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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fantasy football: Is Brian Hartline a reliable starter?

If you enjoy "Hard Knocks" on HBO as much as I do, you might have noticed Brian Hartline wasn't mentioned at all when the outstanding behind-the-scenes reality show discussed the Dolphins' need for a standout wide receiver this past summer.

Well, there is a reason for that: The former Ohio State standout missed almost all of training camp because of a calf injury.

When HBO was filming, Hartline wasn't practicing.

He has since answered the question we all had about the Dolphins -- and done so convincingly.

Hartline -- a fourth-round draft choice by Miami in 2009 -- has 25 receptions for 455 yards in four games. That's a 16-game pace of 100 receptions for 1,820 yards.

Sunday, Hartline had a Dolphins-record 253 yards on 12 catches, including an 80-yard score against the Cardinals.

In Weeks 1 and 3, he didn't do much -- a combined four catches for 91 yards and zero TDs.

In Weeks 2 and 4, he was sensational -- a combined 21 catches for 364 yards and one TD.

Is he a spot starter? Should we start him on even-numbered weeks? Should we play him every week and figure there is a 50-50 chance he will be very good?

The simple answers are yes, no and yes.

In point-per-reception leagues, Hartline should be considered a No. 3 receiver. If you play in a league in which yards and touchdowns are all that matter, play the matchup game with Hartline, who isn't a great source of touchdowns (he has five in 44 career games).

If you own Hartline, you likely acquired him on the waiver wire, so you might have three good receivers ahead of him on your roster. If that's the case, play him if the matchup is very favorable and/or one of your top three wideouts is banged up.

Hartline might not be consistent -- most receivers with rookie quarterbacks throwing to them aren't -- but he is a big-play threat. He is averaging 15.9 yards per reception in his career.

Plus, he has an outstanding mustache in this profile picture.

What about Bess?

Believe it or not, the Dolphins have two wide receivers who merit consideration in PPR leagues.

Davone Bess -- who also didn't get much (or any) airtime on "Hard Knocks" -- has 12 catches for 209 yards and two TDs in his last two games.

With Ryan Tannehill averaging 35.8 pass attempts per game, Bess and Hartline could both go over 1,000 yards.

Bess should be considered a fourth receiver in deep PPR leagues. He has yet to score a touchdown this season, and he has only 11 TDs in his five-year career, so he's not much help in standard formats.

Bess' 16-game pace: 80 receptions for 1,188 yards.

Yes, the Dolphins have two receivers on track for 80-plus catches and more than 1,100 yards.

Chad Johnson, your thoughts?

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