FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

Prediction: MIA 13, ARI 27 (Line: ARI by 6)

Players to Watch: Ryan Williams

Player Updated: Reggie Bush, Beanie Wells, Ryan Williams

The 1-2 Dolphins are still struggling with their rookie quarterback still learning the ropes and the defense not quite good enough make up the difference. The 3-0 Cardinals are already one of the biggest surprises of the season having beaten the Seahawks, Patriots and Eagles. And doing it with a vastly underrated defense. Each week brings big upsets but this one seems far too unlikely to give the Fins a chance.

Miami Dolphins
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @HOU 10-30 10 TEN -----
2 OAK 35-13 11 @BUF -----
3 NYJ 20-23 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
MIA @ ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Tannehill 10 190,1
RB Lamar Miller 10 2-10
WR Brandon Gibson 3-40
WR Brian Hartline 5-40
WR Damian Williams 2-30

Pregame Notes: The offense is still trying to come together with Ryan Tannehill at the helm but he only has one passing touchdown on the season while hanging around 200 pass yards every week. To his credit, he has only thrown one interception in the last two games and been sacked just once as well. But the problem is that this offense requires a very capable quarterback that can use a multitude of average receivers. The Fins just are not there yet.

Reggie Bush has been the star of the offense but suffered a knee sprain last week. He has no structural damage and is even expected to practice this week and play. If Bush cannot go, the Fins rely on both Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller. Practice reports will clear up the status for Bush but it appears that he dodged a bullet and will return this week. Bush is averaging just over six yards per carry and his absence was one reason why the Jets beat them last week.

The receivers here about as productive as the ones in Jacksonville but without all that talent and potential. Brian Hartline has the sole decent game with 111 yards against the Raiders but there has only been one passing touchdown all year and that went to Anthony Fasano. Davone Bess offers moderate yardage at best and there are no other receivers of any consequence on the roster. The entirety of the passing game is throwing to Hartline, Bess and Reggie Bush with maybe one or two completions to Fasano.

The only fantasy value here is Reggie Bush. The only real weapon is Bush. He is probably already planning on his holdout next summer (pssst - Reggie. Talk to MJD first).

This week heading into Arizona is not going to be pretty. The Cardinals defense is playing at a high level and now are at home against the worst passing attack in the league. We can only hope that Bush survives the game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 32 3 31 27 29 22
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 7 4 10 7 21 9

  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 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.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 20-16 10 BYE -----
2 @NE 20-18 11 @ATL -----
3 PHI 27-6 12 STL -----
4 MIA ----- 13 @NYJ -----
5 @STL ----- 14 @SEA -----
6 BUF ----- 15 DET -----
7 @MIN ----- 16 CHI -----
8 SF ----- 17 @SF -----
9 @GB ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 270,2
WR Larry Fitzgerald 8-100,2
WR Michael Floyd 2-30

Pregame Notes: The offense may not be explosive quite yet but at 3-0 it does not need to be. The Cardinals defense has been dominating and Patrick Peterson is becoming the new Darrelle Revis (the one with intact ligaments before last week). This has become a dominating defense and that was against the Patriots in their stadium. The Eagles came down last week and was outscored by the Cardinals defense on one play.

Kevin Kolb is now 3-0 and John Skelton is going to have to wait because there is no chance the Cardinals upset an offense that is already working. Kolb has thrown a score in every game but only posts game manager sort of yardage. Then again - he still has not thrown an interception. He's not the fantasy darling we all want but he is a winning quarterback running the Cards well enough to be undefeated.

Beanie Wells left with a toe injury last week that is now thought to be a turf toe. That can can him out of games and linger for many weeks. The big news here though is that Ryan Williams had been marginal in sharing with Wells and alluded to his old patella injury as being on his mind and making him a little tentative. But once Wells last the Eagles game, Williams ripped off several nice runs and ended with 83 yards on 13 carries. In Arizona, that is equivalent to Jamaal Charles gaining 233 yards. Should Wells miss games or just play them even worse than he would anyway, the door may be opening for Williams to take charge. It won't take much to dislodge oft-injury Wells and Williams had the talent coming into the league.

Larry Fitzgerald finally showed up for 2012 when he gained 114 yards and a score on nine receptions against the Eagles. He is still the only real receiver for the Cards though Michael Floyd has his first NFL catch go for a touchdown last Sunday. It was his only catch this year.

A dominating defense, the promise of better rushing with Williams means Fitzgerald won't be all alone trying to win games. It also means defenses won't load up on him and only him. The Dolphins are bringing in a weaker offense that should be chewed up by the defensive effort. That means the Cardinals offense should remain in the drivers seat this week. I like a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 23 31 20 23 16 4
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 14 20 14 15 27 21

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Carson Palmer, ARI SF 0000026021 ****
Palmer's 298 & 2 in the earlier meeting was the fourth-biggest game the Niners have allowed to a quarterback. However, he's had just one TD toss in each of the past three games, with declining yardage totals so he's a risky fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI SF 4014300000 ****
Ellington scored in Arizona's earlier meeting with the Niners, but he's still playing second fiddle to Rashard Mendenhall in the touches category which makes him a risky play at best in this matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI SF 0051001000 ****
Glimmers of hope after Larry's tough game against Richard Sherman last week. For starters, Fitz scored as part of a 6-117-1 outing the last time he faced San Francisco. Factor in the Niners giving up touchdowns to WR1s in back-to-back games and Fitz is at least back on the fantasy radar here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI SF 005601000 ***
The Niners have allowed just three WR TDs in the past seven games, so while Floyd scored last week and scored in the earlier meeting with San Francisco he's still a risky fantasy play given that Larry Fitzgerald still sees most of the Cardinals' WR targets.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Ted Ginn, ARI SF 003500000 ***
Ginn is more of a deep threat and less likely to take over Steve Smith's role as the Panthers' go-to wideout should Smith sit this one out. That puts a limit on his upside this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Housler, ARI SF 003300000 ***
If Housler weren't battling Jake Ballard and Jim Dray for looks on his own team, we'd be more optimistic about him taking advantage of a San Francisco defense that's allowed TE TDs in three straight games and a total of 228 yards to the position in that span.

WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

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