After a multi-day standoff between Miami and Denver's front office brass, a resolution was reached Friday, an outcome no one saw coming.
Earlier this week NFL Network's Michelle Beisner reported a deal sending Kyle Orton to Miami was imminent, a move that was expected to pave the way for the Mile High Messiah, Tim Tebow, to spread goodwill and statistical blissfulness throughout Fantasyland as John Fox's probable No. 1 while providing much needed value stability for 'Fins targets Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess.
But a curveball was thrown. And the Dolphins, doing their best Mike Stanton impersonation, whiffed, signing Matt Moore to "remedy" their passing ills.
When the sun broke the horizon in Miami this morning thoughts of Orton frolicking on South Beach, though on life support, were not completely dead. However, with Moore entering the equation it appears Tony Sparano is content rolling into the season with the former Panther and Chad Henne. Talk about an un-dynamic duo.
Referencing the Rockies, the presumed retainment of The Neckbeard crushes Tebow's fantasy prospects. The junior passer is a more dynamic athlete, but concerns over his inexperience and inaccuracy were apparently paramount to the Broncos' passive attitude for pushing the trade. Thursday's practice probably accelerated those thoughts. According to onlookers, Orton completely outplayed Tebow who struggled to find his receivers. The incumbent took all first-team snaps. Granted it's one practice, but it was likely a harbinger of things to come if a new trade suitor doesn't materialize. �
Over the first half of last year, Orton was a waivers sensation, flourishing in peach fuzzy head coach Josh McDaniels' pass-centric offense. From Weeks 1-10, he averaged a ridiculous 311.7 passing yards and 1.8 air strikes per game, an output worthy of a top-flight QB1 designation. Unfortunately, his statistical prowess petered out along with Denver's win-loss record. After Week 10, he threw just four touchdowns and eclipsed the 200-yard mark one time, eventually relinquishing first-team snaps to Tebow.
Orton may not possess the physical gifts of the former Heisman winner, but he is a more refined passer who should general John Fox's conservative offense with considerable poise. Despite a fluttering deep ball, his sharp execution over the short-to-intermediate field should make him QB1 viable in deeper formats. But, unless the Broncos defense is again horrifically bad, don't expect banner numbers similar to his first-half run last year. Keep in mind this is a run-oriented scheme. Knowshon Moreno, whose value has done a complete 180 over the past 72 hours, will be deployed early and often.
Obviously, Tebow is the biggest loser from the botched exchange. Though his presence can cure the sick, he is nothing more than a late-round flier. Yes, because of his rushing abilities, he will have a role within Fox's offense, particularly near the goal-line, though just signed rusher Willis McGahee will too. Unfortunately, unpredictability and inconsistency in playing time renders him completely unreliable. However, if Orton goes down, he could be 2011's version of Michael Vick, a backup-turned-starter who could reap substantial reward if plucked off waivers. His statistical upside is eerily similar to the pre-pokey version of the Philly QB. Don't forget he was the No. 1 ranked signal caller over the regular season's final three weeks netting 217 passing yards per game, 66.3 rushing yards per game and seven total TDs (three rushing). Your mother would agree, he's dreamy.
Brandon Lloyd, meanwhile, is the big winner here. Human Gumby flourished with Orton behind center, setting the points per game pace among wide receivers. His excellent route-running ability, separation skills, plus speed and superhuman body control makes him a matchup nightmare. Don't expect him to duplicate last season's career year, but borderline WR1/WR2 numbers are possible. Buy on the bear (ADP: 48.8, WR19).
Sadly on South Beach, the Moore acquisition sours the values of Brandon Marshall and slot machine Davone Bess. With Orton in tow, the PPR monsters would've thrived under the direction of a quarterback capable of delivering crisp passes. Instead, the tandem will rekindle relations with Henne, a completely unsteady passer, or establishes a new bond with Moore, who was benched in favor of Jimmy Clausen. Again, Jimmy "I couldn't complete a 10-yard pass to the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man to save my life" Clausen. Scary. Consider their worth equal to what it was last year ? Marshall an upper-tiered WR3 (No. 26 in WR ppg scoring last year), Bess (No. 45) a starting staple only in PPR formats. Oh what could've been.
Rookie running back Daniel Thomas is the only Dolphin worth fishing for in the early rounds. Even though Sparano overhauled his offensive coaching staff ? Brian Daboll was pried from Cleveland to run the offense ? his overall philosophy likely won't change. The 'Fins may take more chances vertically, but expect them to adhere to a pound-the-pill blueprint, especially given their top-notch offensive line. And don't worry about Reggie Bush. As the Miami Herald noted Friday morning, Thomas is expected to be the bell cow, likely flirting with 280 carries this season. His north-south running style, size, versatility�and plus vision will work wonders taking the ball behind Jake Long. Mark Ingram, Mikel Leshoure and Ryan Williams might possess more pure talent, but the K-State product's situation is drool-worthy. He shouldn't last past Round 4 in 12-teamers.
(UPDATE: In the Dolphins' presser Friday, Sparano expressed strong feelings Bush is capable of being an early-down back. Laughable. I also hear Pacman Jones is capable of becoming a model citizen.)
What are your thoughts on Miami's stiff-arm? What numbers can we expect from Lloyd/Orton under Fox? Is Tebow even draftable? Where do Marshall/Bess/Thomas rank now? Discuss below.
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