Fantasy Football 2014: Don’t Overlook Mike Wallace
Mike Wallace had a disappointing first season with the Miami Dolphins in 2013, with 73 receptions for 930 yards and five touchdowns after signing a five-year, $60 million deal during the offseason. Fantasy football owners surely expected better, but Wallace’s solid finish (29 receptions for 396 yards and four touchdowns over the final six games) lends some hope for a rebound in 2014.
The Miami Herald recently reported that Wallace lined up on the right side 90 percent of the time last season, and rarely lined up in the slot or was put in motion. That seems likely to change dramatically next season, with former Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor taking Mike Sherman’s place as Miami’s offensive coordinator. Lazor had a close-up view of how DeSean Jackson was utilized in 2013, and the breakout season he enjoyed (82 receptions for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns), so a concerted attempt to use Wallace all over the field and find favorable matchups would be good news for the Dolphins’ offense as a whole.
According to Pro Football Focus, Wallace and quarterback Ryan Tannehill connected on just six of 36 deep passes (20-plus yards downfield) last season. Tannehill’s struggles throwing the deep ball was a factor, but a clear lack of chemistry between quarterback and receiver was more glaring and another offseason working together should improve things and yield better results once Week 1 comes.
Fantasy owners are surely down on Wallace after back-to-back subpar seasons, which could make him a potential value in drafts this summer as those that have owned him and expected more avoid him. Wallace stills owns the skills he showed during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, even at age 28 by the time the season starts, and while I’m hesitant to recommend drafting him as a top-tier WR1 he has plenty of upside based on where he’ll be drafted in most leagues.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.