Ryan Tannehill doesn’t like orange. Or, more accurately, his click-inducing wife doesn’t like orange. She’s changed her opinion on that divisive color in the Tannehill household since draft day, and we know this because she now wears orange articles of clothing made with very little fabric.
On your fantasy draft day and beyond, you’ll agree with Lauren. The color orange sucks, and if your starting quarterback this year is wearing that color combined with teal, that’s the ultimate sign of desperation.
You’re surely aware by now that Tannehill (Ryan, not Lauren, although if attendance drops at Dolphins games Stephen Ross surely hasn’t ruled out starting the latter Tannehill) was named Miami’s starting quarterback yesterday. It’s a move that was hardly surprising, although in the past I’ve advocated against it, knowing that my pleas would land on deaf ears. With David Garrard injured, the path to starting become much easier for Tannehill, and Dolphnis fans didn’t want to wait for the future.
But neither did Jaguars fans last year, and that resulted in a season of pain. Blaine Gabbert has shown signs this preseason that he’s ready to turn it around, and he has to do that quickly. But while it’s wildly unfair to expect every rookie to be Cam Newton or Andy Dalton, Gabbert’s struggles last year during a season when he clearly wasn’t ready for the spotlight went beyond the usual rookie growing pains. His 50.8 completion percentage and 5.4 yards per attempt were just, um, yikes.
For some reason I’ve been surrounded by a lot of Dolphins fans in this office, so to minimize their mental anguish I hope I’m wrong, and I hope Tannehill feeds me the same delicious crow that Newton cooked up last year. But it feels like he’s headed down the Gabbert path to a fiery first season from hell, which is why he has no value whatsoever to you, and he shouldn’t occupy any space on your roster.
Consider his receiving options. Yes, he’s supported by Reggie Bush in the backfield, who showed incredible promise in 2011 when he rushed for 519 yards over his last four games. His year also ended one game early due to an injury, marking his 21st missed game over six seasons.
And sure, Anthony Fasano and Michael Egnew will be a serviceable tight end tandem, but to have fantasy value, a QB needs to stretch the field, accumulate yardage, and throw TD passes. Tannehill can throw deep balls all he pleases, but who’s going to catch them?
Combined throughout their careers, Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, and Legedu Naanee have averaged 12.3 yards per reception. Naanee wasn’t around last year, but Hartline and Bess combined for 16 catches of 20 yards or more. To show how far away that is to elite production at the position in terms of deep ability, WRs in the top 20 in 2011 averaged 19.8 catches for +20 yards.
Clearly your stance on Tannehill will change under unique circumstances, like a deep keeper league or a dynasty format. But given the lack of a supporting cast around him, let others fool themselves into buying low and occupying a roster spot with his likely less than medicare production until Tannehill strings together a few quality starts early in the season.
If it’s a mid to late-round rookie gamble you seek, then we’ve already written at length about why this Luck character will probably be alright, and Robert Griffin III sort of knows how to play quarterback too. Jake Locker should have far more support in Tennessee than what Tannehill has in Miami, and he’ll therefore be a quality sleeper candidate at the right price. Hell, if somehow Russell Wilson is named the starter in Seattle (the possibility of that happening is ridiculously remote, but we’re allowed to dream magical dreams), then he’s even a much better flier option than Tannehill because of his athleticism and running ability. Yeah, it was against reserves and blah blah, but you saw his 32-yard TD run, right?
Let the Tannehill era start next year, or never. Just don’t touch him now.
UPDATE: It still seems likely that Matt Flynn will win the starting job in Seattle, but calling Wilson’s chances “ridiculously remote” isn’t accurate anymore since he’ll start the Seahawks’ third preseason game. The third week of the preseason is typically treated like the last regular-season tune up, so this shows that at the very least head coach Pete Carroll thinks highly of his third-round pick. Highly enough to give him his first start against a first-team defense, and a legitimate chance to beat out Flynn.