POSTED 11 AM EST ON THURSDAY
Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Miami’s defense should be the driving force of the game environment here.
- The Dolphins have allowed just 21.0 points per game while the Titans have allowed just 21.7 points per game so a conference slugfest is the likeliest outcome here.
- The Dolphins currently have seven players on the COVID list, most notably Albert Wilson, Preston Williams, and starting safety Brandon Jones (UPDATE: Albert Wilson has made his way off the list, with no other players able to do so yet – as of Friday).
- The Titans currently have eight players on the COVID list, most notably Julio Jones, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Nate Davis, Taylor Lewan, Bud Dupree, and Denico Autry (UPDATE: the Titans have returned all members of the offensive line from the COVID list but all defensive players have yet to be activated).
How miami Will Try To Win ::
Yup, seven straight wins immediately following seven straight losses – that’s quite impressive. What has carried them through the win streak is a defense that has created pressure, generated turnovers, and limited scoring, paired with an offense that has limited mistakes. During the streak, Miami holds a modest 54% overall pass rate, 50% pass rate when playing with a lead, and 59% pass rate when trailing. They have also forced 14 turnovers (two per game average) and amassed 33 sacks (almost five per game average). Those splits would be amongst the narrowest splits in the entire league over the course of the full season, meaning the team very clearly has a game plan and they are sticking to it. What has largely gone missed is how quick this team has played, checking into Week 17 with the second-fastest pace of play in the first half of games (22nd ranked second half pace of play that averages out to 11th overall). They are now playing for a playoff spot out of the AFC (Miami currently sits in the seventh and final playoff spot) so expect more of the same formula that has gotten them here this week.
The ground game has once again devolved into a three-headed timeshare after a significant turnover at the position. The team brought in Duke Johnson and Phillip Lindsay to work in conjunction with Myles Gaskin down the stretch. Last week was the first week where all four primary running backs (the three previously mentioned plus Salvon Ahmed) were healthy in the same game, and we saw almost a dead-even three-way split in snap rate, with Gaskin at 31%, Johnson at 35%, Lindsay at 29%, and Ahmed the odd man out. This is very much still an offense built around the pass, but routine positive game flow over the last seven weeks has afforded the Dolphins the opportunity to maintain a pass-balanced stature. The matchup on the ground this week yields a laughable 3.915 net-adjusted line yards metric in what should be considered a pass-funnel matchup.
During their seven-game win streak, the Dolphins have attempted more than 36 passes only twice, and one of those games came with Jacoby Brissett under center against the Texans. Tua Tagovailoa has averaged just 31.6 pass attempts in the five games he started and finished during that streak, compared to 38.25 per game in his four fully healthy games prior to that time. Basically, this offense has remained run-balanced when they are able to control games and they are not afraid to forgo the balanced nature when trailing. Rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle has emerged as one of the top possession-style wide receivers in the league, currently sitting only five receptions behind Anquan Boldin for the most receptions in a rookie season in NFL history. Joining Waddle in the starting lineup are DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and Durham Smythe as the team has transitioned to heavy 12-personnel usage over the second half of the season. Smythe is primarily a blocking tight end, Gesicki plays the majority of his snaps aligned in the slot (75.1% of his snaps this season have come from the slot), and Parker is utilized as a prototypical “X” wide receiver. Behind the primary four pass-catchers, Albert Wilson (currently on the COVID list), Mack Hollins, Isaiah Ford, and Preston Williams have all mixed in for modest roles of late. Williams was the odd man out last week and I would expect the same moving forward as Wilson returns from the COVID list, primarily due to Ford and Hollins’ heavy special teams roles.
How tennessee Will Try To Win ::
The Titans have maintained their slow-paced, run-balanced approach on offense even after Derrick Henry was lost for the season following Week 8. For example, their overall pass rates with and without Henry this season stand at 52% and 54%, respectively. Their pace of play sits at a 22nd ranked situation-neutral 31.84 seconds per play and 25th ranked overall 28.87 seconds per play. The biggest differences between this plan of attack working and not working (as it did so effectively last season and it largely hasn’t this season) have been the drive-disrupting acts of turnovers and sacks. The Titans have given the ball away over 1.7 times per game this season, on average. They have also allowed the fourth-most total sacks and second-highest adjusted sack rate on offense, driving situations that a run-balanced approach simply can’t overcome (late-and-long down-and-distance-to-go situations). Add in the multitude of injuries and COVID issues experienced by this team this season, and we start to see why this offense has been relatively ineffective. All of that said, the Titans currently sit in the second seed out of the AFC and only one game back of the Chiefs for the top overall spot, which is a true testament to the gritty nature of this team (the Titans are 5-2 in one-score games this season and have allowed just 21.7 points per game).
Similar to the Dolphins, this Titans backfield has settled into a three-way timeshare consisting of Jeremy McNichols, D’Onta Foreman, and Dontrell Hilliard. The three have maintained this timeshare over the last three games following Tennessee’s Week 13 bye. The matchup on the ground yields a below-average 4.175 net-adjusted line yards metric in a similarly difficult pass-funnel matchup. On top of the difficult on-paper matchup, the Titans currently have three offensive linemen on the COVID list, including Taylor Lewan and two depth pieces. Keep an eye on their respective statuses heading into the weekend.
The passing game has been a revolving door of mediocrity this season as the team has fought through injuries, COVID issues, and ineffective offensive line pass-blocking play. That has led to the team adopting more of a quick-strike, ball-out-quick mentality through the air that has primarily run through AJ Brown and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (COVID). Brown looked fully healthy last week following a three-game (and four-week) absence on the injured reserve, but he was held to just a 74% snap rate as the Titans continue their elevated usages of heavy personnel alignments. Keep an eye on the respective statuses of Julio Jones and NWI as the week progresses, as each is plastered to the league’s COVID list currently. Should they return, expect a smattering of role players as far as pass-catchers are concerned, with Chester Rogers likely joining the fold. Geoff Swaim, MyCole Pruitt, and Anthony Firkser have split snaps at the tight end position all season, and I would expect the same this week. None of the three are viable on a weekly basis as far as fantasy goes.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
It is likely we see this game environment driven by Miami’s defense, who hold the largest net-sack rate differential on the week (the Dolphins are third in sack rate on defense while the Titans rank second-to-last on offense). Tennessee also ranks 27th in giveaways per game at 1.7, while the Dolphins have generated an average of two turnovers per game over their seven-game win streak. These large differentials are likely to lead to a game where Miami can control the time of possession, pace, flow, and environment, creating an environment that mutes overall fantasy upside from each side. On top of the likeliest game flow, we have two teams that have significant run-balanced leans as far as play-calling goes against two pass-funnel opponents, giving further credence to the idea that this game starts and finishes slow. The Titans are likely to be the ones forced into increased aerial aggression as the game goes on, opening up more opportunities for turnovers to be generated by the aggressive Dolphins defensive unit.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By LexMiraglia10 >>
- Tannehill has just 3 games of 20+ DK pts in 2021, with a high of just 23.5
- Since 2020, the game scores of his 10 games of 20+ DK pts read: 46-25, 42-36, 35-41, 42-16, 41-38, 33-30, 30-24, 25-16, 27-3, 34-31
- That’s 8/10 games in which TEN scored 30+ pts, and 6/10 games in which the combined total finished over 60
- TEN offensive pts with Henry: 13 // 33 // 25 // 24 // 30 // 34 // 27 // 34
- TEN offensive pts without Henry: 21 // 23 // 13 // 13 // 20 // 13 // 20
- MIA has allowed four 300-yd passers
- Tannehill has passed for 300 yds in just 5 of his 32 starts since 2020
- With Brown’s return, Tannehill passed for 200+ yds last week for the first time since W11
- MIA has allowed 20 TDs to 13 INT in 15 games (10 INT in last 8 g)
- Allen (3) & Brady (5) are the only QBs with more than 2 TDs vs MIA
- Brown finished with 69% of Tanny’s 209 yds in his W16 return
- Julio & Westbrook went on COVID list
- In Brown’s 3g with 10+ tg, Julio has played 43%, 0%, 50% snaps
- Brown in those games: 8:133:1 // 10:155:1 // 11:145:1
- Those defenses are allowing WR DK pts/g of 34.6, 35.5, 37.5
- MIA allows 37.5 WR DK pts/g (7th most)
- Top performing WR vs MIA: Agholor (5:72:1) // Diggs (4:60:1) // Renfrow (5:77:1) // Pittman (6:59) // Brown (7:124:2), Evans (6:113:2) // MJJ (7:100:1) // Gage (4:67:1) // Beasley (10:110) // Cooks (6:56) // Bateman (6:80) // E Moore (8:141:1) // DJ Moore (4:103) // Golladay (3:37) // Crowder (5:40) // Humphrey (3:70)
- MIA has faced the 5th most WR tg
- MIA has allowed the 8th most WR yds
- 11 rush att was an individual TEN RB high in three games with Adrian Peterson
- Since cutting him::
- Foreman: 19:109 // 13:47:1 // 22:108 // 9:17:1
- Hilliard: 12:131:1 // 6:13 // 9:49 // 6:20
- McNichols: DNP // 8:16 // 6:26 // 7:31
- MIA has allowed 60+ rush yds to 8 RBs (3 of 100+)
- MIA allowed 9 RB TDs in first seven games, but has allowed none over the last eight (those opponents: BUF, HOU, BAL, NYJ, CAR, NYG, NYJ, NOR)
- MIA ranks 13th in def rush DVOA
- Tua scored 20+ DK pts in just 3/9 games in 2020 (21.4, 31, 21.2)
- Tua’s only two games over 20 DK pts in 2021 (25.4, 28.5) came against defenses ranked 31st & 29th in def pass DVOA
- TEN is ranked 10th in def pass DVOA
- 9/15 QBs vs TEN have scored 2+ TDs
- Tua has scored 2+ TDs in 6 of 9 full games
- Eight QBs have passed for 290+ yds vs TEN
- Tua has just two games of 290+ yds, and just one other game of 250+ yds
- Waddle with Tua (4:61:1 // 10:70:2 // 7:83 // 4:29 // 8:65 // 9:137:1 // 9:90 // 10:92:1)
- Parker with Tua (4:81 // 8:85 // 5:62 // 4:68:1 // 0:0)
- Only ATL allowed more WR DK pts than TEN in 2020
- TEN has allowed the 2nd most WR DK pts in 2021 (42.1)
- 10 WRs vs TEN in 2021 have scored 20+ DK pts: Hopkins (26.3), Kirk (24) // Lockett (34.8), Swain (21) // Davis (24.1) // Diggs (23.9), Beasley (21.8) // Pittman (30.6) // Kupp (20.5) // Bourne (23.1) // Deebo (31.1)
- TEN has allowed 17 WR TDs
- TEN has allowed the 11th highest success rate to WRs
- TEN has allowed the most WR rec & yds on the most WR tg faced
- Tg in games together: Waddle (6, 8, 13, 4, 12, 11, 12) // Parker (7, 9, 7, 9, 11, 5, 0)
- Gesicki tg with Tua (full): 2, 9, 8, 4, 6, 3, 11, 8, 4
- Gesicki has 40+ yds in 11/15 games (other four he combined for 39 yds)
- Gesicki has 80+ yds in three games
- From Weeks 3-7, Gesicki scored 18.6, 16.7, 8.3, 22.5, 21.5 DK pts
- In the other 10 games, Gesicki has averaged 6.7 DK pts/g with a high of 11.6
- TEN has allowed the 2nd lowest success rate & lowest yds/att to TEs
- Only TEs over 40 yds vs TEN: Arnold (64) // Kelce (65) // Higbee (51) // Jonnu (49)
- Only TEs to score vs TEN: Hollister, Sweeney, Doyle
- Top RB total yds vs TEN: Edmonds (106) // Carson (31) // Taylor (72), Hines (79) // Carter (34) // Robinson (147) // Singletary (43) // Williams (50) // Taylor (122) // Hendy (58) // Ingram (108) // Burkhead (40) // Harris (52) // JRob (4) // Najee (26) // Wilson (57)
- TEN has allowed the 2nd fewest RB rush yds & RB DK pts/g (19.1)
- TEN has allowed just 9 RB rush TDs, 1 RB rec TD
- MIA RB touches since Bye: Duke (35 att, 1 tg) // Gaskin (13 att, 3 tg) // Lindsay (13 att)
- Duke & Lindsay each had 13 rush att last week