Fantasy Football 2013: Ryan Tannehill Emerging Into QB1?

By Adam Pfeifer
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Sophomore quarterback, Andrew Luck has the 20th-best selling NFL jersey. Fellow second-year signal caller, Ryan Tannehill isn’t even inside the top-50. However, one could very well make the argument that the less talked about Tannehill has outplayed Luck during their second seasons.

Fantasy owners have been reaping the benefits of Tannehill’s breakout campaign.

Very, very quietly, Tannehill currently ranks as QB14 in 2013, ahead of guys like Colin Kaepernick. He’s been a particularly safe weekly option for fantasy owners, having yet to post less than 12 fantasy points in any game this season. And over the last month of the season, there have only been six higher-scoring fantasy options under center. It’s been terrific to watch him continue to progress, and while we all know how deep the quarterback position is in fantasy, Tannehill’s emergence has perhaps deepened the position. It may not have been pretty, but how has Tannehill arrived at potential QB1 territory?


It’s no secret that the Miami running game hasn’t exactly been impressive this season, and as a result, the Dolphins have had to lean on the golden arm of Tannehill. Hey, fantasy owners sure aren’t complaining. As of right now, the Dolphins are passing the ball 64.6 percent of the time, which is the fourth-most in the league. Tannehill is also averaging 37.2 pass attempts per game this season, which ranks 11th. In fact, Tannehill has posted just one game this season with less than 30 pass attempts (28). What he’s doing is even more impressive when you consider the fact that the offensive line has been absolutely atrocious, as Tannehill has been sacked a league-leading 48 times, resulting in going down a whopping 3.7 times per contest. However, Tannehill hasn’t just made an impact with his arms, but with his legs as well. The underrated runner has at least one rushing attempt in every game this season, and over his last four games, Tannehill is averaging 3.5 attempts per game.  With Lamar Miller dealing with a concussion and Daniel Thomas continuing to plod, Tannehill should continue to see a significant amount of volume the rest of the way.

Tannehill Rest Of Season

Because he is riding a hot streak and has some strong matchups to end the season, I think fantasy owners need to strongly consider Tannehill as a QB1 in fantasy land. Over his last five games, Tannehill has completed at least 60 percent of his passes in each contest, has tossed nine touchdowns, five interceptions, almost 270 passing yards per game and is averaging 22 fantasy points. He’s been awesome, and speaking of awesome, let’s take a look at his rest of season schedule.

Week 15, New England Patriots

The Patriots defense has struggled lately, surrendering at least two passing touchdowns in five of their last six games. Since Week 7, guys like Geno SmithJason CampbellCam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger have finished as a QB1. You should continue to see volume in this one, as opposing quarterbacks are averaging a healthy 37 pass attempts per game against the Pats, which ranks 10th-most in the league. Also, since Week 8, the Patriots are coughing up 284.4 yards per game and 12 touchdowns through the air.

Week 16, Buffalo Bills

I don’t think Buffalo gets enough credit defensively, but they do surrender many big plays. They have allowed 13 passing plays of 40-plus yards, and 42 plays of 20 yards or more. Buffalo has quietly been good against the run this season (minus the last few games), so I think Tannehill will have to air the ball out in this one. That bodes well, as the Bills are coughing up 1.9 passing scores per game, which is tied for the third-most among defenses. The one worry about this matchup is Buffalo’s stellar defensive line (league-high 44 sacks) could manhandle the Dolphins suspect offensive line. But if Tannehill can remain upright, I like his chances in this one.

It may sound a bit odd to say this, but I think Tannehill is a pretty safe fantasy option from a week-to-week basis. He is going to throw the ball at least 35 times per game (barring a blowout) and his receiving corp is beginning to come on as of late.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.




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