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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 4
September 29, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM
NE at BUF IND at JAX NO at ARZ* TEN at SD* KC at BAL
PHI at CHI OAK at HOU* ATL at CAR* Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
NYG at GB CIN at PIT NYJ at MIA* STL at SF* DAL, DET
WAS at CLE* Times ET DEN at TB *updated MIN, SEA
  NY Jets Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington 0 0 260,2
RB Curtis Martin 90,1 20 0
TE Chris Baker 0 20,1 0
WR Jonathan Carter 0 60 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 50 0
WR Santana Moss 0 90,1 0
PK Doug Brien 2 FG 3 XP -
Miami Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Fiedler 0 0 170,1
RB Leonard Henry 40 10 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 60,1 0
WR Chris Chambers Q Q Q
WR Derrius Thompson 0 40 0
WR Marty Booker 0 50 0
PK Olindo Mare 1 FG 1 XP -

NYJ (2-0) vs MIA (0-3)

Game Prediction: NYJ 27, MIA 10

Here are two long-time adversaries hitting entirely different points in their lifecycles. The Jets have not scored less than 31 points this year and the Dolphins have topped out at 13 points. That's an ironic inverse in scoring.

Pre-Game Notes - NYJ

The Jets are 2-0? Curtis Martin is a stud again? Here's a newsflash for you - their upcoming games include this one, homestands against BUF and SF, and then at New England for week seven where they could already be 5-0 on the season.

The Jets come off their bye week without a loss yet. That's news enough.

Quarterback: Starting what is hopefully his first full 16 game season, Chad Pennington has delivered the goods for fantasy owners with two games over 220 yards passing and two scores in each without an interception yet this season. Granted, he only faced CIN and SD but those numbers were good considering Curtis Martin was running like a High School track star in both.

Running Backs: After two weeks of playing, Curtis Martin has totaled 347 yards and four touchdowns. Not bad for a guy who likely went in the third round this summer. That's more yardage than he had by week six of last year and twice the touchdowns he had in all of 2003. They can't all be the CIN or SD defense, but thank goodness the first two were.

Wide Receivers: The passing game has not been called on too much yet this year and so far the best single game performance has been Santana Moss against SD with 97 yards on four catches. New guy Justin McCareins has not yet had a big game, topping out at five catches for 66 yards but the first two weeks are no measuring stick for any of the wideouts. Thanks to Martin, the Jets have two 30+ point wins without resorting to throwing downfield much this year.

The Dolphins normally play the wideouts tough with Surtain and Madison on the corners and the Jet wide receivers never scored against them in two games last season. Most passing success has gone to the running backs or tight ends which is what has already happened so far this season.

Tight Ends: Chris Baker had a score in the last game but he only has four catches on the year so far. He's displaced Anthony Becht as the primary receiving tight end which is evident enough that Becht has not caught either of the two passes he's been thrown this season.

Match Against the Defense: Curtis Martin typically does not have big games against the Dolphins and particularly in Miami. He still stands a good chance of scoring once as he did last year and he'll still turn in a moderate game since the Fins are not likely to roll up a big lead and force the Jets to pass more than usual.

Look for a moderate game from Pennington and a fairly short passing scheme that should favor backs and tight ends more than the wideouts. Jonathan Carter could again have a decent shot at a nice catch since the corners typically limit the flanker and split end. This should be a lower scoring game for the Jets who were swept by Miami last year.

Pre-Game Notes - MIA

Changing running backs and quarterbacks again. Three home games in the first four weeks should have produced more than a likely 0-4 record because the schedule only gets tougher from here on out.

Quarterback: After three weeks, the Dolphins are now switching back to Jay Fiedler after deciding that A.J. Feeley was not good enough. That followed Feeley having replaced Fiedler after a bad week one. And... and... THE MUSIC STOPS! Chairs everyone.

This pattern is almost certainly not over. Coaches have to keep looking like they are trying new things to win even if it is merely recycling old things again. So far the Miami quarterbacks are scoring touchdowns at a 1:7 ratio with turnovers.

Running Backs: As if the poor blocking and passing wasn't bad enough, the Dolphins one attempt at upgrading their non-existent rushing attack by bringing in Lamar Gordon only lasted for three weeks and 64 yards on 35 carries. Gordon dislocated his left shoulder and will need surgery and is already on injured reserve. Leonard Henry will take the rushing lead now. His 41 yards last week was the season high for the Dolphins.

Wide Receivers: Chris Chambers has one touchdown this year and it was a pretty key one - in fact, it is the only one scored by the Miami wideouts so far this year. His final game last year was against these same Jets and he had 153 yards and a score. That seems so very long ago now.

The switch back to Fiedler won't affect Chambers much and might actually decrease his numbers since he was better at spreading the ball around than Feeley was.

Update: Chambers has a sore knee that has kept him out of practice and he is questionable to play. While he has not been ruled out officially, I am dropping him from the projections since the Dolphins have yet to disclose exactly what his knee ailment is and what the prognosis on it is.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael had his best game in week one with Fiedler there when he scored once and had eight catches for 79 yards. Given that tight ends have lower expectations, he's the only player on the entire offense that seems safe to start on a fantasy team.

Match Against the Defense: The Jets rush defense has improved from last year already, holding Tomlinson to 87 yards and Rudi Johnson to only 70 yards. Both scored but both are significantly better than Leonard Henry. Expect little from Henry this week and the Dolphins to need to throw to stay in the game.

As mentioned, McMichael is the only truly safe start but Chambers still gets about six catches a game so he's worth maybe a #3 spot on a fantasy roster. While it seems it has to get better for this team, the reality is that it really doesn't have to get any better.

NYJ MIA 2003 Averages MIA NYJ
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
241
128
Pass yards
188
236
2.0
0.7
Pass TDs
0.7
1.5
0.0
0.7
Interceptions
2.3
1.5
-2
4
Rush yards
1
12
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.5
---
---
RB's
---
---
168
132
Rush yards
44
96
1.5
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
1.0
59
5
Receive yards
35
54
1.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.5
---
---
WR's
---
---
170
113
Receive yards
74
161
0.5
0.3
Receive TD's
0.3
1.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
12
10
Receive yards
80
21
0.5
0.3
Receive TD's
0.3
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.5
2.0
Field Goals
1.0
0.5
4.0
1.3
Extra Points
0.7
3.5
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.5
1.0
Fumbles
0.3
0.5
1.5
2.3
Interceptions
0.7
0.0
0.5
0.7
Touchdowns
0.0
0.5
1.0
2.7
Sacks
2.7
0.5
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Jets (2-0)
Score Opp.
31-24 CIN
34-28 @SD
Week 3 bye
Week 4 @MIA
Week 5 BUF
Week 6 SF
Week 7 @NE
Week 8 MIA
Week 9 @BUF
Week 10 BAL
Week 11 @CLE
Week 12 @ARI
Week 13 HOU
Week 14 @PIT
Week 15 SEA
Week 16 NE
Week 17 @STL
Dolphins (0-3)
Score Opp.
7-17 TEN
13-16 @CIN
3-13 PIT
Week 4 NYJ
Week 5 @NE
Week 6 @BUF
Week 7 STL
Week 8 @NYJ
Week 9 ARI
Week 10 bye
Week 11 @SEA
Week 12 @SF
Week 13 BUF
Week 14 @DEN
Week 15 NE
Week 16 CLE
Week 17 @BAL