Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson.
There are all of these great young quarterbacks in the league, and yet, no one ever seems to be talking about third-year quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. And sure, I guess it makes sense, seeing how he’s not as good and the Dolphins aren’t really a big market team, but Tannehill is a good young arm, and is coming off the best season of his young career. In 2013, Tannehill set a career high in yards (3,913), touchdowns (24) and completion percentage (60.4). He finished the season strong, ultimately finishing less than five fantasy points behind Tom Brady for the 13th spot among quarterbacks. So, with a new coordinator and more weapons in town, could Tannehill be a top-12 fantasy option flying under the radar?
Let’s head on down to south beach.
You would think that Tannehill, a big guy with a strong arm, would have a field day throwing long passes to an elite deep threat in Mike Wallace, but the connection just hasn’t been there quite yet. Last year, he posted a lowly 9.3 yards per vertical pass attempt, 35th among all passers in the league (via ESPN). And according to Pro Football Focus, Tannehill was the second-worst deep-ball passer in football, completing just 25 percent of throws traveling 20 yards or more. New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor should help with that. During his time as the quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia last year, Lazor helped Nick Foles breakout, and Tannehill is a very similar quarterback, so why can’t he do the same? Sure, Miami doesn’t have the speed and weapons that the Eagles do, but there is some upside here.
Last year, the running game was non-existent for most parts, forcing Tannehill to throw the football 588 times, the 7th-most in all of football. Meanwhile, Lazor has led his offenses during his time as the coordinator at Virginia to at least 34 pass attempts per game in all three seasons, including a healthy 39.5 passes per game during his final year in 2012, which was good for top-24 status in all of college football. I think Lazor could be very good for Tannehill, and the volume will be nice, too. Lazor runs a fast offense that will generate a lot of plays, and, hopefully, the Dolphins offensive line doesn’t get any worse.
That’s the biggest aspect, I think. In 2013, Tannehill was the most-sacked quarterback in all of football, going down a whopping 58 times. The offensive line will be upgraded, and given more time in the pocket, Tannehill should complete more than just 16 of 64 passes traveling 20 yards or more. And last year, he attempted such passes 10.9 percent of the time (via PFF), and under Lazor, I think that number rises, which gives him some nice upside.
Don’t sleep on Tannehill. From weeks 13-16, he had at least 21 fantasy points in each contest, and has a pretty strong schedule, too.