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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: MIA 10, ARI 27

The new Dolphins may be starting out the same way but at least the defense is better this year. The Cardinals return home after beating the 49ers and look to go 2-0 with what should be their softest match-up of the year.

Miami Dolphins (0-1)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ 14-20 +3 36
2 @ARZ - +7 38.5
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 at ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington     190,1
RB Ronnie Brown 30 20  
RB Ricky Williams 50 30  
TE Anthony Fasano   50,1  
WR Derek Hagan   20  
WR Greg Camarillo   20  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   30  
PK Dan Carpenter 1 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Dolphins had almost no rushing game last week but at least the addition of Chad Pennington has made them more competitive. That may not be enough to win games and so far has not even used the wide receivers but Pennington looks like an immediate upgrade to the team. The defense held their own against the Jets and the offense at least has a few weapons to use once the blocking improves.

Quarterback: The Dolphins did right in making Chad Pennington the starting quarterback and realistically there had to be some lingering revenge on his mind when he passed for 251 yards and two scores against his old team. That was, incidentally, better than Brett Favre had in the same game. The offensive line is not yet getting the push to help the rushing game so the Jets will rely on the pass this year whether they want to or not.

Running Backs: Ricky Williams was the primary last week but that only meant he had ten carries for 24 yards while Ronnie Brown rushed six times for 23 yards. Williams added four catches for 15 yards while Brown snagged three more for 28 yards but all combined there was not a fantasy relevant running back in Miami last week. In a points per reception league, Williams may have some minimal value but eventually Brown will cut into that. For the foreseeable future, this is not a backfield you want to rely on.

Wide Receivers: While Pennington threw for 251 yards last week, he only had six completions to the wide receivers. Tedd Ginn Jr. (2-17) and Derek Hagen (1-0) were starters with help from Greg Camarillo (3-37) and Davone Bess (1-8). 16 pass attempts to wideouts only resulted in six catches for 62 yards between four players,.

There is speculation that they will make Ernest Wilford active this week. It is not like he can be any worse and they did guarantee him $6 million when they signed him.

Tight Ends: It did not take long for Anthony Fasano to make noise as a starter. He led the team (easily) with eight catches for 84 yards and one score while fellow tight end David Martin turned in four catches for 53 yards and one score. Most of the passes and practically all the productive ones went to tight ends last week. This bears watching at least for Fasano who should be picked up in every league by this weekend.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals defense is much improved from past years and that will be a problem for this road game. Expect the sharing between Williams and Brown to make neither an attractive play this week in Arizona. Pennington gets a chance to use more than his tight ends but the Cards have historically not been good against them. Considering the options, Fasano is the favorite to score this week if in fact the Fins get a touchdown.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 7 26 27 1 30 16
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 4 24 6 15 21 11

Arizona Cardinals (1-0)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SF 23-13 -2.5 41.5
2 MIA - -7 38.5
3 @WAS - - -
4 @NYJ - - -
5 BUF - - -
6 DAL - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 @CAR - - -
9 @STL - - -
10 SF - - -
11 @SEA - - -
12 NYG - - -
13 @PHI - - -
14 STL - - -
15 MIN - - -
16 @NE - - -
17 SEA - - -
ARI vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner     250,1
RB Edgerrin James 110,1 10  
RB Tim Hightower 30,1 20  
TE Leonard Pope   10  
WR Anquan Boldin   70  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   80,1  
WR Steve Breaston   40  
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: Solid win to start the season and now the best matchup of the year - the Dolphins as visitors. The Cardinals attempted to establish the run against the 49ers and did not let the passing game loose until later. That meant Warner did not have his normally monster game against the 49ers but the Cards won easily enough. The schedule takes a turn for the worse soon and games like these are must wins.

Quarterback: As noted, Kurt Warner did not pass much until the second half and ended with only 197 yards and one score after passing for 464 yards in the last meeting. There is nothing good about a balanced offense in fantasy football. This week at home should be an opportunity for a better game but it will depend again on the play calling and how much the team wants to establish the run. That seems much more likely this week.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James actually had a nice effort in San Francisco when he gained 100 yards on 26 carries. Alas - the touchdown run was made by the rookie Tim Hightower and that will very likely continue since Hightower has the power and saves the wear and tear on James. And with that, another committee backfield is formed. Hightower also added three catches for 21 yards last week so in reception point leagues he actually outscored James.

Wide Receivers: While Larry Fitzgerald had the lone passing score, he only had three catches for 31 yards and was only thrown four passes. Anquan Boldin went into the second half without a catch and ended the game with eight for 82 yards once Warner was given the green light on passing. Even Steve Breaston in the slot had more production than Fitzgerald when he caught three passes for 54 yards.

The Cardinals want to have a more balanced attack but that only shortcuts what the wideouts do in this offense. With a tougher stretch looming, the need to pass is not going to be decreasing after this week.

Tight Ends: Leonard Pope had one catch in the season opener. No fantasy value here other than the odd and incalculable touchdown.

Match Against the Defense: The Dolphins already surrendered 101 yards and a score to Thomas Jones and the Cards want to run more. This is a great spot for James to have a good game and Hightower should figure in as well. This should prove to be one of James best weeks of the year.

Warner could throw for more but will not need to and won't be sent those plays. Look for a more mediocre showing from the passing game this week since the run should take care of business. Once again, Fitzgerald is in the most likely spot for a touchdown.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 24 15 9 30 2 2
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 22 17 26 17 3 21

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