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Are the Miami Dolphins a Top-5 Offense Heading Into 2023?



The Miami Dolphins exploded in head coach Mike McDaniel’s first season with the team, finishing 9-8 with a Wild Card appearance. After their success, Miami was rewarded with the fifth-most difficult strength of schedule for the 2023 NFL season. Despite the challenges that lie ahead, we’re diving into whether McDaniel can help the Dolphins become a top-five offense in 2023.

An Analytical Look at the Miami Dolphins’ Offense

After lacking punch in 2021, Miami quickly revamped its offense by hiring McDaniel and trading for star receiver Tyreek Hill. McDaniel wisely implemented an offensive scheme that prioritized throws over the middle of the field to his two speedy receivers. The blend of Tua Tagovailoa’s accuracy and quick release led to a historical season from Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

MORE: Miami Dolphins 2023 Season Preview

Tagovailoa led the NFL in air yards per completion by 1.3 yards, while maintaining the 10th-best on-target percentage in the league and ranking 16th in bad-throw percentage. He also led the NFL in QB rating and touchdown rate, proving to be a franchise star when healthy. Simply put, with Tagovailoa in the lineup, the Dolphins had an elite passing offense.

Having Hill produce a career season that could propel him into the Hall of Fame certainly helped. Despite missing Tagovailoa for 4+ games, Hill finished second in the NFL in receptions and yards, and had six games with at least 143 yards.

Miami finished with the seventh-best EPA per play, eighth-best EPA per drop back, and 13th-best rush EPA. They had the 11th-most points, sixth-most yards, and 13th-best scoring percentage despite having the fifth-worst starting field position.

Running back Raheem Mostert established himself as a plus starter after dueling with Jeff Wilson Jr. for the job. Mostert tied for 17th in yards before contact per carry and tied for ninth in yards after contact per attempt. He was so good down the stretch of the season that McDaniel admitted, “We didn’t run enough.”

Dolphins 2023 Offensive Outlook

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Expectations are justifiably high for the Dolphins’ 2023 offense. PFN’s own Arif Hasan placed the unit fifth in his offensive rankings entering 2023. The key to it all will be Tagovailoa’s health and whether the offensive line is at all improved.

Tagovailoa said he’s “very excited” to show he can stay healthy in 2023 after McDaniel said Tagovailoa spent the offseason learning jiu-jitsu to help him learn how to take hits. While offseason OTAs often bring sensational, optimistic headlines, there’s no question Tagovailoa showed up to practice noticeably more bulked up.

With Hill and Waddle firmly entrenched as franchise pillars, the Dolphins have to show they can reproduce and sustain the high peaks of production they reached in 2022. Tagovailoa was phenomenal for much of his first season with McDaniel, but the team hit a rough patch starting in December. The final month of the year brought four losses as the offense bogged down, and Tagovailoa threw five interceptions.

MORE: Where Does Miami’s Defense Rank in 2023?

Now that defensive coordinators have seen how good defenses have limited Miami’s offense, expect there to be adjustments against the Dolphins in 2023. McDaniel will need to run the ball more as he promised, and the addition of 2023 third-round back Devon Achane can help. The line must also block better for Tagovailoa, and the passer has to avoid back-breaking turnovers.

The peak of Miami’s unit is immense, but raising the floor of their play is also important. McDaniel and Tagovailoa chased big plays to their detriment in 2022, even after San Francisco and the Los Angeles Chargers found ways to limit their effectiveness. McDaniel has to be more flexible in season for the Dolphins to redefine their floor and ceiling.

Are the Dolphins a Top-5 Offense in 2023?

Becoming a top-five offense without a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen is incredibly difficult. Tagovailoa isn’t a rushing threat like they are, and he’s not quite the playmaker either. Tua has the ability to be an elite passer, but there are still moments of inconsistency that can be debilitating to an offense.

Miami’s road to being a top-five offense in 2023 is made more difficult because they face loaded defenses across the AFC East for six games. They also drew games against the Eagles, Cowboys, and the AFC West. But even if they may not be a dominant weekly producer against elite competition, the Dolphins can be a top-five offense in terms of talent and efficiency.

MORE: Miami Dolphins 2023 Schedule

However, because Miami still has to prove themselves more than some of their peers, they’re not quite a top-five offense entering 2023. They’re close, but until players like Tagovailoa and Terron Armstead can stay healthy, and McDaniel can consistently produce an effective running game without a star back, the top five is a little rich for the Dolphins.

Nevertheless, it’s an incredibly fun offense that has the best receiving duo in the NFL and a scheme that fully maximizes Hill and Waddle. Miami can still be a Super Bowl threat even if they’re closer to the eighth-best offense than the fifth as long as they’re better about making timely big plays and the defense helps the offense more than they did in 2022.

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Should Antonio Brown Make the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame?




The NFL has given the stage to some of the world’s greatest athletes and performers. While some players have maximized their opportunities and eventually made the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the NFL’s process for inducting some of the greatest of all-time talents has created uncertainty for hopefuls.

And after former Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown tweeted his own Hall of Fame résumé, we’re diving into whether Brown should make the Hall of Fame.

Should Antonio Brown Make the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Brown has the on-field résumé of an NFL Hall of Famer. A Super Bowl champion who made first-team All-Pro four times and the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team, Brown helped redefine how evaluators looked at dominant wide receivers. At only 5’10” and 185 pounds, Brown was as unguardable as any player to have ever played the position sans Jerry Rice.

Brown’s incredible stretch of play from 2013 through 2018 made up the vast majority of his production, though he also made the Pro Bowl in his second year in 2011. In the six-year span, he caught no fewer than 101 passes for 1,284 yards and eight touchdowns in any season. He led the NFL in receptions twice, in yards twice, and in touchdowns once. His 2015 season featured a career-high 136 catches for 1,834 yards.

After his fantastic career in Pittsburgh came to an end due to a contract dispute, Brown’s off-field issues destroyed his reputation and opportunities. He was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders but never played a down for them, and was released later that season after playing just one game for the New England Patriots.

MORE: Best Wide Receivers in the NFL 2023

Brown rejoined Tom Brady in Tampa Bay for two seasons but ended his own career by storming off the field during a game midway through the season.

Entering 2023, Brown’s all-time ranks are impressive. He sits 21st with 928 receptions, 24th in receiving yards with 12,291, 25th with 83 touchdowns, and is fourth all-time in yards per game with 84.2 across 12 seasons. The only receiver with a similar résumé who isn’t in the Hall of Fame and is eligible is Torry Holt.

Still, Brown’s on-field case isn’t quite bulletproof. His lack of longevity is a glaring hole compared to others who finished their careers with more yards. Across 25 games between 2018-2021, Brown totaled just 107 receptions for 1,251 yards and nine touchdowns. He cost himself the opportunity to continue producing at a high level in those last three seasons.

Even a modest projection of another 2,000 yards from 2019-2021 would have put Brown 11th all-time in yards behind Reggie Wayne. Of the top 25 leaders in receiving yards, Steve Smith, Wayne, Andre Johnson, Anquan Boldin, Henry Ellard, Holt, Irving Fryar, and Jimmy Smith are eligible but not yet in the Hall of Fame. To get in, Brown’s biggest case is that his peak earned him the nod over the lower peaks but better consistency than his peers.

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Why Antonio Brown Won’t Make the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Brown’s statistical case is strong but not perfect. However, when Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis made the Hall of Fame despite only four productive seasons in his seven-year career, there became more of a gray area when it came to voting. Davis, like Brown, was transcendent during his peak, and that should be part of the voting process.

Brown may have to wait for others to get in, though. Larry Fitzgerald is a lock to get in eventually. Smith and Wayne have strong cases, and both Johnson and Holt may be borderline. Brown had a better peak than each of those players, but the same precedent that got Davis in hasn’t been made at wide receiver yet.

Then, there’s obviously Brown’s off-field issues. We saw Terrell Owens, an unquestionable top-three NFL wide receiver, fail to make the Hall of Fame until the third time he was on the ballot. Owens ranked eighth in receptions and third in receiving yards and touchdowns, but both the players and media on the voting committee punished him for being an outspoken personality.

Owens called out the voting process in 2021 when Calvin Johnson made it as a first-ballot inductee over Holt and Wayne, saying “there’s no justification” to who gets in and when they do. While Owens had to wait to enter the Hall of Fame, Brown’s list of transgressions will be much more troublesome for his own case than Owens’ outspoken personality.

From 2018-2022, Brown found himself benched with the Steelers, was traded to the Raiders before being released after fighting with then-general manager Mike Mayock, was sued for sexual assault and later released by the Patriots after threatening text messages were made public, suspended for eight games for a separate felony assault and battery charge, supplying the NFL with a fake vaccination card, then undressed mid-game and ran to the Buccaneers’ locker room in his final NFL contest.

MORE: Predicting the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class

Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin lauded Brown’s “unbelievable will [and] work ethic,” but the team opted against bringing him back at any point. New England head coach Bill Belichick was willing to give Brown a chance after falling out so quickly with the Steelers and Raiders, but his ominous comments after signing Brown that the team would have to “see how [it] goes” were justifiably cautious that it would ever work out.

Brown also fell out of favor with Tom Brady after Brady pushed for the Patriots and Buccaneers to sign him.

It’s hard to burn so many bridges in the NFL and continue to be rewarded. Owens couldn’t be denied his eventual entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but Brown’s case can be swept under the rug and forgotten much easier. His off-field antics have undoubtedly cost him millions of dollars and will likely be the reason he doesn’t make the Hall of Fame.

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Are the Arizona Cardinals Tanking in 2023?




The Arizona Cardinals made the shocking decision to release former All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on Friday afternoon. With Arizona unable to trade their star playmaker, they decided to cut bait now instead of prolonging the process. We dive into whether that means the Cardinals plan to tank in 2023.

Are the Arizona Cardinals Tanking in 2023?

After enjoying one winning season in three years with Arizona, Hopkins wasn’t shy about his desire to be traded this offseason. He was willing to restructure his contract if he needed to and even went so far as to spell out which quarterbacks he’d like to play with and outline the caliber of defense and management of what his next team would have.

MORE: What Does a DeAndre Hopkins Contract Potentially Look Like?

Alas, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Arizona opted to release Hopkins after unsuccessfully shopping him all offseason. His $19 million unguaranteed salary figure was “prohibitive” for contenders since that number would’ve still been a factor in a reworked deal.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport clarified the Cardinals made the move prior to June 1 so they could incur his entire $22.6 million dead cap hit on their 2023 books and not spill over into 2024.

We don’t know whether new Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort swung and missed on any opportunity to get compensation back for Hopkins. Releasing Hopkins now saved the team $7.38 million in cap space this season and $14.9 million next season. Moving on from Hopkins after June 1 would’ve spread his dead cap more into 2024 but also may have netted Arizona a draft pick.

Regardless of whether there was ever an opportunity to trade Hopkins, the Cardinals have clearly waived their white flag for the 2023 season. This should’ve been the expected route by the end of the 2022 season. Arizona had little to show on their roster despite being relatively capped out entering the offseason.

Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said quarterback Kyler Murray won’t be rushed back from his torn ACL. Even if he’s ready by midseason as expected, the Cardinals could be well on their way to bottoming out. Backup quarterback Colt McCoy is also rehabbing an unspecified injury that will “limit him in the offseason.”

First-year head coach Jonathan Gannon will face the 12th-hardest schedule this season, and that’s before factoring in any improvement from a healthier Los Angeles Rams team. Already down Murray and Hopkins, the team is also facing a trade request from star safety Budda Baker. Everything about this Cardinals’ offseason has projected a rebuilding situation.

The Cardinals signed only one external free agent worth more than a minimum salary, and that was linebacker Kyzir White. Defensive lineman Zach Allen, 26 years old, and 25-year-old cornerback Byron Murphy departed in free agency.

After Arizona traded down from the third overall pick in order to land the Houston Texans’ 2024 first-round pick, the Cardinals could be in a position with rare draft capital in next year’s class. If Murray doesn’t prove to be a franchise QB this season, Arizona could be able to replace him without moving additional assets. And if the Cardinals are bad despite Murray showing the “growth” that former general manager Steve Keim mentioned he needs, Arizona can invest in Murray further.

There’s no upside in the Cardinals trying to rush Murray back and competing in 2023. Losing Hopkins hurts, especially as he was still producing as a No. 1 wide receiver in 2022, but the rest of the roster is quite bad and somehow expensive.

Arizona already telegraphed their decision to tank and rebuild when they opted against drafting Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. with the No. 3 overall selection, as taking on future picks is rarely the strategy of a team trying to win right away.

That doesn’t mean internal development won’t be important.

Murray has to grow as a leader and a player. Marquise Brown is fighting for a long-term deal. A quality pass rusher and cornerback has to be identified and developed for Gannon to have any chance of surviving the next few seasons.

But wins aren’t the priority in 2023 with a roster that is arguably the worst in the NFL. With any luck, the Cardinals can become a team on the rise in 2024 if Murray recovers and improves, and the team can allocate their draft picks to revamping the roster around him.

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Which Veteran RBs Could Be Set To Fall Off a Cliff in 2023?




Father Time remains undefeated. Every player in the NFL will inevitably decline at some point in his career. Some last longer than others, but all players lose the ability to play professional football eventually. In fantasy football, we need to avoid drafting these players. With so many of the top running backs getting older, the end is near. Here are the running backs at risk of falling off a cliff in 2023.

Which Veteran RBs Could Decline This Season?

There have been many studies done on the age at which NFL players typically decline. It varies based on position. For running backs, an overwhelming majority of RB1 seasons occur between the ages of 22 and 28.

Of course, outliers exist. Not every running back will go full Shaun Alexander the moment he turns 29. I use Alexander as the prime example because, at age 28, he carried the ball 370 times for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns. The very next season, he was done. His yards per carry went from 5.1 to 3.6, and he was never fantasy relevant again.

MORE: Top 250 Fantasy Football Rankings 2023

The NFL saw an influx of talent at the RB position from 2015-2017. That’s where the bulk of the elite running backs over the past near-decade came from. It’s now 2023. Those guys are getting older, and within a couple of years, there will be none of them left in terms of fantasy relevance.

To be clear, I’m not saying any of these backs will definitively fall off a cliff this season. This is merely a list of fantasy RBs who could be looking at a precipitous decline in 2023.

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

I’m sure no one is surprised to see Derrick Henry’s name front and center on this list. He is, by far, the oldest running back in the top 24, let alone the top 12.

Henry has been a sure thing ever since establishing himself as an elite rushing force in 2019. Since then, he’s averaged 19.6, 20.8, 24.2, and 18.9 PPR fantasy points per game, respectively.

Henry’s also amassed 1,877 career touches, 1,337 of which have come over the past four seasons, which includes his injury-shortened eight-game 2021. Henry has led the NFL in carries per game for four straight seasons. No player has touched the ball more over that span.

Henry is 29 years old with a massive amount of tread on his tires. We’ve seen a noticeable decline in his efficiency each of the past two seasons. He averaged 4.9, 5.1, and 5.4 ypc in 2018-2020, respectively. In 2021 and 2022, that average was down to 4.3 and 4.4.

MORE: 2023 Dynasty RB Rankings

Henry also stopped breaking tackles as well last season. His evaded tackles per touch rate went from a second-ranked 38.8% in 2021 to a 34th-ranked 23% in 2022. Just 4% of his carries went for 15+ yards. That rate was 5.6% in 2020 and 5% in 2019.

The Titans project to be a bad team this year. They have a subpar quarterback and one of the weakest wide receiving corps in the NFL. I’m not saying it will happen, but don’t be surprised if Henry ends up averaging under 14 ppg this season, marking the beginning of the end for the King.

Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

For now, Dalvin Cook remains on the Minnesota Vikings. The fact that he may not stay with them is one of the many reasons he’s trending downward for 2023.

Cook is 28 years old. He’s not quite at the age where we expect a decline, but there are certainly warning signs.

Cook has touched the ball 1,503 times in his career. While he finally played a full season last year, it was not exactly pain-free. Cook has dealt with a medley of injuries, specifically to both of his shoulders. Those injuries have an increased likelihood of recurring each time he gets hurt, which only increases more with age.

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Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball against the New York Giants during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The injuries clearly took a toll on Cook’s productivity last season. His 4.4 ypc was a career-low, and just 4.5% of his runs went for at least 15 yards. He even saw his passing game role decrease, setting a career-low target share of 8.9%.

Cook’s 14.0 ppg was good for an overall RB14 finish, his lowest of his career (not counting his rookie season that was cut short after four games due to a torn ACL).

We’ve now seen Cook’s efficiency decline for two straight seasons. He’s had a ton of injuries and is getting older. It’s possible he ends up on another team where he doesn’t see the volume he did in Minnesota. All of this is to say Cook carries more risk in 2023 than he has at any point in his career.

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Alvin Kamara comes with additional risk beyond his play. But even without the looming suspension, I would have no interest in Kamara for the 2023 fantasy football season.

Not only is Kamara getting up there in age (28), but the bigger concern is his decline in efficiency. Efficiency was Kamara’s calling card his entire career. As a rookie, he averaged 6.1 ypc and then was consistently between 4.6 and 5.0 for the next three seasons. In 2021, however, we started to see signs of decline.

MORE: Fantasy Football Sleepers 2023

That’s when his yards per carry dropped to 3.7, and just 2.9% of his runs went for 15+ yards. Kamara’s evaded tackles per touch rate went from second in the league to 41st. By all accounts, Kamara was an awful runner, but he was able to maintain his elite RB1 status on the heels of his receiving.

In 2022, it was more of the same. Kamara averaged 4.0 ypc, with his 15-plus-yard run rate at 2.7%. His evaded tackles per touch rate also fell to 49th. This time, though, Kamara’s fantasy ppg did not survive, plummeting to 14.1, by far, the lowest of his career.

After two straight years of declining play, how likely is it that Kamara suddenly rebounds at age 28? Derek Carr’s addition certainly helps, as the offense should be better. But I just think Kamara is a declining player.

Even when running backs decline as runners, we’ve seen pass-catching backs maintain their receiving ability. This occurred with guys like Matt Forte, David Johnson, and Le’Veon Bell. Kamara’s name certainly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as those all-time greats.

Kamara will still have fantasy value because of his pass-catching. But if the rushing declines even further, Kamara may struggle even to reach the 14.1 ppg we saw last season, making him a very risky proposition in 2023.

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