The Miami Dolphins were one of the most pleasant surprises from Week 1. Tua Tagovailoa led the Dolphins on an epic fourth-quarter comeback over the Los Angeles Chargers in a game that featured eight lead changes. Now, the Fins settle in for a primetime AFC East showdown against the New England Patriots. Divisional matchups are crucial for postseason seeding, and we’re expecting both teams to be at their best Sunday night.
This article will discuss 3-5 of my favorite pick’ems from various DFS sites like Betr, Sleeper Fantasy, PrizePicks, and Underdog Fantasy.
Dolphins-Patriots NFL Fantasy Pick’ems
Mac Jones Lower 22.5 Completions
Bill Belichick dialed up the passing plays in Week 1, a deviation from what we’ve come to expect from the Patriots. New England threw the ball 54 times in the loss, representing 71.8% of their offensive plays. We’re anticipating a more well-rounded Patriots’ attack against the Dolphins, negatively impacting Mac Jones’ passing projections.
Last week, Jones completed 35 of his 54 pass attempts, both of which were career highs. Usually, the former first-round pick is tasked with managing games rather than forcing the issue with passes. In 2022, Jones averaged 31.6 pass attempts, completing 20.6 of those. Watch both of those numbers come back down to earth, starting in Week 2.
Miami can help facilitate that regression. The Dolphins limited a much more potent Chargers passing attack to just 23 completions on 34 pass attempts. Their revamped secondary will be ready to disrupt a Jones-led aerial assault.
Belichick’s offense is premised on controlling the clock and rushing the ball. The Pats should get back to that in short order, especially against a divisional opponent. An increased emphasis on the run game means less reliance on Jones, leaving him below his completion projection.
Ezekiel Elliott Higher 6.5 Rushing Attempts
We are taking a correlated approach with our second pick, expecting Ezekiel Elliott to go over his modest rushing attempt total. Last week, Zeke was New England’s most effective rusher and has earned a more prominent role in the Patriots offense.
Without question, Rhamondre Stevenson was the lead back to start the campaign. Stevenson toted the ball a team-high 12 times. However, he mustered a meager 25 yards on those touches, averaging a forgettable 2.1 yards per carry. Conversely, Elliott was his usual self, averaging 4.1 yards per carry on seven touches.
A limited amount of time with the Patriots in training camp may have impacted Zeke’s usage in Week 1. Still, Belichick trotted out the former bell-cow late in the game, instilling trust in their recently signed running back.
A more focused rushing attack means Elliott’s fantasy ceiling goes even higher versus the Dolphins. Although there may be an advantage in taking higher on his rushing yards projection, we’re playing it safe and betting he goes higher than the 6.5 rushing attempts needed.
Mike Gesicki Higher 1.5 Receptions
The temptation of taking a few Dolphins was real, but it’s hard to tell where their offense lands following last week’s historic output. That’s compounded by playing consecutive road games on opposite ends of the country. Instead, we’re aligning our previous pick on another Patriots player, looking for Mike Gesicki to maintain his excellence from last week.
As usual, Gesicki was a safety blanket for his quarterback. The former Dolphin nabbed all three of his targets against the Philadelphia Eagles, building chemistry with Jones. That reliability goes a long way in the Patriots’ schemes. Historically, Belichick has asked a lot from his tight ends, and Gesicki has earned a few more looks following his first outing.
A bad drop from Hunter Henry late in the game could also tilt the balances in Gesicki’s favor. Belichick is an unforgiving coach, and we could see more balanced usage from the Patriots tight ends Sunday night.
At worst, we should expect similar usage trends from Gesicki against Miami. Even at that level, we would take Gesicki to go higher than 1.5 receptions. But we are anticipating the 27-year-old to get a bigger piece of the pie in Week 2. With revenge on his mind, we like Gesicki to shine against his former team.