With the NFL season right around the corner, and fantasy football drafts already in full-swing, it’s time to take a look at what to expect from the Miami Dolphins’ skill players in 2010. Today, we’ll cover the quarterbacks and wide receivers, with running backs, tight ends, and the defense to be posted in the coming weeks.
Chad Henne, QB - All things considered, Henne had a solid 2009 after being thrown into the fire following Chad Pennington’s shoulder injury in Week 3. (As a sidenote, I still feel responsible for causing that to happen, because I spontaneously decided to pick up Henne in my fantasy league minutes before that game started). Henne completed 60.8% of his passes and had 12 TD passes in 14 games despite having one of the weaker WR corps in the league. He threw for over 300 yards in three of his last five games, and should have no problem continuing that trend with the Dolphins’ acquisition of two-time Pro-Bowler Brandon Marshall. Considering that Kyle Orton threw for over 3,800 yards and 21 TDs last season with Marshall as his top receiver, Henne could be in line for a spectacular year if he can improve his decision-making (10 INTs in the final six games). He’s a borderline number-one QB, and has more potential than the likes of Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning, and Matt Ryan, all of whom are all being drafted ahead of him in ESPN leagues.
2009 Statistics: 2,878 passing yards, 12 TDs, 14 INT
2010 Prediction: 4,161 passing yards, 25 TDs, 13 INT
Chad Pennington / Tyler Thigpen / Pat White, QB - Unless you’re in a 14-team, two-QB league (like me), none of the Dolphins’ backups should be on your radar. Thigpen is likely to begin the year second on the official depth chart, though it wouldn’t be surprising if Miami turned to the veteran Pennington if Henne were to miss any games. White, who didn’t complete a single pass last year, is, um, still on the team as of this writing.
Brandon Marshall, WR – Marshall, who set the NFL record with 21 receptions to go along with 200 yards and two TDs in Week 14, will catch more passes by Week 3 than the Dolphins’ previous #19 did all year (38). The problem is that the volatile WR has been arrested at least four times on charges of assault, domestic violence, and DUI, and was suspended by the Denver Broncos for the final week of 2009 for exaggerating an injury. Still, Marshall’s talents are undeniable — he’s caught over 100 passes and totaled over 1,100 receiving yards in three straight seasons and has averaged the fourth-most receiving yards per game (80.7) in the NFL since 2007. His off-the-field problems, combined with playing for a new team and a different offense, make him a somewhat risky pick in the second round (currently being drafted 19th overall), but you could talk me into taking Marshall ahead of the aging Randy Moss and the Kurt Warner-less Larry Fitzgerald (especially in Point Per Reception leagues).
2009 Statistics: 101 catches, 1,120 receiving yards, 10 TDs
2010 Prediction: 107 catches, 1,250 receiving yards, 8 TDs
Davone Bess, WR – Bess had a fantastic sophomore campaign, leading the Dolphins in catches (76; 22nd in NFL), receiving yards (758), and punt return yards (209). His stats are bound to take a serious hit with Marshall firmly entrenched as the top receiver, but Bess should still get his fair share of targets out of the slot. Bess is a decent fourth WR in PPR leagues with some upside, and at the very least, is a smart insurance policy if Marshall gets in Coach Sparano’s doghouse.
2009 Statistics: 76 catches, 758 receiving yards, 2 TDs
2010 Prediction: 57 catches, 570 receiving yards, 4 TDs
Brian Hartline, WR - Hartline led the Dolphins in TDs (3) and yards per catch (16.3; 11th in NFL) , and finished third on the team in receiving yards (506) as a rookie. He dropped only three passes in 54 targets, and could end up being the beneficiary of Marshall’s double-teams if he wins the number two receiver spot in training camp. Still, with Bess expected to see more targets and Greg Camarillo also in the picture, Hartline is only worth a late-round flier in standard leagues.
2009 Statistics: 31 catches, 506 receiving yards, 3 TDs
2010 Prediction: 43 catches, 660 receiving yards, 3 TDs
Greg Camarillo, WR - Camarillo, who should be fully recovered from a torn ACL he suffered in November 2008, was one of the most sure-handed receivers in the NFL last season, catching the highest number of passes without a drop and a stellar 70% of his total targets. He quietly placed second on the team in both receptions (50) and receiving yards (552) in 2009, but stands to see a reduced role behind the quicker and younger Hartline in 2010.
2009 Statistics: 50 catches, 552 receiving yards, 0 TDs
2010 Prediction: 38 catches, 414 receiving yards, 1 TDs
Coming soon: How will Ronnie “The Wildcat” Brown and Ricky Williams share the backfield?