Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline enjoyed his best season as a pro in 2013. In the past two seasons, Hartline has posted over 100 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues. He posted 112 fantasy points in 2012 and 126 in 2013. Some of the receiver’s ability to break the 100-point mark over those two seasons has to be attributed to him gaining a somewhat-competent passer in Ryan Tannehill, but some fantasy football general managers may wonder if there is more to be desired from Hartline.
According to the numbers provided by Pro-Football Reference, Hartline’s 126 fantasy points in 2013 were enough to make him the 26th ranked receiver in all of fantasy football. It seems a little crazy for Hartline to suddenly make a huge jump and find his way into the top-15, but is it really that crazy to believe that he can do just a little bit more than last season and push into the top-25 this year?
First, let’s take a look at the main reason why will find some difficulty breaking into the top-25 this season. The receiver posted four touchdowns in 2013, which was a career high, and only has ten in his entire six-year career. Some of those unimpressive numbers have stemmed from the Dolphins’ offensive struggles as a whole over the past five years, so not all of the blame can be heaped on Hartline.
Tannehill looked better last season than he did in his rookie campaign, so the argument can be made that the Dolphins receivers’ numbers as whole could see an increase this year as Tannehill matures and becomes more comfortable with the system and the speed of the NFL game. Another reason why it’s possible for Hartline to achieve better numbers this year was the emergence of slot man Rishard Matthews in 2013. Matthews didn’t wow anybody last year, but he put in a few solid performances, which should lead to him retaining his slot duties in the 2014 season.
Heading into the 2014 season, Tannehill will have situational deep threat Mike Wallace on one side, Hartline on the other, Matthews in the slot and a big tight end in Charles Clay to throw to. Since the Dolphins finished 2013 ranked 20th in passing yards and 26th in scoring last season, one could argue that with the group of receivers mentioned above and the moves they made in the offseason to their offensive line, there is nowhere to go but up for this group.
The balance in the receiving corps and offseason additions should give the third-year quarterback with a better chance to push the offense to score more points. Hartline should be one of the main benefactors of Miami’s offensive improvement as a whole, leading to better numbers than in years past. Ultimately, his ability to push into the top-25 for fantasy receivers will depend on his ability to find the end zone.