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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday
Sunday Late
*updated

Prediction: NYJ 23, MIA 10

Update: Laveranues Coles is listed as questionable and he has been limited in all practices this week but is still expected to play. Coles was a constant resident on the injury report all last year since HC Eric Mangini is a disciple of Bill Belichick. Still should check the actives on Sunday just to make sure but his thigh is not expected to prevent him from playing this week.

This is the happy sort of game since some team has to win. The Jets only managed a 4-12 mark last year and half those wins were thanks to the Dolphins. The Fins only had one win all season and are now embarking on a major rebuilding. The Fins will be better this year, but it'll take more than one week to turn around the franchise.

The Jets swept the Fins in 2007, winning 31-28 at home and later 40-13 in Miami.

New York Jets (0-0)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @MIA - -3 36
2 NE - - -
3 @SD - - -
4 ARZ - - -
5 BYE - - -
6 CIN - - -
7 @OAK - - -
8 KC - - -
9 @BUF - - -
10 STL - - -
11 @NE - - -
12 @TEN - - -
13 DEN - - -
14 @SF - - -
15 BUF - - -
16 @SEA - - -
17 MIA - - -
NYJ at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre     230,1
RB Thomas Jones 90,1 20  
TE Chris Baker   20  
WR Laveranues Coles   60  
WR Jerricho Cotchery   80,1  
WR Brad Smith   20  
PK Mike Nugent 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Jets slogged through a hard schedule last year with almost no rushing game thanks in no small part to an offensive line that fell apart. But this year the line has been rebuilt and the schedule is far lighter. That means Thomas Jones should have a far easier time running the ball and oh yes, there is that change at quarterback to Brett Favre. He may not be the immediate savior that many want him to be but he'll certainly be no worse and probably much better than any quarterback for the Jets in many years. Favre brings the zing to the offense, but that improved offensive line and a better schedule may make more difference.

Quarterback: The new era - and perhaps just a one year one at that - begins with Brett Favre donning the Jets uniform and making fans swoon. The reality is that he has to learn a new playbook with new coaches and new players and this old dog has plenty of new tricks to learn. But he's just burying records now so every completion buys him a little more time before Peyton Manning takes them all away.

Both Pennington and Clemens had starts against the Dolphins last year but neither had more than 236 passing yards.

Running Backs: The addition of Thomas Jones never amounted to much in 2007. The Jets rushed in a team wide 15 touchdowns in 2006 but Jones only managed to knock in just one. His 1119 yards approached respectability but required 310 carries for a 3.6 yard per carry average. But - Jones had no help from an offensive line that was ravaged by injury and starting a rookie quarterback hardly gave defenses reasons to drop back. A new offensive line should let Jones run much more easily and a light schedule will make it a productive year.

Leon Washington was a factor last year but should get lesser play in 2008 unless Jones is injured or less productive for some unknown reason.

Jones enjoyed good games against the Fins last year. He rushed for 110 yards at home and then had 75 yards and a touchdown in Miami. Washington had his best showing of the year when he ran ten times for 68 yards and scored two touchdowns in the away game against the Fins.

Wide Receivers: The wideouts should be ecstatic to get Favre behind center since Chad Pennington was always knocked for having a weak arm. But Laveranues Coles took offense to having his buddy Pennington dumped for Favre. Oddly, the speedy Coles likely stands to get more benefit from playing with the gunslinger Favre than any other receiver. Jerricho Cotchery has already been connecting with Favre in the preseason and Coles will eventually get with the program. The specter of a passing game in New York is exciting and while the winds and weather are bad late in the season, at least Favre has historically been a cold weather quarterback.

No Jets wideout had more than 69 yards against the FIns in 2007. Coles had the lone receiving score by a wideout in the first matchup.

Tight Ends: Chris Baker was holding out for more money this year but his 41 catches for 409 yards and three scores were hardly awe-inspiring. He wisely backed off when the Jets snagged Dustin Keller as the premier tight end from this year's draft. Working with Favre should be a big benefit for Keller who could figure in this year. I am going to project for Baker to start with but keep an eye on Keller who was undrafted in many fantasy leagues.

Baker scored in the home meeting against the Fins but only had two catches for 10 yards in Miami.

Match Against the Defense: The Dolphins may know what is coming, but they'll be short a Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas this time. The Fins are in a major rebuild and while Bill Parcells will eventually get them back to respectability, he is no miracle worker. The Jets will want to start out with a bang and the Fins won't be able to stop them. Look for a good game from Jones with one score and for Favre to look good for his team mates.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 22 31 18 25 18 24
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 29 26 25 3 28 21
Rank Advantage (-31 to 31) NYJ 27 -5 7 -22 10 -3


Miami Dolphins (0-0)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ - +3 36
2 @ARZ - - -
3 @NE - - -
4 BYE - - -
5 SD - - -
6 @HOU - - -
7 BAL - - -
8 BUF - - -
9 @DEN - - -
10 SEA - - -
11 OAK - - -
12 NE - - -
13 @STL - - -
14 @BUF - - -
15 SF - - -
16 @KC - - -
17 @NYJ - - -
MIA vs NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington     170
RB Ronnie Brown 30    
RB Ricky Williams 80,1 10  
TE Anthony Fasano   20  
WR Derek Hagan   50  
WR Ernest Wilford   20  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   60  
PK Dan Carpenter 1 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: After winning only one game in 2007, it is almost impossible not see to dramatic improvement this year. The Fins are in a full rebuild mode on both sides of the ball and Parcells isn't afraid to take a step backwards if it gets the team two steps forward soon enough. The Fins have a light schedule this year like the rest of the AFC East but then again, the Fins count as maybe the easiest spot on anyone's schedule.

Quarterback: The good part of Chad Pennington joining the Dolphins is that it should prevent a weekly "pick a quarterback" in Miami. For a year of getting everything changed, Pennington should make a suitable veteran to direct the offense without the expectation that he will be the future of the franchise.

Running Backs: While Ronnie Brown was electric in Cam Cameron's offense last year, that scheme is gone and Brown is recuperating from a torn ACL. He has taken it easy this summer and will be used judiciously if needed. Ricky Williams not only has looked sharp, he'll open the year as the primary back and just signed a one-year extension. This will be a committee backfield that will favor Williams for how ever long it takes Brown to reach 100% again.

Wide Receivers: Ted Ginn Jr. wants to be the #1 wideout this year but what that takes might not be a lot. Ernest Wilford was brought over from Jacksonville as that lunch pail, good blocker that Parcells likes but he's not impressed and will see Derek Hagen take the start. This offense is not going to pass well even if it has to pass often. Stay away in week one and let the team start to gel before considering any of these players as fantasy starters.

Tight Ends: Not surprisingly, David Martin failed to become the next Antonio Gates last year and the Fins brought Anthony Fasano from the Cowboys over. Fasano never had a chance in Dallas with Jason Witten there but could find at least minor fantasy significance in Miami, at least until the wideout situation becomes consistently productive.

Match Against the Defense: Probably doesn't matter so much when the team went 1-15 last year and have changed up everything. Expect Ricky Williams to be the most productive runner and he should have some success here against an opponent that traditionally has been dinged by the run. No elements of the passing game should be considered here in opening week.

The most interesting fantasy item from this game will be the sharing ratio between Jones and Williams. There may not be a viable fantasy starter from Miami this year outside the running backs.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 19 16 28 23 29 26
Preventing Fantasy Points NYJ 4 29 5 14 23 26
Rank Advantage (-31 to 31) MIA -15 13 -23 -9 -6 0

The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday
Sunday Late

 

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Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
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