DeMarco Murray

Fantasy Football: Bold predictions for 2017 NFL season

Fantasy Football: Bold predictions for 2017 NFL season

Fantasy Football is all about taking educated guesses.

You can look at your respective teams over and over and over again throughout the week, and there's still a good chance you'll be second guessing your lineup decisions.

Nobody's found the correct recipe for success.

Which is why the majority of our bold predictions will probably look like a train wreck when the season concludes.

For more analysis on our bold predictions and a look ahead to Week 1, listen to the latest Fantasy Football Fix Podcast.

1. Marcus Mariota will be the No. 1 fantasy PLAYER this season.

Oftentimes, even in PPR leagues, QBs rank as the No. 1 overall fantasy player simply by virtue of volume. Of course, there's also a smaller gap between the top QBs and the mid-tier options, so I'm not saying Mariota will be the most VALUABLE fantasy player this season. But put together his amazing efficiency throughout his career, his low turnover rate, his ability to scramble/run and an increase in weapons are all tangible things to point to. But what about the fact he's now entering his third year in the league and playing with a ton of confidence? (Tony Andracki)

2. C.J. Prosise will become a Top 25 RB in PPR leagues.

He's currently listed third on the Seahawks' depth chart entering Week 1, but I don't expect that to continue. Plus, he could be listed third and still wind up with the most fantasy points of anybody not named Russell Wilson in Week 1. Depth charts mean nothing in the flow of the game. But even still, the two guys ahead of him — Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls — carry huge question marks, including injury concerns. Prosise is dynamic and electric and is a far better receiver than either guy ahead of him. He averaged more than 8 yards per touch last season, proving he can be a major fantasy factor even if he doesn't get 20 touches a game. Chris Carson is not a concern, despite a huge preseason. Christine Michael and Robert Turbin had major preseason impacts with the Seahawks in the past and never were close to be worth a roster spot in fantasy. By the time the fantasy playoffs roll around, Prosise will be the unquestioned top Seattle back to own if he stays healthy. (TA)

3. John Brown will be the best fantasy WR in Arizona.

Larry Fitzgerald is going 19th among WRs, 45th overall. Brown is the 54th receiver off the board, 133rd overall. Fitzgerald is 34 now and even though he had an absolutely fantastic season last year, it was mainly by sheer volume. He averaged a career-low 9.6 ypc and faded down the stretch, scoring just 1 TD in his last 11 games with 5 rpg, 36 ypg in his last four contests. He had 1,023 yards, but only one game over 100 on the season. My point? There's plenty of room for Brown to emerge as a successful weekly option even if Fitzgerald repeats, but there are so many signs pointing to regression for Fitz. Brown, meanwhile, finally seems to have his sickle cell condition under control and he's only one year removed from a 65-catch, 1,003-yard, 7 TD performance and that was with Fitz two years younger and Michael Floyd eating up 89 targets, 849 yds and 6 TD. (TA)

4. DeMarco Murray finishes outside the Top 25 running backs.

He's 29 now, he's coming off a season in which he accrued more than 340 touches and last year was a bit of a fluke, even for him. Prior to 2017, Murray had 215 receptions, but only two of those went for TDs. Last year, he had 3 receiving TDs, which seems like an aberration and rather unsustainable. Even if he stays healthy — he's only missed one game the last three seasons — there's no guarantee he stays productive (remember his 2015 season where he barely topped 1,000 yards from scrimmage and only had 7 TDs in 15 games? Plus Derrick Henry has proven he's capable of taking on a bigger load. The Titans offense runs through Mariota now (this is HIS team) and they have their sights set on contending and won't want to burn out Murray to do so. All that points to a letdown for Murray. (TA)

5. Austin Hooper has more fantasy points than Rob Gronkowski.

Rookie tight ends make almost no impact in the Fantasy landscape. NFL teams want them to come to the league, learn the playbook and block. Keep in mind, that's how it used to be for wide receivers, too, at least in terms of fantasy points. It was typical for the third season in the league to be the breakout for WRs, but then guys like ODB went and blew that narrative out of the water. It's still the case for rookie TEs. Gronk's rookie season wasn't even anything to write home about, besides his 10 TDs because he only racked up 42 receptions and 546 yards while playing every game that season. Hooper is THE guy now in Atlanta, a high-powered offense with plenty of weapons and entering his second year after making no impact as a rookie. This isn't to say that Gronk is going to have a bad season; I'm more worried about his health. I absolutely believe he will average more points per game than Hooper, but he'll ultimately be on the bench for a few games. If you draft Gronk, why not get a guy like Hooper in the last few rounds of the draft as a handcuff of sorts? (TA)

6. Keenan Allen finishes as a Top 10 WR in PPR leagues. 

Allen has yet to play a full season in his NFL career, missing 26 games in four seasons. He's only played in nine contests the last two years. So yes, injury is a concern, but he's currently healthy with no known lingering issues, so there's nothing to say he will for sure get hurt in 2017. When on the field, Allen is one of the top receivers in the league, averaging nearly 6 receptions and 8.5 targets per game. He has a potential to be a PPR monster with at least 6 receptions in 12 of his last 23 games, including 5 double-digit receiving games in that span. He's part of a high-performing offense that airs it out and figures to continue to do so yet again in 2017. For a guy going as the No. 18 WR off the board and 42nd overall, he's been criminally underrated leading into the fantasy season. (TA)

7. Ben Roethlisberger will finish as a Top 5 fantasy QB.

Look, we can all overanalyze Big Ben's home and road splits until we're blue in the face. I get it. But something that can all agree with is that Roethlisberger is a completely different quarterback when he's got Martavis Bryant in the lineup. When Bryant is on the field, Roethlisberger has tossed for 6,385 yards and 41 TDs in 19 games. Those numbers extrapolate to a season average of 5,376 yards and 35 scores, a total that would firmly place Roethlisberger as a Top 5 fantasy scorer at his position. While open for debate, let's not forget he has the NFL's best running back and wide receiver at his disposal in Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. My chips are all in on Big Ben in 2017. (Scott Krinch)

8. Russell Wilson will be the top fantasy scorer.

For the first time in his career, Russell Wilson wasn't a Top 10 fantasy quarterback. Don't expect that trend to continue. There's plenty of signs that point to a major turnaround around for Wilson. The Jimmy Graham of old appears to be lurking around Seahawks' headquarters. A healthy Graham would be a lethal weapon for Wilson in the red zone. Back in the slot, making defenders look foolish with a 3.27 separation rate (70.2 percent of his targets) is Doug Baldwin. Wilson also has emerging outside speed threat targets in Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson. The Seahawks also brought in Eddie Lacy to pair with Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise. Wilson has plenty of talent surrounding him and has no excuse not to exceed his 19.4 points per game average from 2016. (SK)

9. DeVante Parker will be a Top 15 fantasy wide receiver.

Remember when Jay Cutler used to air it out to Alshon Jeffery a few times a game? Well, expect Cutty to go full Cutty this season and let it rip, but only this time he'll be throwing the rock to a player he calls a "faster Alshon Jeffery." Third-year wide receiver DeVante Parker and his new quarterback in Miami have developed quite the connection over the last month. Look for Parker to be Cutler's go-to-guy with the Dolphins and for the former University of Louisville wideout to see at least double the amount of end zone targets (7) he had last year.  (SK)

10. Carlos Hyde will lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns.

"He's the lightest he's been since high school." I know it's cliche and we hear that every offseason referencing a handful of players around the league, but I'm buying it this time around for Carlos Hyde. Under new head coach Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers are going to rely heavily on the ground attack led by Hyde. The former Ohio State running back is coming off a career-best 4.6 yards per carry and has finished in the Top 10 in yards after contact the last two years. Now, he's got a head coach with a proven track record of making running backs elite (Devonta Freeman in Atlanta). With no proven backup running back on the roster and a band of misfits at wide receiver (excluding Pierre Garcon), look for Hyde to deliver a breakout season. (SK)

2017 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings

2017 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings

On Wednesday's edition of the Fantasy Football Fix Podcast, the guys unveiled their positional rankings for the 2017 season.

Listen to our Podcast for more in-depth analysis and take a look at the full rankings from Tony Andracki, Scott Krinch and Glynn Morgan below.

Andracki's positional rankings

QBs

1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Drew Brees
3. Tom Brady
4. Marcus Mariota
5. Jameis Winston
6. Andrew Luck
7. Russell Wilson
8. Cam Newton
9. Kirk Cousins
10. Matt Ryan
11. Derek Carr
12. Ben Roethlisberger
13. Matthew Stafford
14. Philip Rivers
15. Dak Prescott
16. Tyrod Taylor
17. Eli Manning
18. Carson Palmer
19. Blake Bortles
20. Jay Cutler

Analysis: I could see any of the guys I ranked 1-6 ending the season at the top fantasy quarterback. Mariota and Winston are absolutely ascending, but in reality, this quarterback class this year is SO deep. I would be perfectly happy with my 15th (Prescott) or 17th (Manning) QBs being my only gunslinger on my team. 

This is proof you should draft QBs late and there's rarely any need for two on your fantasy roster. 

The other thing worth noting: Roethlisberger is not — and should not be considered — an elite option any longer. Over the last three seasons, his home/road splits are real and they're awful:

Home: 59 TD, 16 INT
Road: 23 TD, 22 INT

He's nothing more than a spot starter at this point in his career, but when he is playing in Pittsburgh, there's hardly anybody better.

RBs

1. David Johnson
2. Le'Veon Bell
3. Ezekiel Elliott
4. Jordan Howard
5. Jay Ajayi
6. Melvin Gordon
7. Devonta Freeman
8. Lamar Miller
9. LeSean McCoy
10. DeMarco Murray
11. Todd Gurley
12. Ty Montgomery
13. Mark Ingram
14. Tevin Coleman
15. Leonard Fournette
16. Christian McCaffrey
17. C.J. Anderson
18. Isaiah Crowell
19. Dalvin Cook
20. Bilal Powell
21. Duke Johnson
22. Paul Perkins
23. C.J. Prosise
24. LeGarrette Blount
25. Mike Gillislee
26. Danny Woodhead
27. Theo Riddick
28. Spencer Ware
29. Jonathan Stewart
30. James White
31. Derrick Henry
32. Doug Martin
33. Eddie Lacy
34. Carlos Hyde
35. Ameer Abdullah
36. Matt Forte
37. Frank Gore
38. Jeremy Hill
39. Gio Bernard
40. Latavius Murray

Take these 40 and add a bunch of late-round flyers on guys like Zach Zenner, Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine, Chris Thompson Joe Mixon, Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, Dion Lewis, Charles Sims, Darren Sproles, Kareem Hunt, Marlon Mack, Joe Williams, Jamaal Charles.

Analysis: For me, there are the top three backs (Johnson, Bell, Elliott) and then a major drop-off. There are serious question marks around every guy and most teams have two or three capable options that could make an impact, especially in PPR leagues.

Could make the case that anybody from 15-40 could be interchanged in my rankings and anybody from that list of flyers can bump into the 25-40 range. That's how finicky RBs are in 2017.

That being said, I'm really high on Howard and waiting for McCoy and Murray to just fall off a cliff, as I explain in the podcast.

WRs

1. Antonio Brown
2. Odell Beckham
3. Julio Jones
4. Mike Evans
5. A.J. Green
6. Jordy Nelson
7. Michael Thomas
8. T.Y. Hilton
9. Dez Bryant
10. Brandin Cooks
11. Jarvis Landry
12. Keenan Allen
13. Amari Cooper
14. Allen Robinson
15. Doug Baldwin 
16. DeAndre Hopkins
17. Demaryius Thomas
18. Alshon Jeffery
19. Jamison Crowder
20. Julian Edelman
21. Terrelle Pryor
22. Golden Tate
23. Willie Snead
24. Larry Fitzgerald
25. John Brown
26. Cam Meredith
27. Martavis Bryant
28. DeVante Parker
29. Eric Decker
30. Donte Moncrief
31. Rishard Matthews
32. Michael Crabtree
33. Brandon Marshall
34. Tyreek Hill
35. Jordan Matthews
36. Davante Adams
37. Randall Cobb
38. Pierre Garcon
39. Emmanuel Sanders
40. Corey Coleman
41. Sammy Watkins
42. Stefon Diggs
43. Kelvin Benjamin
44. Corey Davis
45. Sterling Shepard
46. Kevin White
47. Tyler Lockett
48. Phillip Dorsett
49. Malcolm Mitchell
50. Adam Thielen
51. Jeremy Maclin
52. Breshad Perriman
53. Tyrell Williams
54. Allen Hurns
55. Tavon Austin
56. Taylor Gabriel
57. J.J. Nelson
58. Cole Beasley
59. Josh Doctson
60. John Ross
61. DeSean Jackson
62. Mike Williams
63. Eli Rogers
64. Kenny Britt
65. Mike Wallace
66. Marvin Jones
67. Robby Anderson
68. Travis Benjamin
69. Robert Woods
70. Chris Hogan

LATE-ROUND SLEEPERS

Cooper Kupp
Kenny Golladay
Tanner Gentry
Marqise Lee
Laquon Treadwell
Zay Jones

Analysis: It's the Top 10 for me then some serious question marks, though I do love me some Jarvis Landry. I'd be happy with anybody from 11-40 as my Nos. 2/3/4 WRs and there are plenty of upside guys to be had late in the draft.

It's a deep position group this year, but my plan in drafts is to strongly target one of the Top 10 guys, as I'd rather bet my early-round picks on the more-stable WRs as opposed to the scary/iffy RB crop.

Can we dispel the notion that Sammy Watkins is an elite receiver? Dude is far from it. He can't stay healthy and he's one of the more inconsistent wideouts in fantasy, with nearly half of his career games (18 out of 37) finishing with fewer than 9 fantasy points, even in full point PPR leagues.

TEs

1. Rob Gronkowski
2. Travis Kelce
3. Jordan Reed
4. Greg Olsen
5. Tyler Eifert
6. Jimmy Graham
7. Kyle Rudolph
8. Delanie Walker
9. Eric Ebron
10. Hunter Henry
11. Zach Ertz
12. Martellus Bennett
13. Austin Hoooper
14. Jack Doyle
15. Coby Fleener
16. Julius Thomas
17. Jason Witten
18. C.J. Fiedorowicz
19. Cameron Brate
20. O.J. Howard

SLEEPERS

David Njoku
Evan Engram
Maxx Williams
Austin Seferian-Jenkins 
Adam Shaheen
Clive Walford

Analysis: Gronk's inability to stay healthy bumps him out of the first round, in my eyes. He's also no longer putting up the per-game production way above the rest of the position now that Kelce is finding the endzone and Reed/Olsen are gigantic parts of their team's offense. 

Ebron and Henry could be solid value late in drafts and Bennett has proved he has something left in the tank, plus he's just joined up with the best QB in the league in Aaron Rodgers. Don't sleep on Cameron Brate, even with O.J. Howard in town.

Krinch's positional rankings

QUARTERBACK

1. Aaron Rodgers (GB)
2. Drew Brees (NO)
3. Tom Brady (NE)
4. Andrew Luck (IND)
5. Marcus Mariota (TEN)
6. Russell Wilson (SEA)
7. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)
8. Cam Newton (CAR)
9. Matt Ryan (ATL)
10. Derek Carr (OAK)
11. Jameis Winston (TB)
12. Kirk Cousins (WSH)
13. Philip Rivers (LAC)
14. Eli Manning (NYG)
15. Andy Dalton (CIN)
16. Dak Prescott (DAL)
17. Matt Stafford (DET)
18. Carson Palmer (ARI)
19. Blake Bortles (JAX)
20. Tyrod Taylor (BUF)

RUNNING BACK

1. LeVeon Bell (PIT)
2. David Johnson (ARI)
3. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)
4. LeSean McCoy (BUF)
5. Jordan Howard (CHI)
6. Melvin Gordon (LAC)
7. Devonta Freeman (ATL)
8. DeMarco Murray (TEN)
9. Jay Ajayi (MIA)
10. Todd Gurley (LAR)
11. Lamar Miller (HOU)
12. Dalvin Cook (MIN)
13. Mark Ingram (NO)
14. Isaiah Crowell (CLE)
15. Marshawn Lynch (OAK)
16. Leonard Fournette (JAX)
17. Bilal Powell (NYJ)
18. C.J. Anderson (DEN)
19. Paul Perkins (NYG)
20. Ty Montgomery (GB)
21. Spencer Ware (KC)
22. Tevin Coleman (ATL)
23. Frank Gore (IND)
24. Christian McCaffrey (CAR)
25. Ameer Abdullah (DET)
26. LeGarrette Blount (PHI)
27. Doug Martin (TB)
28. Eddie Lacy (SEA)
29. Mike Gillislee (NE)
30. Carlos Hyde (SF)
31. Danny Woodhead (BAL)
32. Joe Mixon (CIN)
33. Matt Forte (NYJ)
34. Adrian Peterson (NO)
35. Jonathan Stewart (CAR)
36. Samaje Perine (WSH)
37. C.J. Prosise (SEA)
38. Kareem Hunt (KC)
39. Marlon Mack (IND)
40. Darren Sproles (PHI)

WIDE RECEIVER

1. Antonio Brown (PIT)
2. Julio Jones (ATL)
3. Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)
4. Mike Evans (TB)
5. Jordy Nelson (GB)
6. A.J. Green (CIN)
7. Michael Thomas (NO)
8. Dez Bryant (DAL)
9. T.Y. Hilton (IND)
10. Brandin Cooks (NE)
11. Doug Baldwin (SEA)
12. DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)
13. Amari Cooper (OAK)
14. Demaryius Thomas (DEN)
15. Terrelle Pryor (WSH)
16. Allen Robinson (JAX)
17. Keenan Allen (LAC)
18. Alshon Jeffery (PHI)
19. Jarvis Landry (MIA)
20. Tyreek Hill (KC)
21. Kelvin Benjamin (CAR)
22. Davante Adams (GB)
23. Larry Fitzgerald (ARI)
24. Julian Edelman (NE)
25. Cameron Meredith (CHI)
26. Martavis Bryant (PIT)
27. Pierre Garcon (SF)
28. Michael Crabtree (OAK)
29. Eric Decker (TEN)
30. DeSean Jackson (TB)
31. Jamison Crowder (WSH)
32. Kenny Britt (CLE)
33. Golden Tate (DET)
34. Brandon Marshall (NYG)
35. Emmanuel Sanders (DEN)
36. Stefon Diggs (MIN)
37. Tyrell Williams (LAC)
38. Devante Parker (MIA)
39. Jeremy Maclin (BAL)
40. John Brown (ARI)
41. Willie Snead (NO)
42. Zay Jones (BUF)
43. Jordan Matthews (PHI)
44. Corey Coleman (CLE)
45. Marvin Jones (DET)
46. Sterling Shepard (NYG)
47. Rishard Matthews (TEN)
48. Sammy Watkins (BUF)
49. Randall Cobb (GB)
50. Mike Wallace (BAL)
51. Donte Moncrief (IND)
52. Adam Thielen (MIN)
53. Chris Hogan (NE)
54. Kevin White (CHI)
55. Robert Woods (BUF)
56. Corey Davis (TEN)
57. Malcolm Mitchell (NE)
58. Taylor Gabriel (ATL)
59. Tyler Lockett (SEA)
60. Allen Hurns (JAX)
61. Tajh Boyd (CIN)
62. Kenny Stills (MIA)
63. Breshad Perriman (BAL)
64. Tavon Austin (LAR)
65. Robby Anderson (NYJ)
66. Mohamed Sanu (ATL)
67. Josh Doctson (WSH)
68. Devin Funchess (CAR)
69. Kenny Golladay (DET)
70. Ted Ginn (NO)

TIGHT END

1. Rob Gronkowski (NE)
2. Travis Kelce (KC)
3. Greg Olsen (CAR)
4. Jordan Reed (WSH)
5. Tyler Eifert (CIN)
6. Delanie Walker (TEN)
7. Kyle Rudolph (MIN)
8. Zach Ertz (PHI)
9. Martellus Bennett (GB)
10. Jack Doyle (IND)
11. Jimmy Graham (SEA)
12. Hunter Henry (LAC)
13. Eric Ebron (DET)
14. C.J. Fiedorowicz (HOU)
15. Julius Thomas (MIA)
16. Coby Fleener (NO)
17. Charles Clay (BUF)
18. Evan Engram (NYG)
19. Jason Witten (DAL)
20. Cameron Brate (TB)

Morgan's positional rankings

Running backs

David Johnson 
Le’Veon Bell
Ezekiel Elliott
Devonta Freeman
LeSean McCoy
Jay Ajayi
Todd Gurley
Lamar Miller
Leonard Fournette
Melvin Gordon
DeMarco Murray
Jordan Howard
Dalvin Cook
Joe Mixon
Isaiah Crowell

Wide receivers

Antonio Brown
Odell Beckham
Julio Jones
Jordy Nelson
Michaell Thomas
Mike Evans
Deandre Hopkins
A.J. Green
T.Y. Hilton
Doug Baldwin
Amari  Cooper
Dez Bryant
Jarvis Landry
Allen Robinson
Brandin Cooks

Quarterbacks

Tom Brady
Aaron Rodgers
Drew Brees
Matt Ryan
Jameis Winston
Ben Roethlisberger
Derek Carr
Eli Manning
Matt Stafford
Andy Dalton
Kirk Cousins
Russell Wilson
Philip Rivers
Andrew Luck
Marcus Mariota

Tight end

Travis Kelce
Rob Gronkowski
Greg Olsen
Jimmy Graham
Jordan Reed
Hunter Henry
Evan Engram
Kyle Rudolph
Delanie Walker
Zach Ertz
Colby Fleener
Martellus Bennett
Jack Doyle
Eric Ebron
Tyler Eifert

Bears In-Foe: Mariota and Murray have Music City attack humming

murraymariotatitans.jpg
USA TODAY

Bears In-Foe: Mariota and Murray have Music City attack humming

Though Bears GM Ryan Pace will never admit it publicly, there was talk the day of the 2015 draft that he was furiously trying to work a deal in which he would send Jay Cutler and the seventh overall pick to Tennessee for the chance to draft Marcus Mariota (if Tampa Bay chose Jameis Winston, which they did).  But when you consider the offer then-Titans GM Ruston Webster rejected from Philadelphia and Chip Kelly, it was no wonder Pace's reported offer didn't get very far. 

Kelly, suddenly in charge of basically everything with the Eagles, so badly wanted to pick his former quarterback at Oregon that CSNPhilly reported Kelly offered the Eagles' first- and second-round picks in 2015, their 2016 first-rounder, any quarterback that was then on Kelly's roster, and any defensive player(s). Just for Mariota. Webster stood pat and picked the Heisman Trophy winner.

Leap forward to this past spring, when Webster's replacement, former Buccaneers Director of Player Personnel and previous Patriots College Scouting Director Jon Robinson picked up the phone with the post-Kelly Eagles. Even though the Chipster was fired, DeMarco Murray was so miserable in his one season there he wanted out.  So Robinson offered his fourth-rounder in exchange for Philly's fourth rounder, a 13-spot drop. And Murray.

Mariota's solid rookie season included missing four games, but also a 19-to-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio, 2,818 passing yards and a 62 percent completion rate.  Through the team's 5-6 start this season, that TD-to-INT split is 23/8 while his accuracy's jumped a couple of percentage points. Entering Monday night's Oakland-Houston game, Mariota ranked sixth in passer rating (100.3) and passing yards (2,772). He's obviously picked up the pro-style offense well while still remaining a threat to run (his 264 rushing yards is third among quarterbacks).

As for Murray, his 1,100-yard drop in rushing yards from that sick 2014 in Dallas (on 212 fewer carries), has resulted in exactly 1,000 yards this year coming here Sunday (second only to his eventual Cowboys successor, rookie Ezekiel Elliott). He has eight rushing touchdowns and another three receiving (on 40 catches), limiting second-round bulldozer Derrick Henry to just 62 carries (252 yards).

[SHOP BEARS: Get your Bears gear right here]

How about some more "M's" besides Mariota and Murray? Mike Mularkey. A lot of fans wanted a fresh, new head coach after Mularkey slid into that role following last year's firing of Ken Whisenhunt. And went 2-7. But Robinson decided to keep the man who'd gone 16-32 in three previous seasons as head coach in Buffalo and Jacksonville. The five wins now matches the Titans' win total over the previous two seasons. Long-term answer? We'll see. Mularkey brought in 33-year NFL coaching veteran Terry Robiskie as Offensive Coordinator.

One more "M."  Mathews. As in Rishard, whom the Dolphins chose not to exercise the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. The wideout had nine catches for 122 yards in Sunday's loss in Indianapolis to give him 45 receptions, one off the team lead held by under-the-radar tight end Delanie Walker, who erupted for a 94-catch season a year ago after seven years as a backup in San Francisco. Fifth-round rookie Tajae Sharpe has 34 catches, while 2012 first-rounder Kendall Wright's added 25 (three touchdowns) after a couple of injury-plagued seasons.

This is a team that has cut ties with each of its underwhelming second-round picks between 2013 and 2015, wideouts Justin Hunter and Dorial Green-Beckham, and running back Bishop Sankey. And while Robinson fleeced the Rams ahead of this spring's draft to stack several extra picks this year and next (including L.A.'s 2017 first-rounder), his move down this spring netted him right tackle Jack Conklin to bookend with 2014 top pick Taylor Lewan. The latter left Sunday's game with a left knee injury (replaced by Dennis Kelly), while 2013 first-round guard Chance Warmack was sidelined early in the season after finger surgery. But their claim on waived ex-Patriots guard Josh Kline (13 starts last season) has paid off, and center Ben Jones was signed away in free agency from division rival Houston, all in an effort to protect the one "M" behind center and spring the other "M" to 1,000 yards on the ground already.