The Miami Dolphins added one of the best players at his position in the NFL this offseason, and he ranks as only the third-biggest addition in Miami this summer. Thanks to LeBron and Chris Bosh coming to South Beach, the Dolphins will have until the end of October to be relevant in Miami before the Heat's season begins.
In the AFC, they might be relevant longer than that, though.
Thanks to the addition of Brandon Marshall on offense in a big trade with Denver, the Dolphins could have an explosive offense the likes of which hasn't been seen since the early 1980s. With young signal caller Chad Henne's cannon under center, the Fins could be a great offense for fantasy owners this year.
Let's look at the Dolphins a little closer.
Henne replaced Chad Pennington last year and emerged as a decent fantasy quarterback despite limited options. He threw 12 touchdowns versus 14 interceptions, but didn't have an elite weapon outside like Marshall. By simply replacing Ted Ginn with Marshall, the Dolphins offense has improved by leaps and bounds. The continued development of secondary targets should also help Henne have a strong season under center in Miami.
The running game in Miami has been a fantasy nightmare for fantasy owners ever since the Dolphins drafted Ronnie Brown. Brown's talent is undeniable, and he's one of the most productive backs in the NFL when he's on the field.
But that's the problem. Brown's rarely on the field.
So the gamble is to look at Ricky Williams, who eclipsed 1,100 yards last year, as their top fantasy back. The Dolphins have a good offensive line, and will run the ball to keep defenses honest. But it's hard for any fantasy owner to put #1 RB faith in any back from Miami because of Brown's abilities and Williams' inconsistent history. There are also a number of top rush defenses on the Dolphins schedule this year that impact the draft rankings of either Brown or Williams.
Marshall jumps to the top of the list, but the Fins have some other strong options. Davone Bess broke out with 76 catches for 758 yards last year, and should be the biggest beneficiary of the Marshall acquisition. Greg Camarillo should see plenty of action as the third receiver as well, after catching 50 balls for 552 yards last season.
The enormous catch-22 with Miami's receivers, however, is the reality that there will be two lost weeks this season when they play the NY Jets, one of which comes during the playoffs in most leagues. So while there could be strong production throughout the season from this talented group, owners are advised to have good depth if banking on Marshall for playoffs. The Dolphins have favorable matchups in Weeks 15 and 16, but the Jets game on 14 is a speed bump for owners.
Anthony Fasano had a nice season for the Dolphins last year with 31 catches and two touchdowns, and could be another player that benefits in the red zone because of the Marshall addition. However, owners shouldn't look to Fasano as a top fantasy option because of the depth at receiver in Miami; Fasano should be used as an injury replacement or a bye-week/matchup TE.
The addition of former Arizona Cardinals captain Karlos Dansby to play inside next to Channing Crowder gives the Dolphins great strength in their linebacking group heading into 2010. Another season from Vontae Davis, who had four interceptions last year at corner, also gives the Dolphins good secondary play as well.
MIA DEF should be handicapped in any draft, however, because of the number of strong offenses on their schedule this year. The draw of DET in Week 16 is a sweet fantasy matchup in championship week, but facing Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez and Tom Brady at quarterback and running backs like Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson should make owners think twice about locking in Miami for the full season.
There is a lot of IDP value on the Miami roster, but the team defense should be a caution.
2010 Regular Season Schedule (all times EST)
- Week One – SUN Sept 12 – @ BUF 1:00 PM
- Week Two – SUN Sept 19 – @ MIN 1:00 PM
- Week Three – SUN Sept 26 – vs NYJ 8:20 PM
- Week Four – MON Oct 4 – vs NE 8:30 PM
- Week Five – BYE
- Week Six – SUN Oct 17 – @ GB 1:00 PM
- Week Six – SUN Oct 24 – vs PIT 1:00 PM
- Week Eight – SUN Oct 31 – @ CIN 1:00 PM
- Week Nine - SUN Nov 7 – @ BAL 1:00 PM
- Week Ten – SUN Nov 14 – vs TEN 1:00 PM
- Week Eleven – SUN Nov 21 – vs CHI 8:20 PM
- Week Twelve – SUN Nov 28 – @ OAK 4:05 PM
- Week Thirteen – SUN Dec 5 – vs CLE 1:00 PM
- Week Fourteen - SUN Dec 12 – @ NYJ 4:15 PM
- Week Fifteen – SUN Dec 19 – vs BUF 1:00 PM
- Week Sixteen – SUN Dec 23 – vs DET 1:00 PM
- Week Seventeen – SUN Jan 2 – @ NE 1:00 PM
The schedule puts a lot of intrigue into the 2010 fantasy season in Miami. With big time offenses all over the schedule, and some tough defenses including NYJ and BAL as well, evey Dolphins player should be considered a week-by-week fantasy play.
The Dolphins should continue to be an aggressive defense that attacks opposing quarterbacks and focuses on turnovers. On offense, this could be an evolving situation with Henne under center and the running game being a question mark.