Thursday, August 6, 2009

Miami Dolphins Fantasy Impact

Down, set, click. Fantasy football drafts are coming to a computer screen near you and it's up to you to decide who to pick. DolFans always have an affinity to their own players, as any other loyal fan would, but there is a fine line between picking for preference and picking for performance. So, let's try to sort out the players on the Dolphins that will give your fantasy football team that added oomph.

This guide will try and break down which Fins players will have the most fantasy impact on your roster. Before we begin, it must be noted that we are no fantasy football experts by any stretch of the imagination, but a little research and insight can do a world of wonders.

We'll start off with the safe bet and use Yahoo! Sports' Pre-Draft Rankings to see the top 3 Dolphins players listed based on all positions combined. They are as follows:
  1. Ronnie Brown (26th Overall)
  2. Ted Ginn Jr. (123rd Overall)
  3. Ricky Williams (124th Overall) also ranked Ronnie Brown at a similar level, placing him at the 27th overall. Sadly, there is only one Dolphins player ranked in the top 100 players in the NFL for fantasy impact. Then again, the Dolphins are not a team based on star players, but rather on cohesion and collective effort.

Stats, Stats and More Stats

Moving along, we looked at player statistics that could benefit those of you in high-scoring leagues (i.e. 1 point or more for every rushing, passing and receiving yard as opposed to 1 point for every 10 yds). Based on the stats that Dolphins players recorded last regular season and their potential this year, we list the top performers:
  • QB: Chad Pennington - 3653 Pass YDs, 19 TDs, 7 INTs
  • RB: Ronnie Brown - 916 Rush YDs, 10 TDs
  • TE: Anthony Fasano - 454 REC YDs, 7 TDs
  • WR: Ted Ginn Jr. - 790 YDs, 2 TDs
  • DB: Joey Porter - 47 Tackles, 18 Sacks, 4 Fumbles
Chad Pennington may not rack up the points like Drew Brees or Peyton Manning does, but he is very efficient and a solid choice. He has a very low touchdown to interception ratio, has a great completion percentage and a decent QB rating each game. He's definitely a worthy secondary QB (if you use a two QB lineup) or back-up QB. Expect to see Pennington go by the 4th or 5th round, unless you are in a small-sized league.

Ronnie Brown is set to continue his high level of play this season with the integration of more Wild Cat plays. It is likely that the improved offensive line will help Ronnie break the 1,000 rushing yard mark this season and assist him in red zone battles. Brown is a legit first or second round option in any league.

Anthony Fasano is a big target and is able to make the QBs job a bit easier. Now, he's no Tony Gonzalez, but he can do some damage in the red zone. It is likely for Fasano to play an intricate role in short yardage, crucial situations which will give his fantasy owners a few TDs here and there. He's likely to go in the later rounds after the top notch TEs get picked.

Ted Ginn has received good reviews from Coach Sparano in regards to improvements and it is already known that WRs typically break out in their 3rd season. With that said, Ginn should be a big impact on the team and in your fantasy league. He's a deep threat as well as an open field threat, which makes him dangerous and capable of scoring on any given play. Tedd Ginn is probably a second-tier WR in fantasy drafts right now, but could be a steal if fantasy owners underestimate his potential. Keep a close eye on him - he may just be your secret weapon.

Some leagues have defensive players slots and in those cases you are best suited with getting a tackle machine (Linebacker) or a shutdown defender (Cornerback/Safety). Joey Porter would be your tackle machine, as well as a sack and forced fumble threat. You usually don't pick defensive players until the last rounds, but don't pass up on Joey if he's still out there. He talks trash, but backs it up most of the time with stats - stats which your fantasy team could benefit from.

Under the Radar

Besides the obvious people to look out for in Dolphins uniforms, there are a few players on the roster that could sneak up on a few people this fantasy season. Here's who to look out for:
  • Miami Dolphins Defense (DEF) - This may not be a particular "person," but most leagues have a spot for defensive units. Miami has bolstered their secondary and kept a solid linebacking core (with the reacquisition of Jason Taylor). In essence, the team's defense has only improved and should be considered as a Top 10, if not Top 5, defense in the league. Expect more INTs, more sacks and more intensity. Before you pass on MIA in the later rounds, have second thought - you may regret it.
  • Ricky Williams (RB) - Well, Ricky isn't really "under the radar," but he is overshadowed by Ronnie Brown and the back-up RB spot. As we stated earlier, the offensive line's improvement will benefit the running game, which includes Ricky Williams. He will be in 3rd and short situations, Wild Cat packages and other "trickeration" plays that will use him as an option. He's due for a better season than last year's 659 Rush YDs, 4 TDs showing. Ricky is a viable second or third string RB in many leagues. Don't brush him off as a "puff of smoke" (pun intended).
  • Davone Bess (WR) - Here's a guy that came in as a rookie and stepped up as a slot receiver for the Dolphins, similar to what Wes Welker was a few seasons back. He recorded over 550 receiving yards, which is impressive for a rookie WR that was signed as an undrafted free agent. It's possible that one year of experience could make a difference in his game and push his yardage up to the 750 range. As of now, he is a part of the free agent pool for most fantasy leagues, but add him to your watch list just in case.
Final Words

Miami isn't geared to high-performing fantasy teams, but do contain some hidden gems that are worthy of recognition in the fantasy realm. It's safe to say that overall the Dolphins aren't a team geared for fantasy football stats. Bill Parcells came in and set the foundation for a solid no-nonsense football team, hence the signing of an Offensive Tackle (Jake Long) as the first overall draft pick in 2008. If the front office was focused on star players then a WR, RB, QB or other high-profile, offensive-minded pick would have been made.

Our suggestion: focus on the Adrian Petersons, LaDanian Tomlinsons and Larry Fitgeralds of the league if you want big points. Then again, you'll need the mid-level guys to rack up those extra points and ensure a win each week. That means don't turn away from the solid choices available in the Miami Dolphins - they may just be the difference between a playoff bound fantasy roster and a squad that just didn't make the cut.

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