Game Overview ::
By Hilow >>
- The Miami injury report is about 15 players deep, but it appears like the only two players in danger of missing Week 13 are S Jevon Holland and OT Kendall Lamm.
- Dolphins RB De’Von Achane (knee) got in consecutive limited sessions to start the week while WR Tyreek Hill (ankle) upgraded from ‘DNP’ to limited Thursday.
- Dolphins RB Raheem Mostert (ankle/knee) upgraded from ‘DNP’ to limited on Thursday and appears likely to play.
- The Commanders fired defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio after the team’s Week 12 game and brought in former Buffalo Bills secondary coach Jim Salgado “on an interim basis.” Clearly this team was tired of getting torched deep – whether that helps against the Dolphins remains entirely up in the air.
- The Commanders have been a fantasy goldmine this season, not for the Commanders themselves but for their opponents. Washington leads the league in pass-play rate and has been torched through the air, paving the way for some absolutely monstrous fantasy performances from pass catchers playing against them this year.
- I expect the Commanders to play more zone coverage with Ron Rivera now fully in charge of the defense, who’s also likely to introduce more unique blitz packages from zone. Those sweeping changes take time, particularly when you’ve been playing extreme rates of man coverage this season and now move to the more communication-heavy zone. All of that to say, don’t expect significant improvements in defensive efficiency from the Commanders against the Dolphins.
How miami Will Try To Win ::
The Dolphins have undergone an awakening of sorts this season. Improved defensive efficiency, an elite pass rush, and an explosive run game has allowed them to be even more unpredictable on offense, which has taken the form of reduced pass rates and a more dynamic run game. No longer is this team simply passing on every play for an entire drive as they were found doing on multiple occasions last season. The best way to relate this change is to say that Mike McDaniel has a little less “mad” in his “mad genius” title. He’s still a damn offensive wizard, but he’s going about his offensive game management in a more nuanced way this year when compared to last season. The beauty of that nuanced change means his team is a bit more cohesive and less frantic, which has done wonders for their ability to win in different ways this season. All of that to say, they completely outmatch the Commanders in every area on the football field this week, likely leaving the fantasy upside in the hands of extreme efficiency and an ability to score touchdowns. Worry not, friends, this team carries the ability to hammer those areas in spades. Expect a balanced but aggressive offensive design against an opponent that has bled explosive plays this season.
While it currently appears likely that the electric Achane returns to action in Week 13 after consecutive limited practices, it shouldn’t be viewed as a sure thing considering his four-game absence with a knee injury and then his tweaking of the ailment on three offensive snaps, forcing another missed game. Basically, Achane hasn’t been in action in what amounts to six weeks. During that time, Salvon Ahmed served as the preferred change-of-pace back in the duo over Jeff Wilson, until the former hit injured reserve himself. Regardless of whether it’s Achane or Wilson as the “two” in the one-two punch, expect Mostert to operate in a “lead back but below bellcow” role, typically in the 60-65 percent snap rate range. Even with those snap-rate handcuffs on, Mostert has managed opportunity counts of 24 and 20 over the previous two games and should once again be in line to approach or surpass 20 opportunities here (assuming health). That should leave 10-12 opportunities to the primary change-of-pace back, depending on game flow. The matchup on the ground is a solid one against a Washington defense yielding 4.4 yards per carry behind a robust 1.38 yards allowed before contact. The Commanders have surrendered “only” seven rushing scores this season, which is more of a nod to how easy it has been to score through the air on them than it is indicative of some glaring success defending the run (they have allowed an insane 28 passing scores through 12 games played).
Hill is on pace to make good on his preseason prediction of a 2,000-yard season. He has been the most consistent fantasy producer of all skill-position players this year, surpassing 100 yards through the air in seven of 11 contests and scoring 10 total touchdowns to this point in the season. He is averaging over 120 yards per game, with a required pace of 113 yards per game needed to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark. There isn’t a ton left to say about this man on the football field. He has been ELITE. Furthermore, he has seen double-digit targets in all but three games this season. A matchup against a Commanders defense allowing the highest rate of explosive pass plays sounds like exactly the matchup he needs to keep pace. And it isn’t like this man is running only downfield looks. On the contrary, his 10.0 aDOT ranks just 67th in the league and his route tree has grown during the 2023 season. On top of all that goodness, Hill carries an insane 35.4 red-zone target share and leads the league in targets per route run (TPRR) at 36.7 percent. The biggest knock to his upside is the Dolphins’ general tendency to remove him from the field in blowout wins, as he already has four games of 60 percent snap rate or less this season. The team is figuring out how to best utilize Jaylen Waddle in conjunction with Hill, as the talented third-year receiver has put up 100-yard games in two of his previous four contests after failing to do so during the first seven weeks of the season. Waddle’s 26.6 percent TPRR rate feels light years behind that of Hill’s, but it still ranks 17th in the league. His 16.7 percent red-zone target share is the biggest difference between the two, making it evident what the team wants to do with the football once it enter the red zone while also helping explain his comparatively small three receiving scores this year. The remaining wide receiver snaps and opportunities should be divided amongst Braxton Berrios, Cedrick Wilson, and River Cracraft, with tight end Durham Smythe now an afterthought in the offensive design.