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 SD 50000024011 ***
Tannehill has multiple TD tosses in three of his last four, including his last two at home. The Chargers are certainly softer on the road, surrendering multiple scoring strikes in three of four away from home. It all makes Tannehill at least worthy of consideration in a six-team bye week, though there's a cap to his upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, MIA SD 6013300000 ****
Over the past three games the Chargers have allowed three 80-yard rushers and four RB TDs. With no one challenging Miller for carries, he should at least threaten both of those opportunities and kick in another 20-plus receiving yards as well--more than enough to make him fantasy-relevant this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, MIA SD 005801000 **
Over the past three weeks the Chargers have allowed seven WR TDs and three 100-yard receivers; as the most targeted Dolphin Wallace is far and away the front runner for both of those marks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA SD 004500000 ***
Landry has bumped ahead of Brian Hartline in the Miami passing game pecking order, and with San Diego's pass D softening as of late he's at least worthy of fringe fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, MIA SD 003300000 ***
Not only is this a tough matchup with a San Diego defense that's allowed only one TE TD all year, Clay is battling Dion Sims on his own roster for TE looks in the Miami passing game.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, MIA SD 2222 ****
Sturgis has flirted with double digits the past two weeks but hasn't actually hit that mark since Week 1. He's a decent option, but there appears to be a ceiling to his fantasy prospects.

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 PHI 0000025011 ***
Tempting to plug The Beard into fantasy lineups this week against a Philly D that's allowed multiple TD tosses in every game save for the shocking shutout of Eli Manning and the Giants in Week 6. But Fitz has just one multiple TD outing of his own in the past six games so he simply can't be banked on for true fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU PHI 11024300000 ***
Foster is working on a streak of four straight games with 100-plus rushing yards, with touchdowns in each of those games and multiple scores in three of the four. Fear Philly's run D if you'd like, if Frank Gore can bust off 119 yards and Benny Cunningham and Roy Helu can find the end zone you have to like Foster's chances for success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU PHI 006701000 ****
Hopkins has out-fantasy pointed Andre Johnson in seven of eight this year; we'd call that a trend. Philly allowed multiple 100-yard, TD-scoring receivers last week and has given up multiple TDs in two of the past three games so Hopkins can still be a fantasy helper even if he's relegated to WR2 looks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU PHI 007900000 ****
There's hope for Andre, who has been relegated--fantasy-wise, at least--to WR2 in Houston's passing attack. Last week Arizona dropped two 100-yard, TD-scoring receivers on the Eagles and two weeks before that the receiver-challenged Rams managed to get two of their own into the end zone. So maybe being WR2 isn't such a bad gig for Andre after all.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Garrett Graham, HOU PHI 002300000 ***
Remember when Houston used to be a great place to score some TE fantasy points? This year's version of the Texans have produced a total of 15.2 fantasy points out of the tight end position. That's an eight game total. Clearly you can do better elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU PHI 1133 ***
Feast or famine with Bullock: four games of five or fewer points, four games of 11 or more. He's been more feast mode of late--three of the past four games, to be precise--so you may as well stick with him 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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