The revamped Miami Dolphins have played excellent football since interim coach Dan Campbell took over prior to Week 6, but Campbell’s squad ran into a buzz saw in Foxboro on Thursday night as New England comfortably handed Miami a 36-7 loss.
Tom Brady was dialed-in all evening as he tossed four touchdowns and threw for 356 yards while utilizing all of his receiving weapons. Four New England players caught four or more passes, led by the incomparable Rob Gronkowski, who flexed his way to 113 yards and a touchdown on six receptions. The Patriots’ offense received a spark on Thursday night with the return of speedy running back Dion Lewis, who missed Week 6 with an oblique injury. Lewis tallied 112 total yards on six catches and five carries, including a nifty touchdown reception. Lewis now has 32 catches in six games this season and is a weekly RB2 at absolute worst, despite not receiving more than eight carries in a single game since Week 1.
The Miami fantasy options were far less productive, with the Dolphins managing just one scoring drive on the night. Running back Lamar Miller capped off that drive with a short touchdown plunge to salvage an otherwise disappointing night as he racked up just 34 total yards. Jarvis Landry and Rishard Matthews turned in reasonable performances, with Landry hauling in six passes for 71 yards and Matthews recording 62 yards on seven catches. The Miami offense will look to get back on track in Week 9 when they travel to Buffalo.
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Dolphins at Patriots Quick Slants
LeGarrette Blount handled 17 carries on Thursday night and spun them into 72 yards. Tom Brady was throwing more often than not in the red zone, limiting Blount’s scoring chances. … Julian Edelman scored two late touchdowns to go with 81 yards on seven catches. He remains a top Brady target. … Jordan Cameron caught just two passes for 34 yards on the night and now has caught more than three passes in a game just once this season. He will remain on the border of TE1 and TE2 territory. … Brandon LaFell caught four passes for 47 yards on Thursday after a drop-filled 2015 debut in Week 7. LaFell should improve as the season moves along.
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In Other News…
Dallas running back Joseph Randle (oblique) has been ruled out for Week 8 by Cowboys coach Jason Garrett after an odd situation where Randle ditched an injury treatment session on Thursday. The disappearance, combined with the oblique injury, was enough for Garrett to pull the plug on Randle’s Week 8 hopes, making Darren McFadden a great bet for a huge workload on Sunday against Seattle. McFadden received 31 touches in Week 7 and although the Seattle defense is a much stiffer test, the suddenly featured Dallas back should be started in all leagues.
Dez Bryant (foot) reportedly had a “great day of practice” on Thursday and is expected to make his return on Sunday as Dallas hosts the Seattle Seahawks. Dez will be a solid fantasy option as long as he is on the field, but his upside will be capped by Matt Cassel with Tony Romo (collarbone) out until Week 11. Dez has the skills to keep himself near the top of the fantasy wide receiver heap with Cassel at quarterback, but he could really turn on the jets for the fantasy playoffs once Romo returns.
Eddie Lacy (ankle) is not on the Week 8 injury report for the Packers, but news surfaced on Thursday about his trouble with weight issues in training camp. This news shouldn’t impact Lacy’s stock moving forward, but adds more concern for fantasy owners who have seen an ankle injury slow Lacy to begin the season and fellow Green Bay running back James Starks chew into his workload. Following a four carry performance in Week 6, Lacy will be a dicey bet this Sunday against Denver’s stifling defense. A return to handling the majority of the Green Bay backfield work would be a relief for Lacy owners, so the workload split on Sunday will be of note as the Packers and Broncos face off in Denver.
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Injury Quick Slants
Ben Roethlisberger (knee) was at practice on Thursday and appears to be ready to start Sunday against Cincinnati. The entire Pittsburgh offense will receive a boost with this news. … John Brown (hamstring) has yet to practice this week and is looking like he will be a game-time decision on Sunday. At least Arizona plays in the early group on games. … Odell Beckham (hamstring) is practicing regularly this week and is ready to roll for a Sunday matchup with the Saints. … Eric Decker (knee) was limited at practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday’s session. Keep an eye on his status heading into a Week 8 matchup at Oakland. … Cecil Shorts (hamstring) has been ruled out for Week 8, giving Nate Washington a shot at an encore after a huge Week 7. … Davante Adams (ankle) was limited at practice on Thursday and will be a dicey fantasy option this week if he suits up at Denver. … Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) was limited on Thursday and his Week 8 status is still in question. The young tight end would be a nice option this week if he suits up. … Chris Polk (knee) popped up on the Houston injury report this week but is practicing regularly ahead of an expected timeshare with Alfred Blue. … Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) did not practice on Thursday and will likely miss Atlanta’s Week 8 game. Roddy White and rookie Justin Hardy will try to pick up the slack if Hankerson does indeed sit. … Stevan Ridley (knee) is looking like a good bet to play this Sunday but won’t be a viable fantasy option with Chris Ivory owning the Jets’ backfield.