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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 3
2011
ARI at SEA * DET at MIN * KC at SD NYJ at OAK
* ATL at TB GB at CHI MIA at CLE * PIT at IND
* BAL at STL * HOU at NO NE at BUF * SF at CIN
* UPDATED DEN at TEN JAC at CAR * NYG at PHI * WAS at DAL (mon)

Prediction: MIA 20, CLE 16

Players to Watch: Daniel Thomas

Update: Peyton Hillis was ill and missed practice on Friday leading to his "questionable" tag on the injury report but HC Pat Shumur said he expects Hillis to be fine for the game. No changes to the projections but bears checking the inactives on Sunday to make sure there are no surprises.

The Dolphins are 0-2 after two home games but NE and HOU are both contenders. The Browns are 1-1 thanks to the Colts demise but lost at home in the opener to the Bengals. I like the upset here with the Fins who were 6-2 on the road last year and the Browns are not rushing the ball well.

The Dolphins lost 10-13 when the Browns visited Miami last year.

Miami Dolphins
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE 24-38 10 WAS -
2 HOU 13-23 11 BUF -
3 @CLE - 12 @DAL -
4 @SD - 13 OAK -
5 Bye - 14 PHI -
6 @NYJ - 15 @BUF -
7 DEN - 16 @NE -
8 @NYG - 17 NYJ -
9 @KC -      
Dolphins Report | Statistics | Roster
MIAMI at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Henne - - 210,1
RB Reggie Bush 30 30 -
RB Daniel Thomas 90,1 10 -
TE Anthony Fasano - 30,1 -
WR Brandon Marshall - 70 -
WR Brian Hartline - 30 -
WR Davone Bess - 40 -
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Fins opened the season on a tough note and it is not going to get any better for a while. It only took one week for someone to come running into the coaching office asking "did we really think this whole Reggie Bush is a fulltime back thing through?" The rookie runner was generally impressive last week and that will help add some balance to the offense and allow Bush to fall back to the third down role where he actually is deadly.

QUARTERBACK: Chad Henne opened with a big game against the Patriots but last week fell back to only 170 yards and one score on the Texans in part because of the rushing which led to 19 fewer passes being thrown. This week he faces a Browns squad that has allowed around 200 pass yards per opponent with one or two scores because they give up nicer yardage on the ground. Most likely Henne will have just an average game here and not be in a mad dash to throw every down like against the Patriots.

Henne passed for 174 yards and one score on the Browns last year.

RUNNING BACKS: The intention had been to use a 70/30 split in the backfield between Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas but in his first playing time, Thomas had the better showing. Bush was held to only 18 yards on six carries while Thomas rolled up 107 yards on 18 runs that should ensure that he takes the first and second down workload. It was encouraging to see Thomas run as hard since he had negative reports throughout training camp but when it mattered the most, he did deliver. Bush now reverts to being the change of pace for Thomas and being the receiver in the backfield.

The Fins rushed for 98 yards on 26 carries against the Browns last year.

The Browns have allowed 25 carries to each opponent so far with over 110 yards for each and one touchdown. This could be a decent game for Thomas though playing on the road should temper that at least a bit downward.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This is quietly a pretty good trio of wideouts though Brian Hartline is definitely the #3 and Davone Bess is not above having the odd low game like las week when he only caught two passes for 42 yards. Brandon Marshall got his first score of the year on Sunday when he caught six passes for 79 yards and one touchdown.

Bess was the only wideout with any success on the Browns last year and that was just six catches for 67 yards. Marshall is a must start each week and should have a decent game here but the Browns secondary has not allowed more than 68 yards to any wideout so far.

TIGHT ENDS: After opening the year with 82 yards on five catches, Anthony Fasano did not manage any receptions last week and was targeted only twice. Fasano has a chance for a better than usual game here against the weakness of the Browns defense. Both Jermaine Gresham and Dallas Clark recorded scores on the Browns.

Fasano scored once on his four catches for 41 yards versus the Browns last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 6 25 12 21 24 28
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 4 17 4 25 31 5


Cleveland Browns
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 17-27 10 STL -
2 @IND 27-19 11 JAC -
3 MIA - 12 @CIN -
4 TEN - 13 BAL -
5 Bye - 14 @PIT -
6 @OAK - 15 @ARI -
7 SEA - 16 @BAL -
8 @SF - 17 PIT -
9 @HOU -      
Browns Report | Statistics | Roster
CLEVELAND vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Colt McCoy 10 - 200,1
RB Peyton Hillis 70 40 -
TE Ben Watson - 30,1 -
TE Evan Moore - 30 -
WR Mohamed Massaquoi - 40 -
WR Josh Cribbs - 40 -
WR Jordan Norwood - 20 -
PK Phil Dawson 3 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Browns won in Indy and return looking for their first home win. Colt McCoy still looks mostly average and the rushing game has been less than stellar though it did score twice last week in the Colts beatdown. The Browns only have two more games before reaching their bye and have two more home games. The schedule toughens up after that and then ends on a horrific note in the final weeks when the last five games include playing both PIT and BAL twice. That is no way to end a long year.

QUARTERBACK: Colt McCoy is still more game manager than anything and has posted games of 213 and 211 passing yards - the definition of average. His biggest problem so far is a set of wideouts that he has yet to really connect with and instead has relied on backs and tight ends. That's good enough in a few games but is a sign that McCoy - or at least the play calling - needs to develop more.

Jake Delhomme passed for 217 yards and one score in Miami last year.

The Fins have given up a lot of passing so far but McCoy is not Matt Schaub and certainly not Tom Brady.

RUNNING BACKS: Fortunately Peyton Hillis has carried his fantasy weight so far and even had 117 yards and two scores last week in Indy. He totaled 87 yards against the Bengals. But as a rusher, he has 44 carries for 151 rushing yards for a 3.4 yard per carry average. And that was against notoriously bad rushing defenses. HC Pat Shumur said that Peyton needs more rest in games and will rely on Montario Hardesty when he does. Hillis i s already on a pace for 350 carries and 80 catches and that just will never happen. He was already slowing down in a bad way last year and that was just 270 carries.

Hillis gained 57 yards on 18 carries and caught seven passes for 22 yards in Miami last season.

The Fins have allowed only one rushing touchdown and should be able to matchup with Hillis who is not running all that greatly anyway.

WIDE RECEIVERS: There is no fantasy value in this unit. No touchdowns yet and only once did a player have more than 45 yards in a game. Mohamed Massaquoi is an option only in the biggest of fantasy leagues using four wideouts per team. This once again is one of the worst sets of wide receivers in the NFL.

Massaquoi ended with 81 yards on four catches in Miami a year ago.

TIGHT ENDS: The only receivers in this offense beyond Hillis are the tight ends who have accounted for every receiving touchdown this year (3). But even that is split in two between Ben Watson and Evan Moore so you cannot rely on either and they never get many yards. So far - an exact split of work with Moore having two scores to Watson's one.

Watson scored once on his ten catches for 100 yards on the Fins last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 24 17 28 3 20 23
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 30 15 30 32 25 16

WEEK 3
2011
ARI at SEA DET at MIN KC at SD NYJ at OAK
ATL at TB GB at CHI MIA at CLE PIT at IND
BAL at STL HOU at NO NE at BUF SF at CIN
  DEN at TEN JAC at CAR NYG at PHI WAS at DAL (mon)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t