yards and five touchdowns.
Thomas knows the system well and shouldn’t have a big learning curve, the story said. Gase also knows how to get the best out of Thomas and will put together a productive route tree and efficient ways to use the tight end.
Thursday, March 9, 2017, 11:05pm
PFT has confirmed that Stills is staying with Miami. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that it’s a four-year deal worth $32 million, with $20 million guaranteed.
Stills finished the season as the #46 fantasy receiver (PPR), but he caught six of his nine touchdowns in the final eight weeks of the season, and was the #24 receiver in that span. He averaged 5.6 targets per game in the back half of the season after averaging 4.4 targets in the first eight games. Given his big-play ability, he’s always been a high FP/target player. In the 19 career games where he’s seen at least six targets, he has averaged 4.3 catches for 65 yards and 0.37 TD (on 7.4 targets), or 13.1 PPG.
Thomas is reunited with his former offensive coordinator, Adam Gase, in Miami. While in Denver, Thomas averaged 4.2 catches for 49 yards and 0.92 TD (14.6 PPR fantasy points) in 26 games under Gase. Since then, he has averaged 3.6 catches for 35 yards and 0.43 TD (9.7 PPR fantasy points) in 21 games. Injuries have been an issue, but Thomas is entering his age-29 season and is a major threat in the red zone.
The Broncos are expected to offer Vance Joseph their head coaching job, according to 9News.com's Mike Klis. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported earlier in the week that Joseph was the front-runner for the job heading into the interview process. Joesph, who served as the Dolphins' defensive coordinator during the 2016 season, would replace Gary Kubiak, who retired a year after leading Denver to a title in Super Bowl 50.
The Steelers quarterback arrived to his postgame news conference Sunday with a boot on his right foot following Pittsburgh's 30-12 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Wild Card Weekend. He said that he hurt his ankle on his second-to-last play of the win.
"We don't know anything yet, but well find out soon enough," Roethlisberger said about his prognosis. "You're always worried about being hurt, but I'll be out there next week."
After the game, Roethlisberger underwent tests on his ankle, which confirmed the injury is not serious, sources informed of the injury told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Monday.
When it comes to injuries, Roethlisberger the league's preeminent drama queen, regularly overstating or drawing attention to his injuries so that he can develop a "tough guy" reputation for playing through them. He'll be out there against the Chiefs.
Sunday, January 8, 2017, 11:51am
Friday, January 6, 2017, 5:00pm
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill (knee, out) returned to take limited reps Friday after missing practice earlier in the week and is out for Week 18. Tannehill’s return to practice is encouraging, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to play this week. Matt Moore will get the start. He has targeted Kenny Stills on 23% of his pass attempts since taking over for Tannehill in Week 14.
Friday, January 6, 2017, 5:00pm
Steelers TE Ladarius Green (concussion, questionable) missed practice Friday after taking full reps Thursday and is questionable for Week 18. He’s still in the concussion protocol, so it doesn’t look like Green will make his return this week. Eli Rogers has been one of the beneficiaries of Green’s absence; he has averaged 4.1 catches for 49 yards and 0.22 TD (on 5.8 targets) in the nine games in which Green was either sidelined or played less than 20% of the snaps. In the other four games, Rogers has averaged 2.8 catches for 37 yards and 0.25 TD (on 3.5 T/G). Jesse James has averaged a modest 2.9 catches for 25 yards and 0.25 (on 4.3 T/G) with Green out or very limited. The Dolphins have been poor against both receivers (#28 in WR aFPA) and tight ends (#32 in TE aFPA).
Ladarius Green remains in concussion protocol, but Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is hopeful the veteran tight end can play Sunday in the AFC wild-card playoff game against the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field.
Green has not played since taking a blow to the head late in the Steelers' game at Cincinnati on Dec. 18.
“He is progressing rather well,” Tomlin said.
Miami coach Adam Gase said he’ll have a better idea on quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s availability for a Wild Card playoff game at Pittsburgh by Tuesday.
“I need to know what his movement skills are and the structure of his knee,” Gase said. “Once I get that update I’ll have a better idea. Any time you get a starter back no matter what position that’s what you want. But since Matt (Moore) has been in there he’s done a really good job.”
Gase is not ready to say if Tannehill can or will practice this week. Tannehill is healing from a sprained ACL and MCL.
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