Written By Sal Conti Follow on Twitter: @SC2_DFW
It feels good to be back. Now, let’s get down to football.
Ryan Tannehill’s rookie season was disappointing, to say the least. His TD/INT ratio was a measly 12 to 13, he surpassed 300 passing yards in a game only once and he struggled against most above-.500 teams. As a whole his numbers were wildly unimpressive.
So why bother with the former Texas A&M Aggie?
Because Mr. Tannehill got some new toys to play with this off-season Miami went out and signed receivers Brandon Gibson and Dustin Keller to multi-year deals. Those players are both serviceable do-it-all players that will provide Tanny with plenty of easy receptions.
But the big ticket signee was former Pittsburgh Steeler wide out Mike Wallace. Wallace will immediately be the number 1 receiver on a Dolphins team that hasn’t had a dominant receiver in a LONG, long time.
How does the addition of Wallace affect Tannehill’s fantasy stock? Can the former 8th overall pick shape up into the franchise quarterback that the Dolphins expect him to be?
Before we do, let’s look at his attributes.
Tanny stands at 6’4” tall, weighing around 225 pounds; he definitely has the frame of a good NFL quarterback. While his accuracy was spotty on underneath and crossing routes, Tannehill threw the intermediate and deep passes surprisingly well, thanks to his strong arm and sound mechanics. From a physical standpoint, I really like his prospects going forward.
However, one factor of Tannehill’s game that I don’t like is his decision making. When playing quarterback, you don’t really have any time to ‘think’ about your passes. Most of Tannehill’s interceptions or negative yardage plays came as a result of over thinking. Ryan needs to pick up blitzes better and get rid of the ball quicker. He doesn’t force the ball into heavy coverage enough for me to call it an issue; that will improve over time with experience.
Also, the addition of former Atlanta Falcons OT Tyson Clabo will make Tanny more at ease in the pocket; he was sacked 35 times last season, 7th most in the NFL.
In my eyes, Tannehill will play like a top-15 quarterback or better in the immediate future. His fantasy stature will also increase. But how?
Here’s an interesting stat: Tannehill completed most of his passes, 84 of them, to the right sideline last season. This makes sense, as he excels at throwing the out route and the corner route. This bodes well for Wallace, who caught more passes near the right sideline, 21, than any other area of the field. Both players play to each other’s strongest areas on the field. I can picture the 15-20 yard gains right now while typing this.
Wallace also is a constant threat to score. He’s one of those receivers that ‘can’t be overthrown.’ He is classified as a deep threat, but if he gets room up the middle he can scurry on for another 20+ yards. Wide outs that can eat up yards after the catch make their quarterback MUCH more desirable in the fantasy realm (see Wes Welker with Tom Brady).
Is it possible that Tannehill could help Wallace just as much?
Wallace thinks so; in an interview with NBC Sports, he said that Tannehill “has a cannon, [and] can really fling it.” He also made the bold claim of saying that Tannehill has a stronger arm than his former QB, Ben Roethlisburger. Sounds like Tanny and Wallace have created the foundation for quite the tandem in Miami.
Overall, I really like Tannehill as a quarterback. He has the physical tools to become a great NFL QB, and with added confidence, could be a great quarterback in this league in a few years. The addition of multiple free agents will help Tanny improve, especially Mike Wallace and Tyson Clabo. Those two alone could push Tanny over the hump of mediocrity, and start his rise to stardom.
He’s a solid QB2 for me right now, and I’d buy low while the buying low is possible. By the end of the season, he could be a dark horse QB1 candidate for the next fantasy season.