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Fantasy Football: Week 3 waiver wire 09.20.16 at 10:15 am ET
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rotobahn-logoGreat Odin’s Raven! What a week! There were injuries everywhere you looked on Sunday, leaving fantasy GMs scratching their heads and searching for answers. Based on the numbers, Jamaal Charles and his fantasy owners were better off with him sitting out — avoiding the carnage that was Week 2. The same might be said for Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady’s owners. This is an unconventional week of preparation for fantasy GMs. There are going to be a lot of nervous people out there, and the bidding will be aggressive in leagues that use FAAB auctioning for free agents. In waiver leagues there will be tons of claims. I’m starting off with the running backs first this week because that’s where all the stress is.

Here are the backs who are either out for Week 3 or in some form of peril.

Ameer Abdullah (foot) — Seeing a specialist, out Week 3
Adrian Peterson (knee) — Highly questionable for Week 3, could be out multiple weeks
Doug Martin (hamstring) — Questionable for Week 3
Arian Foster (hamstring) — Questionable for Week 3
Thomas Rawls (leg bruise) — Could play Week 3
Rashad Jennings (wrist/thumb) — Questionable for Week 3
Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) — Out for Week 3
Danny Woodhead (ACL) — Out for the year

Some of this injury information is still fluid. I will update these situations and get into the relative value of the replacement options during this week’s waiver wire podcast over at Rotobahn, and in the expanded waiver wire at Rotobahn. Both will be posted before your commute home and they will get you up to speed fast.

RUNNING BACKS

Tevin Coleman, Falcons, 57 percent

Atlanta is sticking to a split backfield, and that makes Coleman a must-own player in all formats. If there’s an injury to Devonta Freeman, Coleman becomes a potential stud, and it’s crazy that so many Freeman teams are choosing to leave this guy on the waiver wire! Scoop him up and have a great upside talent on your bench or even in your lineup.

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings, 25 percent

He must be picked up at every available opportunity. McKinnon is an elite athlete with big-play potential. They did not overuse him last week because he’s been nursing a foot injury, but he should be ready for more this week and then even more after that. This is a potentially special running back and no way am I adding Matt Asiata if if have the option to add McKinnon.

Charles Sims, Buccaneers, 52 percent

He is a must-add player for Doug Martin owners and for anybody else who has bench space in any format, but particularly in PPR leagues. Sims has stand-alone flex appeal when Martin is healthy, but he could be an RB2 against the Rams if Martin is forced to sit with his sore hamstring. In better matchup, he has RB1 potential if starting.

Jordan Howard, Bears, 8 percent

He is the only running back in Chicago who is capable of being a true lead back. I suspect that he will own the early down and goal-line work at some point this season, and perhaps at some point soon. Howard is, quite simply, better than Jeremy Langford. Add him in all 12-team leagues.

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Read More: Charles Sims, Jerick McKinnon, Jordan Howard, Ryan Tannehill
Scout’s Take: 3 keys to victory for Patriots, Dolphins in Sunday’s contest 09.17.16 at 11:55 am ET
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Julian Edelman could be in for a big day Sunday. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Julian Edelman could be in for a big day Sunday. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

We have relied on the wisdom of Dan Hatman several times in the past, and with good reason: the current head of The Scouting Academy has served as an NFL scout for the Eagles, Jets and Giants. He sees the game from a unique perspective, and with that in mind, we asked him for three keys to success for the Patriots and three keys to success for the Dolphins for Sunday’s game at Gillette. Here’s what he provided.

For the Patriots…
1) Continue their use of spacing the defense by formation to attack the middle of the Miami defense with their tight ends and Julian Edelman. Seattle was able to consistently do this last week, and the Patriots have better weapons here, especially when Rob Gronkowski is available.
2) It’s a good week to leverage LeGarrette Blount in the A and B gaps. The Dolphins front plays wide to contain outside zone runs and is aggressive upfield. Trap blocking, counters and other mechanisms to influence the Miami front will help to put a bigger running back like Blount in good situations to attack downhill.
3) On defense, be prepared for bunch formations and crossing routes designed to loosen man coverage or tight coverage. The Dolphins work the seven- to fifteen-yard range heavily with this, and use Kenny Stills as the vertical threat, an area where Ryan Tannehill is more than willing to take a shot.

For the Dolphins…
1) Dolphins pass rushers need to work to stay on the edge, as the Patriots tackles struggle more with true edge rush than when rushers convert to power moves. The Dolphins also have an excellent “twist-game” coach in Jim Washburn, and will need to stress the Patriots’ offensive line with that element.
2) Don’t sit back in umbrella coverages and rally to tackle the Patriots. They live on consistent yardage, even in small quantities, and they will “dink and dunk” all the way down the field. The Dolphins need to be proactive, challenging all releases within five yards and tightening up.
3) Continue to throw to Kenny Stills. His drop was bad last week, but proving you can effectively attack all three levels of the field is critical to creating good matchups in other areas of the field. Working Stills from the slot makes it hard on the linebackers and safeties who need to carry him vertically.

Read More: Jim Washburn, Julian Edelman, Kenny Stills, LeGarrette Blount
Scouting Report: What you need to know about Dolphins-Patriots at 11:25 am ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo makes his first home start Sunday against the Dolphins. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo will make his first home start Sunday against the Dolphins. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Here’s what you have to know when it comes to Sunday’s Dolphins-Patriots contest at Gillette Stadium:

WHEN THE PATRIOTS RUN THE BALL

The Patriots are going to need to generate some yards on the ground consistently to keep the Miami pass rushers guessing. (Duh.) And while New England might not hit that 100-yard. 4.0 yards per carry plateau that serves as the benchmark for single-game success in the minds of many, it will still play a sizable role in the offensive game plan. LeGarrette Blount will again be tasked with the job of between-the-tackles wrecking ball, looking to keep it third-and-manageable for Jimmy Garoppolo. If all goes according to plan, look for Blount to replicate the 22-carry, 70-yard, one-touchdown performance he had last week against Arizona.

On the other side of the ball, Miami was a mixed bag against Seattle’s Christine Michael (15 carries, 66 yards) and Thomas Rawls (12 carries, 32 yards) in its Week One loss. It’s hard to rely on statistical models at this point in the season; as a result, much of this match is going to come down to game context. If the Patriots are able to gain a second-half lead, history tells us that Blount is at his best when he’s the lead back in a four-minute offense, chewing up clock and clearing a defense. If New England is trailing or even, the numbers will be slightly off.

WHEN THE PATRIOTS PASS THE BALL

Maybe the matchup that will go the longest toward deciding the ballgame. If the Patriots can find a way to slow down the Miami front — primarily, Ndamukong Suh — that should give Jimmy Garoppolo enough time in the pocket. It’s that simple. New England did well enough to give Garoppolo adequate time in the opener, as the youngster went 24-for-33 for 264 yards and one touchdown. (Part of that was the line and part of it was Garoppolo’s own quick release.) But while the Arizona defensive front is talented, but nowhere near as physical as this bunch. Suh looks like he’s fully engaged, which is bad news for the rest of the league. He’s part of a group that includes Mario Williams (who is expected to play despite leaving last week’s game because of concussion issues) and Cameron Wake (who is still being utilized as a situational guy as the Dolphins work him back slowly after last year’s Achilles’ injury).

Don’t be shocked if you see multiple tight end sets (man, Martellus Bennett really did a good job as a blocker against the Cardinals) and a heavy dose of James Develin as the Patriots try and do whatever it takes to slow down the Miami pass rush. Expect Garoppolo to lean on the usual suspects, including Julian Edelman, who as a perfect 7-for-7 on targets last week (the first time he did that since 2013), as well as Bennett, Chris Hogan and James White. White had maybe his steadiest game as a pass catcher, with five receptions on seven targets for 40 yards. Other than Kiko Alonso, the Miami linebackers aren’t great in coverage. And outside of safety Reshad Jones, the secondary isn’t that good either. Bottom line? If Garoppolo can get time and hang in against some quality rushers and the occasional blitz, this is a winnable matchup for New England.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Dont'a Hightower, Jakeem Grant, Jamie Collins
Ryan Tannehill mostly mum on Tom Brady’s Deflategate drama, but acknowledges Pats’ QB has faced ‘tough situation’ 09.14.16 at 6:54 pm ET
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Ryan Tannehill steered clear of any Deflategate talk Wednesday. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Ryan Tannehill steered clear of any Deflategate talk Wednesday. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Ryan Tannehill isn’t about to give the Patriots any sort of bulletin-board material.

The Miami quarterback was asked Wednesday afternoon for his thoughts on what’s happened to Tom Brady over the last year-plus in regards to his off-field battles. Tannehill only acknowledged that Brady has been through a “tough situation,” but wouldn’t go any deeper.

“It’s a tough situation,” Tannehill said of what Brady has gone through since the 2014 AFC title game. “But, honestly, I’m just focused on what we’re doing here and trying to find a way to beat the Patriots.”

Tannehill’s response contrasts with the thoughts offered up by Arizona’s Carson Palmer, who was asked about Brady’s Deflategate drama in the days leading up to last week’s Patriots-Cardinals game. Palmer basically said that if you get busted, you suffer the consequences.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Carson Palmer, Deflategate, Ryan Tannehill,
What will be different about Ryan Tannehill this time around? ‘A good element of control’ 09.13.16 at 4:03 pm ET
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Sep 11, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) looks to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during a NFL game at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the Dolphins 12-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Tannehill looks to pass against the Seahawks during last week’s game at CenturyLink Field. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots have faced Ryan Tannehill eight times since he came into the league in 2012.

They have won five of those meetings, mostly on the strength of defense and Patriots mistakes in Miami.

It’s sometimes hard to remember that the Dolphins saw so much in Tannehill that they drafted him eighth overall out of Texas A&M. He was also the third quarterback taken behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. He became the first Dolphins quarterback taken in the first round since Dan Marino in 1983.

He was an athletic quarterback who could scramble and make something happen (mostly positive) when the play broke down.

The Dolphins were so starved for a quarterback to pin their hopes to that ownership signed him to a four-year, $77 million extension in May 2015.

Joe Philbin was Tannehill’s first head coach, coming into Miami at the same time as Tannehill was drafted. But Philbin had a 24-28 record before being shown the door last October. Dan Campbell came on and Tannehill and the Dolphins were able to beat the Patriots in the 2015 season finale.

Now it’s Adam Gase’s chance to try and realize the potential of the big quarterback who stands 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. Gase, appointed Dolphins head coach in January, is a quarterback guru and former offensive coordinator who has worked with Jay Cutler and Peyton Manning. In both cases, the offense ran mostly through the quarterback’s eyes at the line of scrimmage.

From what Patriots coaches see early on, Tannehill will now have that same freedom and responsibility with Gase.

“You definitely can see Tannehill in the games that he’s played in the preseason and then [Sunday], he does have the ability to change plays, audible, move them around, check plays based on the looks and try to get them in the best play possible,” Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said Tuesday. “He certainly has a good element of control over the offense and he’s just going to try to, through the system, get them in the best position possible to stress the defense.”

In addition to the 5-3 record against Tannehill, the Patriots have allowed 10 touchdowns but intercepted him eight times in the eight previous meetings. Ironically, the last time the Dolphins won in Foxboro, it was in 2008 (as Chris Price notes) with the then-non traditional “Wildcat” set, featuring direct snaps to Ronnie Brown and making full use of the athletic ability in the offensive backfield. Their quarterbacks were Chad Pennington and Chad Henne.

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Read More: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Ryan Tannehill,
5 things you have to know about Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, Ndamukong Suh look to lift Miami to first win in Foxboro since 2008 at 1:51 pm ET
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First-year Dolphins coach Adam Gase will try and lead Miami to a win in Foxboro for the first time since 2008. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

First-year Dolphins coach Adam Gase will try and lead Miami to a win in Foxboro for the first time since 2008. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Five things you have to know about the Dolphins, who will travel to New England this weekend for a date with the Patriots.

1. When they get cranked up and ready to play, the defensive line is pretty impressive.

Ndamukong Suh, Jordan Phillips, Jason Jones, Mario Williams and Cameron Wake all looked very good in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks. Granted, it was against an offensive line that’s in a bit of a state of flux, but Suh had four tackles, including a 13-yard sack, and three quarterback hits. Williams had a sack and a quarterback hit before exiting because of concussion concerns. (At this point, his availability is in doubt for this weekend.) In addition, it’s also worth noting that Wake is a situational rusher at this stage of his career, in large part because the team is working him back cautiously after a season-ending Achilles’ injury last year. It’s a group that’s always been a challenge, but when Suh and the rest are engaged, it’s a big test for any offensive line.

2. They have one really good defensive back in Reshad Jones. The rest of the secondary is pretty vulnerable.

Miami’s defensive front can be overpowering. The secondary is another matter. Jones is a smart and rangy safety who is capable of making some game-changing plays — he made a team-high 12 tackles in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks. While he might not be quite as good as he thinks he is (he compares himself to Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu in this interview, and says his nickname is “G-5. It’s like a luxury jet. I’m always flying around the field”), he’s the sort of guy who has to be accounted for on every snap. The rest of the group is middle-of-the-road at best. At the corners, it’s veteran Byron Maxwell and youngster Xavien Howard, while Isa Abdul-Quddus was at the other safety spot in the opener. (Abdul-Quddus had the lone pick of Seattle’s Russell Wilson on Sunday.) From this viewpoint, the Patriots might be inclined to target Howard. Provided the New England offense is healthy and Jimmy Garoppolo can do as good a job getting the ball out quickly as he did against the Cardinals, this appears to be a winnable matchup for the Patriots.

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Read More: Andrew Franks, Arian Foster, Byron Maxwell, Cameron Wake
Peyton Manning visits Dolphins with an eye toward giving boost to Patriots’ division rivals 05.09.16 at 9:30 pm ET
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Peyton Manning visited the Dolphins to offer some advice to Miami QB Ryan Tannehill. (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

Peyton Manning visited the Dolphins to offer some advice to Miami QB Ryan Tannehill. (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

Even in retirement, Peyton Manning is doing his best to try and beat the Patriots.

According to a report in the Miami Herald, the former New England nemesis (it feels so weird to add that as a prefix for Manning) recently paid a visit to the Dolphins’ facility to spend some time with Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill hasn’t had a chance to sit and meet with new Dolphins coach Adam Gase at this point on the calendar and talk about the system. But the fact that Manning played with Gase when he was OC in Denver for two seasons should give Tannehill a good sense of what he might be in for.

“It was really cool,” Tannehill said of he experience to sit down with Manning. “A guy that had his career, the living legend he is, coming off a Super Bowl winning season — it was really cool just to be able to sit and pick his brain about things he’s done in this offense and football things in general: snap counts, things you like, the way you want guys to run routes, little details about the game. We really just got to talk the game, which is something we both love.”

No word yet if Manning had cleared time in his schedule to talk with quarterbacks in Buffalo or North Jersey as of yet.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Adam Gase, Peyton Manning, Ryan Tannehill,
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