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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey

The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket

Thursday
Sunday
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updated

Prediction: MIA 7, WAS 20

Here's a bit of a coin flip game between a team that never seems to reach their potential (WAS) going against a team that is undergoing so much change that even the players are not sure what is going on (MIA). Played in Washington has to favor the Redskins who bring the same offense from last year and with the same players as well. In Miami change abounds, even if it seems only for the sake of change.This all smacks of one of the lowest scoring games of the weekend.

Miami Dolphins (6-10)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @WAS   +3 35
2 DAL 16-Sep SUN 4:05 PM
3 @NYJ 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 OAK 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 @HOU 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @CLE 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 NE 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 NYG 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 BYE - - -
10 BUF 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @PHI 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @PIT 26-Nov MON 8:30 PM
13 NYJ 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @BUF 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 BAL 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @NE 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 CIN 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
MIA at WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Green     190
RB Ronnie Brown 60,1 10  
RB Jesse Chatman 30    
RB Lorenzo Booker 10 30  
TE David Martin   30  
WR Chris Chambers   50  
WR Marty Booker   40  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   20  
PK Jay Feeley 1 XP   1 Pt
Pregame Notes: The Dolphins have been de-Sabanized now and HC Cam Cameron comes over from the Chargers where he looked great using the best running back and tight end in the NFL and going through two of the most highly regarded quarterbacks in two different drafts. That doesn't exist in Miami. Cameron opted to bring in aging veteran Trent Green who is one rap on the helmet from retirement and reinvigorating the rushing game with an unproductive tailback who ate himself out of the league for a year and now, amazingly, could become a starter. Cameron also considered trading away Chris Chambers to remove any pesky productive receivers. The team also used their valuable 1.09 pick on a punt returner. Oh yeah, this should be interesting if nothing else.

Quarterback: The 37-year old Trent Green leads this team after only playing eight games last year after being obliterated on a week one tackle and incurring a major concussion. Green never got into the swing of the new KC offense and only managed to turn in 1342 yards and seven scores over the final seven games. He's nothing more than a placeholder now for the rookie John Beck next year but should stick with it this season unless he gets blasted again.

Running Backs: It would be a natural conclusion to expect that the same coach that brought LaDainian Tomlinson into being the all-time single season scorer would have a positive effect on the rushing attack here. The Fins already had Ronnie Brown waiting from someone to show up and take him to the next level but Brown was overweight last spring and incurred the wrath of Cameron (which ends up not a good thing) and now must wait to hear who the starter will be in Miami.

That would be reasonable enough if another hot rookie or free agent was there but instead it is Jesse Chatman from San Diego who was out of football last year and even when he was in the league, he only had a total of 428 rushing yards over a five year period. While Cameron has made some surprising decisions, this one may be the biggest. Lorenzo Booker was drafted with the Fins 3.07 pick and while a little under-sized, he looks like a credible third down back or more. And yet for the trio of candidates, Cameron has never been one to have a split backfield. Game one will be critical here to see exactly what Cameron intends on doing because he is also the offensive coordinator and play caller. And so far, even then it may not be a reliable predictor of the future.

Wide Receivers: The Dolphins used their valuable 1.09 pick on Ted Ginn Jr. out of Ohio State who is a playmaker supreme at the college level and hopefully will become the next Devin Hester to turn punts into scores. But there are questions if Ginn can defeat NFL-quality bumps and jams as a receiver. Early word has Ginn looking like he can contribute as a receiver this year as well but the proof will come on the field. Chris Chambers was shopped briefly for a trade but remains with the team as another fantasy star scratching his head at what is going on in Miami. Marty Booker remains happy because he still has a job as the mediocre #2 in the offense.

Tight Ends: While Cameron obviously had huge success with Antonio Gates, the Fins released Randy McMichael and obtained David Martin from the Packers. Martin's worth watching this year since Cameron has a history with tight ends but Martin would be well exceeding expectations to become a top ten tight end this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Redskins are one of those teams that is usually stocked with what appears to be individual talent but that never comes together to be even as much as the sum of the parts seem to suggest. Adding London Fletcher-Baker should help and LaRon Landry could become a great safety earlier than later but until the defense shows up enough to warrant even an average ranking, this is a spot of weakness on the team.

Given the question marks at running back this week, only moderate numbers can be expected here against a team that typically plays much better at home. Look for decent numbers in total from the running game and one rushing score that most likely goes to Brown.

The new passing attack should be hard to get on track against the Redskins and Chambers draws CB Shawn Springs who should keep him to just average numbers. This is an all new offense they are still learning and the roles are obviously not in cement yet, so do not rely on any player here if you can. Chambers at best may be moderate, but there is huge risk expecting any one else to do much.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 22 28 16 12 23 10
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 23 23 26 24 27 3
rankings reflect as of week 17, 2006

 

Washington Redskins (5-11)
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 MIA   -3 35
2 @PHI 17-Sep MON 8:30 PM
3 NYG 23-Sep SUN 4:15 PM
4 BYE - - -
5 DET 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @GB 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 ARI 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 @NE 28-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
9 @NYJ 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 PHI 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @DAL 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @TB 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 BUF 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 CHI 6-Dec THU 8:15 PM
15 @NYG 16-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
16 @MIN 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 DAL 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
WAS vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell 20   200,2
RB Clinton Portis 70 20  
RB LaDell Betts 30 10  
TE Chris Cooley   60,1  
WR Santana Moss   40  
WR Antwaan Randle El   40,1  
WR Brandon Lloyd   20  
PK Shaun Suisham 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: Yet again, the Redskins start another year hoping that HC Joe Gibbs can rekindle yesteryear and knowing that not that much has changed to make it happen. Clinton Portis is talking about being on another team next year but not his balky knee. Jason Campbell is a rising star but so far Santana Moss is the only wideout to matter on this team. Installing the KC-style offense last year is supposed to come to fruition in 2007 but seems every year the Redskins fans have more to look forward to than to look backwards at. But - the offense is in a position for a step up with Campbell.

Quarterback: Jason Campbell took the final seven starts of last year and he still has yet to not throw at least one touchdown in every game. He has never had more than two, but in his first starts he totaled ten scores against only six interceptions. Campbell should be better this year and could end up as a surprise if anyone besides Moss or Chris Cooley contributes to the passing game.

Running Backs: Here's a source of either great joy or sorrow because this offense should produce via the run this year but exactly who does what remains to be seen. Clinton Portis missed much of the preseason with patella tendinitis which caused pain in his knee. But he has returned to practice and is slated to be the starter this week with supposedly no real limitation other than LaDell Betts. When Portis was injured in 2006, Betts stepped up nicely in the offense and gained an impressive 1154 rushing yards. He even had a string of five straight weeks with over 100 yards that extended throughout the fantasy playoff weeks.

So the questions that should be answered this week is how healthy Portis really is and if Betts will receive significant playing time in a split backfield or just return to being the relief guy/ What won't be answered is how long Portis remains healthy. There could be some serious fantasy value in this backfield but who and how much could change as the season unfolds. I am projecting for a largely unlimited Portis to start with only relief from Betts.

Wide Receivers: Santana Moss was the only wideout with fantasy value last year and if Jason Campbell can at least make Antwaan Randle El or Brandon Lloyd someone the secondary has to consider, then this unit and the whole offense will operate at a new level. It was encouraging that when Campbell played last year, Moss had three of his four games with scores. But Moss also had five of the seven match-ups produce less than 40 yards. Antwaan Randle El has moved to the #2 spot and Lloyd plays #3 but Campbell must do something with them. The passing game cannot continue to be Cooley short and Moss on a bomb.

Tight Ends: Chris Cooley has been very consistent each of his three years by scoring six or seven times each season. He ended with 734 yards on 57 catches last year and that mirrored his 2005 campaign. With the offense expected to turn it up a notch this year, Cooley is likely to see an increase and could become a sleeper of sorts since Campbell was relying on him heavily in the final games of last year.

Match Against the Defense: The Dolphins defense has been their saving grace in the last few years and it could be better this season with Joey Porter added. Since Portis is potentially limited at least a little by his knee and the specter of Betts causes more risk, don't expect more than moderate numbers here this week. A healthy Portis playing the heavy use primary role here could have a nice game but that all remains to be seen.

The Dolphins are weaker against the pass than the run and Campbell is due to show he is improved this year. No reason to expect him to break his scoring streak this week at home with months to prepare. I like Cooley to snare one touchdown and another to go to Randle El while the secondary still focuses heavily on Moss.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 28 12 25 9 27 32
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 13 4 9 26 8 11

 

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