It was reported that Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey, who tore the labrum in his hip during OTAs, underwent hip surgery on Monday. Pouncey is expected to out for at least three months, which is terrible news for the Dolphins. Here’s why Pouncey’s injury decreases the fantasy football value of a number of Dolphins offensive players for the 2014 season.
Miami’s offensive line ranked 21st in the league last season, and Ryan Tannehill was sacked 58 times, the most out of any QB in 2013. While a talented center, Pouncey missed two games due to injury last year, and the entire line was in chaos due to the Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito bullying scandal.
Pouncey was slated to be the only 2013 starting offensive lineman to return this season, but it seems the Dolphins will now be starting a completely new line in Week 1.
Filling in for Pouncey will be Sam Brenner, an undrafted free agent out of the University of Utah, unless the Dolphins sign a veteran lineman. While Miami improved the offensive line by signing Pro Bowl tackle Branden Albert from the Kansas City Chiefs, the rest of the line is still unproven at best.
Tannehill’s fantasy prospects weren’t that high to begin with, but he had potential as he missed on quite a few deep passes to WR Mike Wallace last season partially due to being hurried or hit as he was throwing. Without seeing the new line in a game situation, it’s hard to trust either Tannehill or Wallace to perform significantly better than they did last year in fantasy.
As for the Dolphins’ backfield, it’s still unsure whether Lamar Miller or Knowshon Moreno will get the starting RB job. However, with news that Moreno will have arthroscopic knee surgery this week and miss 4-5 weeks, Miller has the slight upper hand.
Regardless, Moreno’s success in 2013 was largely due to defensives having to account for Peyton Manning first and stopping the run second. Miller had difficulty performing in 2013 due to his offensive line woes, and he isn’t a superb talent who can easily overcome poor line play. I have both RBs ranked outside of my top 30, and they will stay there unless some spectacular things happen in training camp and preseason.
The Dolphins’ offensive line was worrisome to begin with, but Pouncey’s surgery pushes that even further. Wallace is bumped down a few spots for me due to this news, and I wouldn’t take a chance on Tannehill or any Dolphins RB until very late in the draft. It doesn’t look like there will be a lot of fantasy value to be had in Miami for the 2014 season.