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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Predictions Summary »  Player Rankings (Projections) »  myHuddle Projections by Team »  Projections Summary by Team »

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

Prediction: MIA 13, CLE 17 (Line: Pick 'em)

Players of Interest: Mike Wallace, Lamar Miller, Jordan Cameron

The Dolphins finished 7-9 last year with a 2-6 road mark. The Browns were only 5-11 but had a 4-4 standing when at home. The Dolphins come in with a very good defense but an offense that still needs improvement. The Browns are at home and installing a new offense by Norv Turner. This is a coin flip game and usually the best defense wins but the Fins have a lesser offense and have not been a good road team.

1 @CLE - 10 @TB -
2 @IND - 11 SD -
3 ATL - 12 CAR -
4 @NO - 13 @NYJ -
5 BAL - 14 @PIT -
6 BYE WEEK 15 NE -
7 BUF - 16 @BUF -
8 @NE - 17 NYJ -
9 CIN - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIA @ CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Tannehill 190,1
RB Lamar Miller 70 2-10
RB Knowshon Moreno 40 2-10
WR Brandon Gibson 2-20
WR Brian Hartline 5-70,1
WR Mike Wallace 4-60
PK Caleb Sturgis 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Fins are in year two of a rebuild under HC Joe Philbin and the defense is much improved. But the offense remains sub-average and the loss of Reggie Bush was just backfilled with Lamar Miller. Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson were brought in to upgrade the passing attack but that only goes as far as Ryan Tannehill can bring them. The opening stretch to the week six bye is pretty tough but will be a good measure of how much the offense will improve.

QUARTERBACKS: It was only his rookie season but Ryan Tannehill was playing under the same offensive coordinator that was his head coach at Texas A&M. He only passed for 3294 yards and 12 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. OC Mike Sherman said last summer that this offense did not need a star receiver and they released Brandon Marshall. Ends up that maybe they needed a star more than they realized. Tannehill gets upgraded receivers but nothing as good as if they held onto Marshall last year.

Tannehill is getting hype about being better and it is his second year. But he was not that promising last year when he rarely topped 200 passing yards. His season ended better than it started though.

RUNNING BACKS: Reggie Bush left for Detroit and took with him the best part of the 2012 offense. Now Lamar Miller takes over and while he did sport a 4.9 YPC as a rookie, he was only allowed 51 carries and scored just once. He still is better than Daniel Thomas who has been given more than his share of opportunities but as good as Bush? Probably not. This offense likes to run and will use a committee of sorts in the backfield. That limits Miller who will quickly find out what the difference is when the defense has prepared to stop you specifically.

This is a run-first scheme and Miller gets a great opportunity this year. He just has to make it work.

WIDE RECEIVERS: They let Brandon Marshall leave last year and then struggled with a rookie quarterback. The solution was to spend $60 million on a five-year contract with Mike Wallace who had two good seasons with Ben Roethlisberger but then a down season in 2012. Brian Hartline remains as the leading receiver from last year when he caught 74 passes for 1083 yards but only scored once. Brandon Gibson comes over from the Rams to fill the #3 role but he has been stuck at sub-700 yard seasons despite being a starter in St. Louis.

Overall, this is upgraded from last year but will be limited by what Tannehill is able to do.

TIGHT ENDS: Losing Dustin Keller when he shredded his knee this summer puts a hole in the gameplan. He was to play a significant role but now Charles Clay starts the year but Michael Egnew has been improving and may factor in. Bottom line is that there is no fantasy value here. The addition of Wallace and Gibson should be enough to downplay the tight ends who only had 41 catches last year - all by Anthony Fasano.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Browns bring in a new defense under Ray Horton and shift to a 3-4 scheme. Joe Haden returns as one of the better cover corners in the league but otherwise this unit was lacking in 2012 and needs help. That all said, they are facing a bad offense of Miami that doesn't fare well on the road. Miller and Wallace are the only decent fantasy plays this week and even Wallace is a big unknown on a new team with Ryan Tannehill chunking the rock. The Fins could surprise here but it would be just that - a surprise. The Browns rank lowly on categories last year but only allowed three rushers to top 100 yards on them.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Lamar Miller needs to assert his starting role and going against the Browns needs to be at least a decent game. Mile Wallace needs to gel with Tannehill and there were questions as to how well that was going all summer. Week one will answer that question.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 28 4 31 31 28 26
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 22 25 29 6 9 16

 

1 MIA - 10 BYE WEEK
2 @BAL - 11 @CIN -
3 @MIN - 12 PIT -
4 CIN - 13 JAC -
5 BUF - 14 @NE -
6 DET - 15 CHI -
7 @GB - 16 @NYJ -
8 @KC - 17 @PIT -
9 BAL - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Ben Tate 50,1 3-20
WR Miles Austin 5-60,1
WR Nate Burleson 3-50
TE Jordan Cameron 5-50
PK Billy Cundiff 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: There is plenty of reasons for optimism in Cleveland with Rod Chudzinski taking over the head coach spot and Norv Turner returning to being the offensive coordinator that he has always been his best when doing. The offense here is the same people and that it not bad since Trent Richardson had a great rookie season and Josh Gordon proved a good supplemental pick at least when not suspended. The offense should take a step up this year to be sure - just a question how long that takes to happen.

QUARTERBACKS: The 29-year old rookie Brandon Weeden had a generally good year when he passed for 3385 yards and 14 scores on an offense that was struggling when he arrived. He gets a second season to prove himself and under Turner should prove to be a more than adequate quarterback. Of course most of Turner's quarterbacks were more NFL good than fantasy good but regardless, Weeden is expected to improve this year. It may only be incremental but it should be better regardless.

RUNNING BACKS: Trent Richardson is expected to improve as well under the tutelage of Turner who has always been good with running backs. Richardson gained 950 yards on 267 carries and scored 12 touchdowns last year. On a bad team, that was truly impressive and his top ten standing is not going to change anytime soon. He was also used for 51 receptions for 367 yards and that also should stay roughly the same under Turner. There is no clear cut backup to Richardson since Montario Hardesty landed on IR. Chris Ogbonnaya has moved to fullback but would likely become the primary should Richardson get injured. Bobby Rainey was just signed as well and would figure in.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Greg Little enters his third season but he's pretty much locked into being a 700 yard, three touchdown kind of receiver good enough to start and yet never make a difference. Josh Gordon had a surprisingly good rookie year when he turned 50 receptions for 805 yards into five scores. His stock was rising quickly but then he was suspended for the first two weeks and there are questions as to whether his maturity is going to be a problem as it has in college as well. He will be the #1 receiver here and a second-season with Weeden should be even better. The Browns also brought over Davone Bess from the Dolphins who will fill in for Gordon and then drop back to #3 when he returns.

This unit is going to remain just average unless Gordon keeps his head on straight and takes another big step.

TIGHT ENDS: Perhaps no one is as excited that Norv Turner is there than Jordan Cameron. Turner has always used tight ends extensively in all his offenses and made stars of the starter. Cameron enters his third season with only 26 receptions so far. How this plays out will be known starting this week. HC Chudzinski is also enamored with tight ends. This all bodes very well for the athletic Cameron who is built more like a receiver than a tight end (6-5, 245 lbs.).

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: First week out for both clubs and the Fins have little to use in preparations for the new offense. But Miami does have a solid unit that only allowed six rushing touchdowns until the final week of the season. Only two players ran for over 100 yards on them but this is on the road. Richardson is always a fantasy starter but only Cameron also holds appeal this week. It may still be early though to expect much from him in a new offense. Once Gordon returns, this looks better and expands but for the first week, only Richardson looks attractive.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: How well Weeden connects with Jordan Cameron will be a big clue as to how diversified the offense will become. If Cameron gets last than half a dozen targets, consider him to be a work in progress and a risky starter.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 29 20 24 16 18 17
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 16 7 22 14 20 18

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


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