RAIDERS // DOLPHINS OVERVIEW
This is going to be one of the least appealing games on the slate from a DFS perspective, as there are simply a lot of things these teams can do to slow down one another. I won’t be particularly surprised if this game finds a way to sneak above its game total of 43.5, but I will be surprised if these points are backed up by major yardage.
RAIDERS PASS OFFENSE
Last week, the Raiders finally got Amari Cooper going against the Broncos, while Jordy Nelson plodded around looking like a tight end at this point in his career. Cooper was targeted 10 times, and he was the apparent first read on several other occasions. He was especially unfriendly to Bradley Roby, attacking him on back-to-back plays during a memorable sequence. The Broncos were playing off Cooper, however — allowing him plenty of room underneath. The Dolphins are not in the business of doing this, as they play closer to the line of scrimmage and focus on those shorter portions of the field. This honestly sets up a lot more poorly for Amari than what he had last week, and I’m pegging a repeat as somewhat unlikely. To be clear: Amari has the talent to beat the Dolphins deep a couple times; but he’ll have to beat them deep, as another high-efficiency, 10-catch game is going to be difficult to find in this spot.
Behind Amari, this wide receiver group is pretty thin, with Jordy Nelson serving as the nominal number two, but dad-running his way to a 5-53-0 line through two weeks, on only eight targets. Seth Roberts grabs a few targets underneath, and Martavis Bryant will grab a few targets deep.
Jared Cook has been the number two guy in this offense in reality, catching a monstrous 13 out of 16 targets so far for 229 yards. He also drew a target inside the 10-yard-line last week, giving him at least a shot at some touchdown action. The Dolphins should be above-average against the tight end this year (though, as noted in Week 1, they did struggle mightily against the position last year, so there is room for this to grow into a weakness once again). So far on the season, Miami ranks first in the NFL in DVOA against the pass, and they are disciplined enough to not get fooled by most of the misdirection that Gruden creates.
RAIDERS RUN OFFENSE
Oakland ranks fifth in the NFL so far in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards; and yet, Marshawn Lynch has only been able to average 3.7 yards per carry. He can still make some breathtaking plays, but he is giving up too many yards behind the line, and he gets another tough matchup this week against a Dolphins team that ranks fifth in DVOA against the run. With such a small role in the pass game, Lynch really needs a touchdown to pay off for us in 0.5-PPR and full-PPR scoring. The Raiders’ Vegas-implied total gives them credit for about two touchdowns and a pair of field goals, which looks about right. Lynch is a nice low-owned salary saver if he hits for that touchdown, but his floor is low if he misses.
DOLPHINS PASS OFFENSE
No team in the entire NFL has run the ball more often than the Dolphins this season, which is right in line with what they did in 2016 when Ryan Tannehill was last healthy — finishing that season fifth in the NFL in rushing rate. The final piece of this puzzle is to slow down the clock (26th in pace of play this year; 32nd in 2016), and to shorten the game as much as possible. And while you can knock it from a DFS perspective, the Dolphins are 2-0, and they went 10-6 and made the playoffs in 2016.
This is honestly a good offense, all things considered. It’s creative and effective, and while there are a lot of things Tannehill can’t do that would make this offense a lot more fun, he is effective at doing the things he can do. As effective as this offense is, however, it is one of the league’s least explosive units. It would be difficult to trust this spot on a slate like this.
If you feel compelled to go here for some reason, here are the target counts on the season for Dolphins wide receivers through two full games:
11 – Jakeem Grant
10 – Danny Amendola
9 – Albert Wilson
8 – Kenny Stills
DOLPHINS RUN OFFENSE
The matchup here is absolutely fantastic, against an Oakland defense that currently ranks dead last in both yards allowed per carry and DVOA against the run. Add it all together, and we have the run-heaviest offense in the NFL taking on the league’s worst run defense to date.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that Kenyan Drake is averaging only 16 touches per game, to 9.5 touches per game for Frank Gore.
The Dolphins should be able to fire off a good 25 running back rush attempts in this one, so perhaps we see something like 15 carries and four targets for Drake and 10 carries and one target for Gore. Their offensive line is a middling unit by Adjusted Line Yards, but they have more than enough talent to take care of the Raiders in this spot.
These have been two of the worst pass rushing units in the NFL so far this season, so perhaps this game could turn into a much higher-scoring affair than anyone is expecting; but the fundamental philosophy of Miami’s offense is to slow down the game and keep the clock running, while their philosophy on defense is to play tight zone and make it difficult for the opponent to pick up easy yards underneath. With all those pieces coming together in this spot, I have a difficult time seeing this turning into a blowup spot.
I have no serious interest in any player from either side — though I do give Drake a decent shot at 18+ points here, while Gore could post a usable game with a touchdown. I may put Drake on my early-week list, simply because the matchup dictates he should be there, but I’ll be hoping to actually end up rostering someone a bit more safe.