fantasy football     JOIN THE HUDDLE    


Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 16, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
DET at DAL NO at NE Sun 4 PM PIT at BAL* MIN at GB*
IND at CIN OAK at WAS SEA at SF* Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Miami 13, Cleveland 16

Two of the "new" franchises meet up this week but the Dolphins are only 1-3 on the road this year with only one win against New Orleans. Both teams were struggling last year when the Dolphins beat the Browns 10-7 in Miami during week 16 of 2004. Back in Cleveland this week, time to return the favor.

Miami Dolphins (3-6)
1 34-10 DEN 10 16-23 NE
2 7-17 @NYJ 11 Nov 20 @CLE
3 27-24 CAR 12 Nov 27 @OAK
4 Open Bye 13 Dec 4 BUF
5 14-20 @BUF 14 Dec 11 @SDC
6 13-27 @TBB 15 Dec 18 NYJ
7 20-30 KCC 16 Dec 24 TEN
8 21-6 @NOR 17 Jan 1 @NE
9 10-17 ATL . . SAT
MIA at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Sage Rosenfels 0 0 200,1
RB Ronnie Brown 70 20 0
RB Ricky Williams 30 10 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 40 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 60,1 0
WR Marty Booker 0 40 0
WR Wes Welker 0 20 0
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Dolphins have only the one win over the Saints to prevent them from having lost their last six games and this week the offense could be without Gus Frerotte. They weren't passing well with him and won't improve without him. This game starts a stretch of three road games in the next four weeks and that is no way to dream of getting to .500 on the season.

Quarterback: Gus Frerotte injured his finger last week and appears likely to miss this game. Frerotte had been terrible for the month previous to playing the Patriots but exploited their decimated secondary for 360 yards and two scores - more touchdowns than he had in the four previous games combined. With Sage Rosenfels likely to start, the passing game is more likely to remain stuck in neutral.

Running Backs: The Dolphins continue to platoon Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown into games despite the fact that Brown is running better. He had 14 carries for 64 yards against the Patriots and yet Williams was still given 11 carries that only covered 13 yards. The previous week had Williams and Brown more equal but overall, Brown has clearly been the better runner and yet the two-pronged attack is used to the detriment of the offense. And to more than a few fantasy teams as well.

Wide Receivers: The passing numbers last week were astronomic compared to any other game this year. Marty Booker (5-102) normally has about 30 yards in a game. Chris Chambers (6-69, 2 TD) only has three other touchdowns on the season. The match-up with the Patriots has been a great one for offenses to face this year but now with Frerotte ailing and the Dolphins on the road, the numbers from last week will just be a happy memory.

Chambers only had three catches for 25 yards against the Browns last year.

Tight Ends: After settling down to around 25 yards a game for the last month, Randy McMichael also enjoyed the passing success last week and had 81 yards on seven catches. Exit Frerotte and the Patriots secondary stage right.

McMichael had nine catches for 59 yards against the Browns last season.

Match Against the Defense: The Cleveland rush defense has been average at best this year and has allowed six different runners to exceed 90 yards this year already. The Dolphins should have some success running the ball here but the splitting of duties between Brown and Williams only serves to reduce what either could have done - especially Brown. Look for a moderate game here thanks to the sharing scheme with a chance of one score but no more.

The passing game with Frerotte would have been only moderately successful in Cleveland this week and with Rosenfels likely less. The Browns at home allowed a big game to Palmer in week one but has kept opponents to only one passing score in Cleveland if that this season. Look for a about a 200 yard effort and one score - anything more would be a surprise.

Cleveland Browns (3-6)
1 13-27 CIN 10 21-34 @PIT
2 26-24 @GBP 11 Nov 20 MIA
3 6-13 @IND 12 Nov 27 @MIN
4 Open Bye 13 Dec 4 JAC
5 20-10 CHI 14 Dec 11 @CIN
6 3-16 @BAL 15 Dec 18 @OAK
7 10-13 DET 16 Dec 24 PIT
8 16-19 @HOU 17 Jan 1 BAL
9 20-14 TEN . . SAT
CLE vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Dilfer 0 0 200,1
RB Reuben Droughns 80 40 0
TE Steve Heiden 0 10 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 80,1 0
WR Braylon Edwards 0 40 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 30 0
PK Phil Dawson 3 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Browns come off a spanking by the Steelers and they've only won one of their last five games. But the offense has picked up the pace lately with 41 points over the last two weeks and the passing game in particular has done more. Back at home this week, the Browns get their last homestand with promise before hitting the road in three of the next four weeks with only a home game against the Jaguars.

Quarterback: While fans have been crying to see Charlie Frye, HC Romeo Crennel is standing pat with Trent DIlfer for now and why not? Dilfer has thrown for about 260 yards and a score in each of the last two games and clearly gives the team the better chance to win. There's still time left for the season to be called over and for Frye to get some reps, but for at least this week the Browns can compete best with Dilfer.

Running Backs: Reuben Droughns only ran for 56 yards on 17 carries last week but added 67 more on four receptions and scored his first touchdown of the year. Droughns has been very effective the last month in both running and receiving and remains the only consistent aspect of the offense. He had gained 99 rushing yards or more in the three previous match-ups.

Lee Suggs ran for 143 yards against the Dolphins last year.

Wide Receivers: Dilfer has been showing nice chemistry lately with Antonio Bryant who has been over about 80 yards every game for the last three weeks and turned in one score against the Steelers last Sunday. Braylon Edwards is getting plenty of passes lately but has not been able to catch many of them. He had 64 yards on only two catches last week and just one catch for two yards in the previous game. Dennis Northcutt came to life in week nine when he had 80 yards and a score but only managed 31 yards last week as he returns to his hole.

Antonio Bryant only had two catches for 15 yards against Miami in 2004 but Northcutt turned in 114 yards and one score.

Tight Ends: One catch for no yards last week and that's not all that low for this group.

Match Against the Defense: The run defense by the Dolphins has not been nearly as good this year and they've already allowed six rushing scores and five runners to end around 90 yards or better. Expect that Droughns doesn't score here but he should manage moderate success rushing and with receptions could have a good game.

Dilfer faces a secondary that oddly gets better on the road than when at home. The Dolphins have only allowed four passing scores in the four away games this year and no opposing quarterback has thrown for more than 190 yards. This won't be a big game by Dilfer with that secondary but he should manage one score that will go to Bryant. Of the seven wideout scores allowed by the Dolphins this year, every one of them went to the primary wideout of the opponent.