Fantasy football fans likely won't go near Dolphins receivers this season. But judging by the unit's play in training camp, they should give the group a second look.
Last year, players on Miami combined to make 280 receptions -- the fifth-lowest total in the league -- and totalled a mere 20 touchdown grabs. That's why first-year coach Joe Philbin and the team's front office went about rebuilding the receiving corps and adding more weapons to one of the league's most beleaguered units.
“The thing we really want to get a sense of is who can win those one-on-one matchups, who can beat press coverage, who can make a play on the ball down the field, who can separate, who can create space underneath, among other things?,” Philbin told reporters. “It's not all about a vertical shot down the field. And who can catch the ball consistently?”
Veteran and mercurial veteran Chad Johnson appears to be the most talented and most vocal of the group as he sits atop the first depth chart released on Monday. The player formerly known as "Ochocinco" shed the label to return to his birth name after making a career-low 15 catches for 276 yards with a touchdown last season in New England.
Not the kind of Pro Bowl performances expected from an All-Pro mouth.
"I'm working. I'm working like a rookie again," Johnson told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "Working like a young dude."
Potentially starting along with the former Bengals star are receivers Legedu Naanee and Davone Bess. Naanee, who signed as a free agent after a career-year with Carolina where he made 44 catches for 467 yards and a touchdown, is a deep threat who would lineup out wide. Bess, who is coming off the worst season of his career with 51 catches for 537 yards with three touchdowns, has been one of the highlights of training camp as he has flashed his quickness and sure hands in the slot.
“Right now I'm playing X, the weakside receiver, and just trying to do everything the coaches demand of me, be a leader, work hard and try to catch everything that comes my way,” Naanee told MiamiDolphins.com.
If he keeps up his current form, he might even catch on with a fantasy team or two.