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 NYJ 20000029021 ****
Tannehill threw for 331 & 2 in last month's meeting with the Jets, and with a playoff berth on the line he's expected to bounce back form the injury (and ineptitude) that knocked him out of last week's embarrassing shutout loss in Buffalo.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Knowshon Moreno, MIA NYJ 5004400000 ***
Three Broncos backs combined for 166 yards and a score in the earlier meeting with Oakland. Expect something similar this time around, with maybe a lighter load for Moreno as Denver rests him for the postseason. Still, his share of the work against an Oakland defense that's allowed 796 RB yards from scrimmage and 11 RB TDs the past month should be more than enough for him to be a fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Daniel Thomas, MIA NYJ 201000000 **
Thomas missed the earlier meeting with the Jets, but has two TDs and a 100-yard rushing game since. Assuming the Dolphins can shake off whatever ailed them in last week's embarrassing shutout loss to the Bills, Thomas should find room to rumble against a Jets defense that's allowed RB TDs in three straight, with two backs topping 150 combo yards in that span. UPDATE: Thomas is listed as questionable and was limited in practice Thursday and Friday. That likely reduces the share of carries he swipes from Lamar Miller.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, MIA NYJ 5002200000 ***
After being a stout run D most of the season the Jets have given up RB TDs in each of the past three games. Just prior to that streak starting, Miller produced 85 yards from scrimmage against the Jets in Week 13. He hasn't done much since, while Daniel Thomas has scored twice and had a 100-yard rushing game. But seeing the likes of Edwin Baker get to the end zone against the Jets at least provides hope Miller can do the same.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, MIA NYJ 007901000 ****
Wallace and Brian Hartline both scored in the earlier matchup with the Jets; both saw double-digit targets last week; and both have scored once in the three games since the last Dolphins/Jets game. With the Dolphins still clinging to a slim playoff chance, both are definitely in play against Gang Green this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brian Hartline, MIA NYJ 005600000 ***
Hartline and Mike Wallace both scored in the earlier matchup with the Jets; both saw double-digit targets last week; and both have scored once in the three games since the last Dolphins/Jets game. With the Dolphins still clinging to a slim playoff chance, both are definitely in play against Gang Green this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, MIA NYJ 003200000 ***
Sometimes a third receiver emerges behind Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace. It used to be Brandon Gibson, now it's Matthews, and in most cases it's a desperation fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, MIA NYJ 006801000 ***
The Jets have been better against tight ends the second half of the season, but they've still surrendered two 80-yard games and a touchdown to the position over the past month. Clay hit the 80 mark on them in the earlier meeting, and with the Dolphins playing for their postseason lives he's as good a bet as any to be an offensive contributor.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, MIA NYJ 1133 ****
Sturgis has double digits in three of his last four, including three weeks back against the Jets. At home, needing a win for a hope at a playoff spot, Sturgis should have ample opportunity to get his kicks.

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 @TEN 0000023020 ***
The Texans have given up multiple touchdown tosses in four straight and seven of eight. Fitz hasn't been nearly that consistent, but for the most part he's capitalized on softer matchups and this is definitely one of those opportunities.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Case Keenum, HOU @TEN 0000010001 *
Matt Schaub is one of only three quarterbacks to take the Titans for multiple touchdown tosses this season; he turned the trip as part of a 298 & 3 outing back in Week 2. That's also the second-most passing yardage allowed by the Titans this season. So of course the Texans will turn the reins over to Keenum this week, facing a Titans defense that's allowed three passing scores in Tennessee all season. Good luck with all that. UPDATE: Keenum is officially a game-time decision; fantasy owners should be able to make their call well in advance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Grimes, HOU @TEN 6011100000 **
Opposing backs kill the Titans, but... Jonathan Grimes? The guy who played Uncle Rico, had a role in the vastly underappreciated Billy Crystal/Gregory Hines flick "Running Scared"? No, wait, that's Jonathan Gries. Evidently this guy is a four-year starter from William & Mary with good vision who went undrafted in 2012, then spent time with the Texans, Jets, Texans (again), Jaguars, and after being cut in August returning to Houston last week. Seriously, with the Titans giving up so much on the ground Grimes could be a factor in fantasy leagues decided in Week 17.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU @TEN 004600000 **
Johnson has been heavily targeted the past three weeks--44 looks, compared to 34 for all the other wideouts on the Houston roster. So even though he'll be tangling with Alterraun Verner--who held AJ to 8-76 in the earlier meeting--he's still the Texans' best bet for passing game fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @TEN 003400000 ***
Hopkins went big on the Titans back in Week 2 while Alterraun Verner was tied up with Andre Johnson. However, he hasn't done much since, making it tough to bank on him for fantasy productivity here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ryan Griffin, HOU @TEN 005501000 **
The Titans have allowed three TE TDs in the past three games, and they gave up two touchdowns to Texans tight ends in the earlier meeting. Griffin has back-to-back 60-yard games; seems like he's in an ideal spot to capitalize on the opportunity.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU @TEN 1111 ***
Tennessee has given up the fourth-most points to kickers, but only two to Bullock when they crossed paths back in Week 2. Not much upside to Bullock here.

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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