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 @DEN 0000024021 ***
For all the Dolphins' recent success Tannehill remains a fantasy outsider, especially on the road; he's had one passing TD in three of five away from Miami, including his last two. Tough to see him offering up much of note in Denver this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, MIA @DEN 5003200000 ***
Miller took it to a pretty good Buffalo run D last week, racking up 86 yards on 15 carries. Looks like his shoulder shouldn't be a concern. The Broncos are tougher to run on at home so keep your expectations in check, but if Miami follows the Rams' blueprint from last week Miller should see more than enough touches to be fantasy relevant.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, MIA @DEN 005600000 ***
Wallace sees the targets, so by and large he's the Dolphins receiver with the most fantasy upside. It's not a particularly good matchup, but Wallace has done enough to at least be flirting with every-week starter status.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA @DEN 004600000 ***
Mike Wallace remains the most targeted Dolphin, but Landry is fast becoming the guy the team turns to when plays need to be made. It's not a great matchup, but that playmaking ability keeps Landry on the cusp of fantasy relevancy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, MIA @DEN 00000000 **
The Broncos have allowed four TE TDs in as many games, and with Clay back to his heavily-targeted role in the lineup he's a decent fantasy play this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, MIA @DEN 2222 ***
Sturgis has prospered in the wake of the improving Miami offense, with at least eight points in five straight games. However, eight is the top total for a visiting kicker in Denver this year so there's a ceiling to his upside this week.

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 Mallett, HOU CIN 0000023011 **
Mallett wasn't bad out of the gate with a two-TD effort in his first NFL start. He had two weeks to prep for that game, however; now he has just a week and gets a Cincy D that just held Drew Brees in check at home. Tough to like his chances of a repeat.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU CIN 6012100000 **
If Arian Foster's getting his, odds are Blue isn't getting his. Use Blue only if Foster isn't ready to return from his injury. You even have to be wary of Houston's coach speak, as the last time they said Foster would be eased back into the mix he handled 25 touches to Blue's five.
Update: Foster is officially listed as questionable after sitting out practice both Thursday and Friday. Looks like you'll have to sweat this decision out right up through pre-game deactivations.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU CIN 5002100000 *
If healthy, Foster's an every-week starter--and a Cincy D that's given up 384 yards from scrimmage and three TDs to opposing running backs in just the past two games should make him feel extremely comfortable.
Update: Foster's only practice session this week was a limited go on Wednesday, and he's officially listed as questionable. Might have to watch this one right up to kickoff to determine if he'll play--and if he plays, it's a favorable enough matchup that he belongs in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU CIN 005801000 ***
Hopkins and Andre Johnson are essentially splitting the passing game looks, with the key difference being Hopkins has four times as many touchdowns as AJ. Both are viable, but Hopkins a bit more reliable of a fantasy option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU CIN 006700000 ***
Johnson tends to get similar targets to DeAndre Hopkins, and his yardage is usually solid; it's his lack of end zone visits that makes him a shaky fantasy option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Garrett Graham, HOU CIN 002200000 ***
It's been a month since the Bengals allowed a TE TD; just because Graham found the end zone last week doesn't mean he's a safe bet to return here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU CIN 3322 ****
Bullock's been hot of late, with three three-FG games in the past month. He's also been much more active on the road, as four of his five games with double-digit points have come away from home. Split the difference with Bullock as a good-not-great fantasy option 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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