The Miami Dolphins spent 2017 on hold, as Ryan Tannehill’s knee exploded so late in camp that they had to pluck an already-retired Jay Cutler away from the announcing booth to have him No Care Bear all over the field. They then hit the big fat reset button the name of a culture change, letting Cutler re-retire, trading Jarvis Landry, and ditching Mike Pouncey and Ndamukong Suh. They snagged three guys at fantasy football relevant positions in the 2018 NFL Draft, but should you add any of them in your drafts?
Mike Gesicki, Tight End, Round Two
Mike Gesicki doesn’t play like a prototypical big beefy inline tight end (more on someone who plays like that below). He’s more in the Jimmy Graham or Evan Engram mold: a massive, oversized wide receiver. He can’t block very well (which makes Saquon Barkley’s 2017 more impressive), but he can run free and high point a ball as well as any NFL tight end, allowing would-be tacklers to merely bounce off his massive frame. He’s a huge red zone weapon that will create a mismatch for years to come.
This is exactly the type of weapon that the Dolphins need to add to their receiving corps. However, there are already a lot of mouths to feed in Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, and Danny Amendola outside of passes to the end zone. While DeVante Parker is 6’3”, nobody on that team is as big as Gesicki’s 6’6” frame, so he should be a red-zone weapon for Ryan Tannehill. He could be one of the exceptions to the “rookie tight ends don’t produce” rule. Don’t draft him banking on that, but keep an eye on what he’s up to early in the year. He could easily be 2018’s top rookie tight end.
Durham Smythe, Tight End, Round Four
Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe have much in common. For example, Durham Smythe is also a tight end drafted by the Miami Dolphins! The similarities end there. Smythe is primarily a blocker, though he does have some nifty hands and his routes don’t make your head hurt. Still, he’s basically a small O-lineman who can catch a pass or two sometimes. It’s unlikely he’s anywhere near the Dolphins’ passing game plans in 2018. He’s a good enough player, just not for fantasy football.
Kalen Ballage, Running Back, Round Four
For whatever reason, Ballage has become Matthew Berry’s sleeper de l’année, to the befuddlement of most of the fantasy football establishment. I’m going to have to side with the establishment on this one. Ballage was an inconsistent part-time back at Arizona State. He’ll top out as an annoying goal-line and third-down back his rookie year, especially considering he has Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore to contend with to start off.
He’s extremely inconsistent and has trouble between the tackles, but has decent pass-catching ability. A lot of people look at his secondary stats and say that he can’t pull it off… but something about him pops on tape. Ballage glides through the defense, bouncing off tacklers. He needs a hole to make things work, however, as he bashes into a muddled line. He needs every bit of his size when he runs, as he can mostly only go in a straight line. His inability to put together a consistent rhythmic running effort could be his downfall in 2018.
Ballage sits behind last year’s mid-year RB breakout in Kenyan Drake as well as the Man Who Never Dies, Frank Gore. If Ballage can’t get a chance to show his stuff, it’s likely nothing happens for him this year. However, we live in the age of the air back. He has great hands and runs well enough once he’s already in space. There exists a world where Ballage has some useful fantasy football value in 2018. For now? He’s a huge question mark; you see whatever you want to see in him.
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