The staff members at Footballguys are full of opinions. In a Faceoff, we allow two members to voice their opinions on a specific player. One picked the high side, and the other took the low side.
High Side by Stephen Holloway
Tannehill came into the league with abundant promise and not a lot of experience. He has shown improvement over his first four seasons, passing for the most yards last year with 4,210 yards and averaging a career high 7.17 YPA. The Dolphins return their two top wide receivers in Jarvis Landry and Devante Parker and have an athletic tight end in Jordan Cameron. The combination of Tannehill's improvement with his new leadership from Head Coach Adam Gase provides plentiful upside.
Tannehill has been a consistent producer and enters his fifth NFL season with even more promise. He continues to improve and is only 28. His improvement should get a big boost based on the more wide open offense expected from Adam Gase. The strength of the offense is definitely their receiving corps. In addition to the proven receiver starters, the Dolphins added Leonte Carroo with their 3rd round pick. He adds solid depth to hopefully allow the Dolphins to maintain production even with an injury.
Tannehill is a better than average athlete and capable of adding rushing yards. The running game as a whole however could be disappointing. They have little experience at the running back position. Anticipated starter, Jay Ajayi only appeared in 9 games as a rookie and logged 49 rushes for 187 yards. Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake are better suited as receiving backs than every down backs.
Tannehill has generally been a low volume passer, not yet attempting 600 passes in a season despite never missing a game. He threw for a career high 7.17 YPA last year and with Gase, could top the 600 pass attempt mark and add efficiency. Even at his low attempt volume, he has finished the past three seasons at QB14, QB9 and QB15. Either an increase in pass attempts or an improved passing game efficiency should push Tannehill above QB15 and he is currently being drafted at QB21 and 141st overall.
Low Side by Justin Howe
I'm really not sure what to make of Tannehill as a fantasy quarterback. His NFL history has been consistently inconsistent, but it's the arrival of Adam Gase that makes him so hard to project for 2016. I expect improvement as a passer, as Gase seems to be a fine offensive mind. But there's just no telling what the Miami offense has in store this year. Simply put, Gase's offensive preferences are near-impossible to nail down. As an NFL coordinator, he's run the gamut in terms of play volume and pass/run distribution, and he's now tasked with a brand new cast of characters. Will he pace up the Dolphins offense, like he did in Denver, where the Broncos consistently took more offensive snaps than the league average? Or will he follow the blueprint of his one Bears season, which was as run-heavy as just about anyone and toward the bottom of the NFL in plays?
I figure, as usual, we'll see the Dolphins wind up somewhere between the extremes. Though it's notable that Gase's only pass-heavy, high-paced teams were essentially co-coached alongside Peyton Manning, who's an offense unto himself. The presence of Tannehill, a mediocre passer without much pace-up experience, suggests he'll skew closer to last year's Bears. That team only recorded 64 plays a game and threw just 523 passes all year. Even if Tannehill boosts his efficiency in 2016, it doesn't seem likely he'll have the volume to truly soar.
Yes, Tannehill is loaded with intriguing weaponry at every receiving position. And yes, theoretically those targets could conspire to make Tannehill a better fantasy option than he's been in the past. But I have doubts as to whether he's good enough to capitalize. He's a mediocre downfield passer, so I wonder how he'll truly harvest the gifts of deep threats DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills. He's just average near the goal line, so his ho-hum TD production doesn't project to boost much. And he wasn't a running threat in 2015, recording just 32 rushes after 56 the year prior. We can probably nose those numbers up a bit with Gase and these receivers on board, but Tannehill has quite a way to climb to boost them too remarkably.
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