FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) *IND at CHI *PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC *JAC at MIN *PIT at DEN *WAS at NO
*BUF at NYJ *MIA at HOU *SEA at ARI *CIN at BAL (MON)
*UPDATED *CAR at TB *NE at TEN SF at GB *SD at OAK (MON)

Prediction: MIA 10, HOU 27 (Line: HOU by 11)

Player Updates: Arian Foster, Owen Daniels, Ben Tate

Players to Watch: Ryan Tannehill, Reggie Bush

The Dolphins ended with a 6-10 record last season and were only 2-6 in road games. The Texans posted a 10-6 standing that won them the division and got them into the playoffs where they beat the Bengals before later falling to the Ravens. The Houston defense was the main success factor in their first playoff run and now eight months later it will be why they win this game.

The Texans won 23-13 in Miami last year.

Miami Dolphins
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @HOU ----- 10 TEN -----
2 OAK ----- 11 @BUF -----
3 NYJ ----- 12 SEA -----
4 @ARI ----- 13 NE -----
5 @CIN ----- 14 @SF -----
6 STL ----- 15 JAC -----
7 BYE ----- 16 BUF -----
8 @NYJ ----- 17 @NE -----
9 @IND ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Dolphins have undergone another change at the top with Joe Philbin comes over as head coach after spending nine years in Green Bay and the last five as the offensive coordinator - that bodes well for fantasy purposes. Mike Sherman left Texas A&M to become the offensive coordinator and reunites with Philbin to produce the West Coast offensive scheme. Since quarterback has long been a problem spot, the Fins drafted Ryan Tannehill who was Sherman's quarterback last year. That will give him an advantage over most rookie quarterbacks since he is familiar with the system already.

Reggie Bush is one to watch because this offense will use him extensively at least while the passing attack is still coming together. Bush is in a situation where he could end up with plenty of rushing and receiving yardage. How durable Bush will prove is key to what success there will be in this first year of the rebuild. He lasted for all but one in 2011 and that included 216 carries for 1086 yards and 43 receptions for 296 yards. This offense will revolve around Bush so his role and workload will dictate much for the team and his fantasy value.

Sadly for fantasy fans, the new offense was described as not needing a true #1 wide receiver. Brandon Marshall left for Chicago and in his place is little more than Davone Bess and Legedu Naanee which is every bit as bad as it sounds. The Dolphins continue to look for more help here and the lack of talent is not going to be of any help in Tannehill's development. At current rate, there is a decent chance that the leading receiver will end up as Reggie Bush.

Anthony Fasano remains the starting tight end but he's little more than a blocker. Even if the Fins want to make more use of him, there is no guarantee he is up to the task. This entire passing offense has perhaps the least amount of fantasy value in the entire NFL. Even Blaine Gabbert was given tools to work with this year. Not so Tannehill.

On the road with a new offense and a rookie quarterback to face the Texans... not ideal. If there was any shut out in week one, this would be it.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 20 9 24 27 8 30
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 5 2 8 4 12 3

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ryan Tannehill, MIA @OAK 10000021011 ***
Tannehill is barely clinging to his job as the Dolphins' QB and has done nothing to suggest he keeps a spot in any self-respecting fantasy lineup
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, MIA @OAK 10014300000 ****
Miller thrived in the feature back role last week and should do so once again against an Oakland defense that's already allowed Chris Ivory and Arian Foster to reach triple-digit yardage against them.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, MIA @OAK 006701000 ****
Passing numbers are subdued against Oakland, likely because teams have so much success running the ball they don't need to throw. Wallace remains the most targeted Dolphin and as such the best bet for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brian Hartline, MIA @OAK 004400000 ***
Hartline is a good fantasy play in a favorable matchup, and surprisingly enough the Raiders aren't a favorable matchup for passing attacks. Look elsewhere for fantasy help this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, MIA @OAK 004300000 ***
Clay hasn't been nearly the fantasy contributor he was last year, and it's not a favorable enough matchup to expect that to change this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, MIA @OAK 1133 ***
Oakland's given up multiple field goals in all three games this season, while Sturgis has hit multiple treys in two of three. He's a good bet to make that three of four.

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIA ----- 10 @CHI -----
2 @JAC ----- 11 JAC -----
3 @DEN ----- 12 @DET -----
4 TEN ----- 13 @TEN -----
5 @NYJ ----- 14 @NE -----
6 GB ----- 15 IND -----
7 BAL ----- 16 MIN -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The demise of the Colts left the door open for the Texans to take the AFC South for the first time and win their first playoff game. Arian Foster started the year slowly for a few weeks because of a hamstring strain but he was unstoppable the rest of the way and ended with 1841 total yards and 12 touchdowns. He made the offense hardly notice when Andre Johnson was lost for nine games and Matt Schaub missed six. Between the defense and the rushing offense, passing became a novelty.

Foster returns along with Ben Tate who himself nearly topped 1000 rushing yards and is likely gone next year. With a tremendous offensive line, the Texans rushing attack will be at least good no matter who lines up and remains elite with Foster back there.

Andre Johnson is healthy again, for the moment, and claims he is not injury prone or losing a step. At 31 years of age, he should still be in his prime though he has missed 12 games over the last two years, needed a knee scope as recently as May and then pulled his groin in camp. Johnson is really the only wideout of any note that has ever played for the Texans. Kevin Walter has never been more than a mediocre complement. Rookies Jean Lestar, Keshawn Martin and DeVier Posey may develop into something in the future but none of them could win the #2 spot in training camp. Besides, with a good defense and dominating ground game, the Texans are never going to throw that much anyway. And when they do, they want Andre Johnson to catch it.

Owen Daniels has been a tight end that always seemed about to breakout and yet never quite did. He is 30 years old now and has missed 14 games over the last three seasons and been locked in around 600 yards per season lately. He remains a factor, just not a very big one.

First week out the Texans should look in midseason form with the Dolphins visiting along with their rookie quarterback. Nice chance for a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 24 2 31 8 6 13
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 20 5 23 23 10 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU BUF 0000025010 ***
Buffalo hasn't been a creampuff but they have allowed fantasy helpers to Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers. Fitz hasn't been anything special but his attempts climbed last week sans Arian Foster and he could be without his ground game again this week. It's an opportunity, one you may need to reach for with six teams on the bye this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU BUF 7011100000 ***
Blue is in line for another week of feature back touches with Arian Foster nursing a hamstring injury. He was a'ight last week in New York, and while the Bills don't necessarily offer an overly favorable matchup he might wind up being a decent enough volume play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU BUF 00000000 *
Update: Foster will be a game-time decision due to his hamstring issues. Even if he goes, the plan is to give Alfred Blue at least a share of the workload. Probably best served on your bench unless you see him doing sprints during pregame.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU BUF 007901000 ***
Despite fewer targets than Andre Johnson in every game this season, Hopkins owns the only 100-yard game among Texans wideouts and two of the unit's three TDs. Buffalo let WR1s handle them in Weeks 1 and 2 before ceding scores to secondary targets last week. Either way, Hopkins is the more productive fantasy option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU BUF 006700000 ***
Johnson has been the more targeted Texan, but DeAndre Hopkins has led Houston WRs in fantasy scoring each game this year. Expect more of the same against a Buffalo secondary that's no pushover but has allowed at least one WR TD every game this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Garrett Graham, HOU BUF 002200000 ***
Graham is healthy and his targets on the upswing, but let's let him do something fantasy-wise before trusting him with a fantasy start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU BUF 3322 ****
Bullock sandwiched a 12-point game between a couple of five-point efforts, while the Bills were doing the same with fours and an eight. Odds are you won't get shut out, and there's certainly upside to Bullock's fantasy opportunity this week.

WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) IND at CHI PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN PIT at DEN WAS at NO
BUF at NYJ MIA at HOU SEA at ARI CIN at BAL (MON)
  CAR at TB NE at TEN SF at GB SD at OAK (MON)

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