Mike Wallace (04/16/13)
Leading up to the NFL Draft we will take a look back at some of the big moves during the NFL Free Agency. We will grade each signing, analyze fantasy impact, and look at prop bets for each player acquired where appropriate. This is all done through 50,000 simulations of last season with the signed players joining their new teams.
Miami signed Mike Wallace to a five-year, $60 million deal that guarantees him $30 million. Wallace will earn $27 million in the first two years of the deal through an $11 million signing bonus and base salaries of $1 million in 2013 and $15 million in 2014 (both fully guaranteed).
The Dolphins have a young quarterback in Ryan Tannehill and need to surround him with weapons. The Fins needed a number one wide receiver; acquiring one would allow Brian Hartline to be the second option that he is while optimizing Davone Bess’s talent in the slot position.
Below is a look at Wallace’s numbers over his four-year career. Wallace had a disappointing 2012 season that saw his yards per catch and yards per game figures fall off. Wallace was impacted by a 3.5 game stretch without Ben Roethlisberger. If you prorate Wallace’s numbers with Big Ben in the lineup out to a full season he would have had 74 receptions for 1,084 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Here are our projections through 50,000 simulations of last season. It is important to note that this simulation takes into account the additions of Dustin Keller and Dannell Ellerbe as well as the losses of Reggie Bush and Jake Long.
Free Agent Signing Grade: C+
As a baseline, we simulated the entire season without the addition of Wallace (or Dustin Keller and Dannell Ellerbe or losses of Reggie Bush and Jake Long). On average we projected the Dolphins to win 6.5 games while losing 9.5. This would have put them third in the AFC East and two games out of the last wild card.
After accounting for the aforementioned additions/subtractions the Dolphins win on average 7.4 games and lose 8.6 games. This moves them into second in the AFC East but Miami still finds itself out of the playoffs one game back of the second wild card.
Last year Miami finished with a 7-9 record, 2nd in the AFC East and missed out on the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. We grade the additions of Mike Wallace and crew as a C+ specifically because Miami fails to make the playoffs. The addition of a 1,000 yard receiver is essential for the development of their young quarterback but the Dolphins are still a few pieces away from serious contention and the hefty price tag to acquire Wallace may hamstring them in the future.
Mike Wallace: Average draft position last year (ESPN/Yahoo) was as the 41st player overall and the 10th wide receiver. Wallace finished as the 25th wide receiver in standard scoring leagues. A down year fresh on owner’s minds should allow Wallace to drop in drafts (Matthew Berry currently has him projected as the 60th player drafted overall and the 27th wide receiver). Our projected line of 74.4 receptions and 992.7 yards would rank in the top 20 last season. There is value in taking Mike Wallace ahead of his average draft position.
Ryan Tannehill: Last season Tannehill completed 58.2% of his passes for 3,294 yards and 12 touchdowns. Tannehill finished as the 24th best quarterback in fantasy last year. With the addition of Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson we anticipate the Dolphins throwing more. We project Tannehill to complete 60% of his passes for 3,961.7 yards and 15.51 touchdowns. Tannehill goes from irrelevant to at worse a viable bye week fill-in. Tannehill is currently projected as the 139th player taken and the 18th quarterback.
Dustin Keller: Led the Jets in receiving yards and receptions in 2011. Last season Keller was plagued by injuries resulting in career lows in receiving yards and receptions. Keller enters the mix in an already clogged receiving core featuring Wallace, Hartline, Bess, and Brandon Gibson (all projected with more receptions and yards). Keller is projected 21.1 receptions, 230.7 yards, and 2.1 touchdowns. Look elsewhere for a tight end.
Las Vegas Prop Bets:
- Mike Wallace – Total Receiving Yards, over/under 925.5
- Mike Wallace – Total Receptions, over/under 62.5
- Mike Wallace – Total Touchdowns, 6.5
We like the over on total receptions and receiving yards. Wallace’s projected season looks more like his 2011 season than his 2012 campaign. Again, it is important to note that had Ben Roethlisberger been healthy all last season Wallace’s statistics would probably have been higher. There is not any value in receiving touchdowns as they are incredibly fluky (Calvin Johnson: 2011 – 16, 2012 – 5).