WR Brian Hartline, Free agent
HT: 6-2, WT: 195, Born: 11-22-1986, College: Ohio State, Drafted: Round 4
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Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]Overall: J Matthews (158), A Bradshaw (159), Brian Hartline (160), J Manziel (161), S Greene (162)
Position: J Boykin (153-WR55), J Matthews (158-WR56), Brian Hartline (160 - WR57), K Britt (166-WR58), J Jones (173-WR59)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: R Tannehill (146), J Matthews (147), Brian Hartline (148), J Boykin (149), C Ivory (150)
Position: M Wheaton (144-WR53), J Matthews (147-WR54), Brian Hartline (148 - WR55), J Boykin (149-WR56), S Smith (151-WR57)
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Hartline had his second straight 1,000 yard season and was one of the only reliable elements in the Miami offense last year. We expect Mike Wallace to have a better year, Brandon Gibson is returning to full health and the team selected Jarvis Landry in the second round - there are more mouths to feed so it could be difficult to get Hartline the ball regularly. On top of that, the Palm Beach Post has reported that many think Landry is Hartline's replacement and as they can save a significant chunk of money if they cut Hartline next offseason. Which does two things - puts the Dolphins in a position of needing to know what Landry can do and puts Hartline in a potential make-or-break season. Overall, we expect a dip, placing Hartline as a WR4 or WR5, and worthy only of bench depth.
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - You could argue the Dolphins also overpaid Hartline, but it was likely a deal that had to get done. The chemistry between Tannehill and Hartline during the former’s rookie season was rather brilliant. The timing on out routes and back shoulder throws was perfect and needed to be as Hartline struggles to create separation from cornerbacks. Their relationship seems to only have improved during the offseason. The touchdown pass was a seamless pitch-and-catch as Hartline didn’t even need to toe-tap in the back of the end zone. Time and time again, when Tannehill needed a completion yesterday he would only end up looking one way. With Hartline seeing a weaker cornerback and single coverage often, he’ll likely be the most targeted receiver in Miami’s offense this season. He’s already matched his touchdown total from 2012, and with the Dolphins starved for a red zone weapon, it will be interesting to see if Tannehill looks his way near the end zone. Could he best his 74 catches and 1,083 yards from 2012? If Mike Wallace commands double-teams and his quarterback has to throw the ball to make up for a below average running game, it’s certainly possible.
Week 2 - Hartline continued to draw the eye of Ryan Tannehill against the Colts, racking up 8 targets in the win. That gives him 23 targets through 2 games, a huge number for someone who was supposed to be an afterthought in the passing game this season. The chemistry between Tannehill and Hartline cannot be understated. The comeback and dig routes that they routinely connect on are a thing of beauty. The timing on the throws makes it seem like the pair have been playing together for nearly a decade. Hartline continues to produce without an elite skill-set, and he should continue to get consistent looks as long as Mike Wallace is drawing some attention. It will be interesting when the Dolphins start their division slate. If Wallace draws the attention of Antonio Cromartie, Aqib Talib, and Stephon Gilmore (when healthy), how much will Ryan Tannehill look to exploit the likes of Dee Milliner, Alfonzo Dennard, and Leodis McKelvin. It’s looking ahead, but they may be the weeks to give Hartline a start, especially during the bye week crunch.
Week 3 - Hartline saw just six targets on the day, but was able to capitalize by using a busted coverage to score a touchdown. He’s already surpassed his absurd one TD on 74 receptions from 2012, so this can only be taken as a positive. He led the Dolphins in receiving for the second time in three weeks, so it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere. He continues to have the best chemistry with Ryan Tannehill, making plays across the middle of the field and down the left sideline from his usual left wide receiver position. He was working on rookie Desmond Trufant for most of the game, but Trufant played him tough, often bumping him off his route at the line of scrimmage. Hartline will struggle against guys who can get a body into him and press him at the snap, but given that this was his worst week of the season, catches and yards wise, it bodes well for his value that he produced on the six targets he did receive. It should be pointed out, though, that he did play sporadically on the Dolphins’ final drive. He might’ve picked up an injury in the final quarter, so that’s something to watch for.
Week 4 - Brian Hartline’s run of good performances ended on Monday night as he saw just 4 targets from Ryan Tannehill. Early on, the chemistry was there between him and his quarterback, hitting on some chain-moving slants and in-breaking routes in the first quarter. But, Tannehill’s interception in the second quarter caused him to look away from Hartline for most of the rest of the game. Hartline just wasn’t able to get by Jabari Greer’s press coverage for much of the night. That was another perfect part of Rob Ryan’s defensive plan for the Saints. They can’t stop the run at all, but once the offense puts up some points, Ryan can use press-man coverage on the receivers and bring blitzes from all sides, forcing the quarterback to make quick, and often poor decisions. Hartline should be due to bounce back after this poor display, but it’s another reminder that he’ll struggle against physical corners who play him at the line of scrimmage.
Week 5 - Seeing Jimmy Smith’s press coverage all day, Hartline struggled to get on track. However, he and his quarterback still showed off their trademark timing on the routes they hooked up on, including a short quick hitter which Hartline shook his would be tackler and picked up an extra 20 yards. Hartline won’t break many tackles, but he’ll almost exclusively be working against one-on-one coverage every time he lines up. Additionally, he often won’t see the opposing teams’ best cornerback. Although he hasn’t shown any big-time ability to beat press coverage, he’ll usually be able to take advantage of a matchup where he sees a cushion. His quarterback will see that all day and look to Hartline often. Even with Mike Wallace seeing 16 targets, Hartline still saw 7 looks. While he may not offer much upside, Hartline remains the most consistent fantasy play in the Dolphins’ receiving corps.
Week 7 - The Tannehill-to-Hartline connection continues to be the most consistent in the Dolphins’ passing game. The chemistry on their timing routes continues to be unmatched, and they’ll usually hit on about 4 or 5 per game, giving Hartline the highest floor of any Miami pass catcher. There will always be a few duds along the way when he’s matched up versus a physical press corner, but most of the time, that corner will be matched up on Mike Wallace. He doesn’t do much after the catch, but with 10 and 15 yard slants, outs, and comebacks, his low YAC numbers aren’t of too much concern. It’s fair to say that Hartline will lead the Dolphins in targets, catches, and yards by the end of the season. Because of that, he’s a weekly fantasy option.
Week 8 - Bill Belichick stuck his best active cornerback, Alfonzo Dennard on Brian Hartline for nearly all of Sunday’s matchup. Tannehill only targeted his go-to receiver just six times, and they hooked up four times on their usual array of short crossing and comeback routes. Without Aqib Talib, Belichick gambled that he wouldn’t get beat by Mike Wallace, sticking Dennard on Hartline. It worked. Dennard was lined up in press coverage on Hartline for most of the afternoon, following him wherever he went in the formation. Hartline struggled to beat the press coverage, and struggled to separate all afternoon. The six targets were still good for third on the team, but with Tannehill putting up 42 passes, fantasy owners were likely expecting more. It will be interesting to see if any other teams follow this blueprint laid out by Belichick. Put your top corner on Hartline, press him, and he’ll struggle. Have a corner and a safety on Wallace, and see if Tannehill can beat you. With Brandon Gibson now out for the season, Hartline should expect a slight uptick in targets, but now there will be even more pressure on him to produce for a sputtering Dolphins team.
Week 9 - It was a slow day for Hartline on Thursday, as he saw just five targets in the passing game. His night was difficult due to the poor game-flow going for the Dolphins. After seeing a ton of the ball in the first half but using the ground game with great effect, Miami had very little possession in the second half. Hartline saw coverage from Adam Jones all night and struggled to separate again, but still came up big when the Dolphins needed him. His biggest catch of the game came on a 20-yard out late in the fourth quarter. It was the longest play on the game-tying drive for the Dolphins, and easily one of the better grabs of the season. Hartline barely toe-tapped on the sideline as he fell out of bounds, reminding fantasy owners that he is a dependable asset who Ryan Tannehill will look for, especially with Brandon Gibson on the shelf for the season.
Week 10 - The always trusty Brian Hartline had another steady game as Ryan Tannehill’s possession receiver. Early on, the Bucs had the quick-hitting slant game figured out. They broke up multiple passes. But, Tannehill and Hartline adjusted and started working the middle of the field. The 8 targets Hartline saw were his most since Week 7, and he had the most yardage since the Week 7 game against the Bills. He did see one high leverage end zone target, but his quarterback attempted to fit the ball into a small window and it was broken up. The Dolphins failed to get the run game going yet again in another loss, so look for them to reestablish that in the next few games. Ryan Tannehill will remain somewhat inconsistent, but Hartline is usually a good a bet as any to get anywhere from 45-65 receiving yards. However, with byes ending and the fantasy playoffs looming he’s ideally the first wide receiver on the bench that owners can use in a good matchup or if another receiver goes down.
Week 11 - Brian Hartline saw 13 targets from his QB on Sunday, a huge number considering Ryan Tannehill threw the ball 35 times. However, it didn’t result in a huge fantasy day for the Miami possession receiver. The normally sure-handed and trusty receiver suffered a few drops, and was also not on the same page as his quarterback in a few situations. Seeing coverage from Derek Cox for much of the day, Hartline was routinely frustrated by Cox’s press coverage, but was able to beat him on a few occasions. The drops were unfortunate, as they ended drives and kept Hartline from recording over 80-90 yards, which would’ve made his day a little better. But, something that the Dolphins have been doing a little more in the recent weeks is moving their receivers around the formation more. Hartline is an intriguing player from the slot because Tannehill can usually hit him on quick slants. It’s a play that they know will usually work when called. While it won’t balloon Hartline’s value, he could get a few a more looks in the passing game.
Week 12 - Brian Hartline only saw 5 targets on the day against victimized rookie cornerback Melvin White, but ha hauled in all of them. Hartline, as usual, was Ryan Tannehill’s go-to receiver on third downs, coming through with some chain-moving catches. It was odd that Hartline saw only 5 targets working against the struggling rookie White. Hartline was winning against him, but often times Tannehill had to escape the pocket to the right. With Hartline usually working on the left side of the formation, it was difficult for Tannehill to find his trusty receiver. Although he doesn’t have any after the catch ability, Hartline is about as consistent as it gets. He rarely drops passes, and we often run crisp, smart routes. However, Sunday was the most yards he’s had in a game since Week 1. He’ll always be good for 4 or 5 catches per game, but with the byes done, he’s a low-ceiling WR3 next week vs. the Jets.
Week 13 - Brian Hartline was the main beneficiary of the Jets’ struggling secondary, as Rex Ryan matched Dee Milliner up with Hartline for most of the day. Ryan Tannehill’s go-to target didn’t disappoint, running crisp routes and turning around Milliner all afternoon. Milliner made a few pass breakups, preventing a few more big plays, and overall held Hartline to just 4 catches on 9 targets when he was matched up on him, but the damage was still done. Hartline is often looked to as the chain-moving third down target, and Sunday was no different. Tannehill simply trusts Hartline to get open, via slant, out, or comeback route, and he can deliver the ball quickly and usually pick up a first down. Even after Milliner was pulled for Ellis Lankster, Tannehill and Hartline continued to connect, hooking up 3 times for 36 yards in the fourth as the Dolphins were closing out the game. Hartline’s touchdown was a rare bit of after the catch ability from the Ohio State product, slipping two tackles and finding the end zone from 31 yards out. Sunday will probably go down as Hartline’s best game of the season, as the 15 targets tied his season high from Week 1. It was the fourth double digit target game for Hartline in 2013, so it’s conceivable that he’ll see another 10+ look game this season. With the Dolphins pushing for a playoff spot, Hartline should see some value as a WR3, especially in PPR leagues, through the rest of the season.
Week 14 - Brian Hartline had a slow go of it in the first half on Sunday, but ultimately made some plays in the second half, which gave him another solid fantasy outing. After being shut out in the first half, Hartline came alive on the Dolphins’ opening drive of the second half, catching consecutive in-breaking routes to help setup Daniel Thomas’ touchdown. Hartline was the target on Ryan Tannehill’s interception on the next drive, but there was little he could do to deter Troy Polamalu from making a play on the ball. He made amends quickly by making a beautiful toe tapping touchdown on the next drive to give the Dolphins the lead again. He has the Jordy Nelson characteristic of just knowing exactly where out-of-bounds is and being able to get both feet down no matter how difficult the play. He has touchdowns in consecutive games, which might be a little fluky, but moreover, has at least 5 catches or more in the last 5 games. He will always get looks from Tannehill because they will always find each other. For a fantasy team that has upside at lot of positions, Hartline is as a consistent WR3/flex option as there is in the league. Additionally, he has good matchups with the Patriots and Bills still left.
Week 15 - Brian Hartline had a very typical Brian Hartline game on Sunday. There’s absolutely nothing striking about how he plays the game; no blinding speed, no great size, but he runs very precise routes and Ryan Tannehill will find him more often than not. Tannehill and Hartline connected on their usual array of slants, in-breaking routes, and out routes as Hartline worked for he majority of the day on Alfonzo Dennard, who has turned into a very solid cornerback for the Patriots. Occasionally, Hartline would get caught up in Dennard’s press coverage, but he was able to win at the line of scrimmage frequently enough to do his damage. It was another 8 target day for the possession receiver, just one behind Wallace and Rishard Matthews for the team lead. Hartline offers one of the most consistent floors for any WR3 in fantasy football and will continue to do so in the fantasy Super Bowl.
Week 16 - Brian Hartline probably had the worst day of his professional career on Sunday, battling multiple drops and Stephon Gilmore to haul in two catches on 10 targets. Hartline started the game without gloves, but suffered two awful drops early on. He then went to gloves, but the results were the same, as he got behind Gilmore and dropped a potential touchdown pass early on in the game. For most of the rest of the game, Hartline struggled to gain separation from Gilmore, an emerging shutdown corner in this league. On the curl, comeback, and out routes that Tannehill and Hartline have become accustomed to connecting on, Gilmore was always there to make a play. Funny enough, it took an injury to Tannehill and a brief exit from the game for Hartline to get on the board. Beating Gilmore deep again, Matt Moore threw a perfect ball down the sideline to his receiver. Hartline’s only other catch came on the Dolphins’ last drive with Moore back in at QB with the game decided. Just 22 yards away from surpassing 1,000 yards for the second consecutive year, Hartline’s role shouldn’t change much next season. He’ll never burn fantasy owners with a 0 point day, but they should look elsewhere for higher upside wide receivers. Ideally, he’s the first WR off the bench for a fantasy team.
Week 17 - Brian Hartline cleared the 1,000 yard mark for the second consecutive season on Sunday, just before leaving with a potentially serious knee injury. Hartline came down awkwardly after a nice catch and run in the first quarter. It was a huge blow for Ryan Tannehill, as he then struggled to find a rhythm without his surest target. Tannehill and Hartline weren’t exactly on the same page early in the game either, as there were a few missed opportunities and miscommunications between the two in the first quarter. Hartline didn’t return to the game, so there’s some worry about a serious injury. If he did indeed tear some ligaments in his knee, it would be a huge blow to the Dolphins as they head into another uneasy offseason. If Hartline is no lock to start the 2014 season, there will be even more pressure on Wallace, Brandon Gibson (who’s returning from his own serious injury), Rishard Matthews, and Charles Clay to step up early next season. Hartline has turned into a very good NFL receiver, despite not possessing elite playmaking skills. He has been a vital part of Ryan Tannehill’s development over the last two seasons. Hopefully he left the game as a precaution and will be healthy for the Dolphins’ offseason program.