Last Sunday is a day that DolfansNYC will never forget.
Through the help of Michelleâ€™s coworker, we had the opportunity to attend a live taping of CBS’ â€œNFL Today.â€ We stood behind the set as James Brown, Dan Marino, Bill Cowher, Shannon Sharpe, and Boomer Esiason went through the highlights at halftime of the early afternoon games. Once the cameras were off, we walked onto the set and took a picture with the entire cast.
And then, we had the chance to meet our idol, the greatest quarterback in Miami Dolphins history.
â€œWhatâ€™s Your Fantasyâ€ is here to get you set for Week 7. As always, I break down the players to start, bench, and think about for your lineup. This week, I finally get to shave my beard (hoorah!), recommend playing a Steeler against the Dolphins (boooo!), and answer a question sent in by a loyal viewer. As always, weâ€™ve got music and a touch of humor for your viewing pleasure. Go Fins!!
Hey guys! I hope you enjoyed the break from football as much as I did. After having my heart broken two weeks in a row I have pretty much avoided everything Dolphins for a while. I just couldn’t take it. But I am officially back on board.
The Dolphins are 2-0 on the road and ready to make it 3-0 against a banged up Packers. It looks like Aaron Rodgers is going to play but Clay Matthews is doubtful and Woodson has a toe injury which is never a good injury for a DB to have. On the Dolphins side we are the healthiest we have been all year coming off the bye week. Looks like Odrick is still out, but we finally get Crowder back and John Jerry is at least going to be worked in. If the Dolphins can hit Rodgers early (and Cam Wake should have a day with RT Mark Tauscher doubtful) I think they have a pretty good chance of taking the upset and getting back on track. And I pray they do because I can not take three straight losses. We need this game.
I am excited to see everyone at Third & Long (35th and 3rd Ave) this week. We should have a little more room to move around at the bar this week since it is not a big division game, but I hope to see the place pretty packed anyway. I know that anyone who can manage to be a Phins fan in the middle of Jests country can’t possibly be a fair weather fan. We aren’t doing a raffle or anything this week, but we still have drink specials if you are wearing Dolphins colors and as always we will have sound and the game on more than half the TV’s in the bar.
Weâ€™re going to pretend Monday night didn’t happen and move on withÂ â€œWhatâ€™s Your Fantasyâ€ for Week 5.Â As always, I break down the players to start, bench, and think about for your lineup.Â Â This week, I recommend benching the league’s leading passer –Â the same guy whoÂ couldn’t beat out Rex Grossman for a starting job not too long ago, by the wayÂ — and picking upÂ aÂ must-own playerÂ in the aftermath of theÂ Randy Moss trade.Â As always, weâ€™ve got musicÂ and a touch of humor for your viewing pleasure. Â Go Fins!!
ItÂ was initiallyÂ intimidating to meet not only the owner of our favorite football team, but one of Forbes‘ richest men in America.Â And yet, Miami Dolphins majority owner Stephen Ross was incredibly kind and generous when he took the time out of his busy schedule to meet Michelle, Igor, andÂ me in his midtown New York office, and sat down to talk about football and our local fanclub.
He listened attentively as we talked about the growth and direction of DolfansNYC, and was pleased to hear that over 100 die-hard, aqua-and-orange-clad fans come to Third and Long each week to watch the games. But Mr. Ross could help but chuckle when we told him that we play the original team fight song after every Miami touchdown.
“You play the old version?” he clarified, flashing a wide grin. “I hate that song! I had Jimmy (Buffett) write the ‘Fins to the Left’ song that we now play in the stadium.”
“T-Pain — the hip-hop artist — recorded a new version of the fight song, but the fans weren’t very receptive when it was played during the preseason games,” Mr. Ross continued. “I wanted to do something in football like baseball does with the seventh inning stretch, so we now play (the old fight song) after the third quarter. The crowd goes wild and it brings a lot of excitement.”
When we told Mr. Ross about our efforts to raise money for charity, with a goal of contributing at least $1,000 to the Miami Dolphins Foundation, he was more than happy to oblige.
“You guys want some paraphernalia?” he asked as he opened his cupboard and rummaged through stacks of Dolphins items. “Let’s see what we’ve got here that they sent me. I have no idea what I have!
In a matter of minutes, our hands we filled with official team polo shirts, jackets, and hats. Mr. Ross signed both our banner and a hat with a ‘Go Fins!’ inscription, and in return, we provided him with a DolfansNYC t-shirt from the club.
Mr. Ross then showed us showed us “FanVision,” a device his company created that streams video to a 4.3-inch screen, which he hopes will revolutionize the in-stadium game experience. It allows fans to watch instant replays from three different angles, see highlights from other NFL games, and get access to every conceivable statistic.
“FanVision is a new technology that is now available in 12 NFL stadiums, including the New Meadowlands for Jets games,” he told us. “We’re hoping to have it in every stadium by next year, and a few baseball ones, too. We’re also working on a mobile version that will be compatible with cell phones.”
Before we left, we crowded around Mr. Ross’ desk, surrounded by shelves that house dozens of his real estate awards, philanthropic recognitions, and photos with various politicians and celebrities, as he and a member of his media team gave us a sneak peek at a couple of upcoming projects. Along with two breast cancer awareness campaigns featuring R&B singer Kelly Rowland, we were treated to a preview of the opening montage and theme song for the Dolphins upcoming showdown with the New England Patriots.
Let’s just say that no Fins fan will be disappointed with the splendid blend of old and new school. Monday night can’t get here fast enough.
Special thanks to Mr.Â Ross andÂ DolfansNYC member Tim Sullivan for organizing the meeting.
I really don’t have anything to say about the horrible tragedy that befell Dolphins fans everywhere on Sunday.Â The defense embarrassed the team and the fans and the Jets are getting three Pro Bowl type players back in the next few weeks. So I am going to cry myself to sleep and you should check out the photos from the meet up at Third & Long below. If you want to download a photo just click it and it will take you to the Flickr page.
Short Michelle and I will be in Ireland for the next four days â€“ but donâ€™t worry, weâ€™ll be back in time for Sunday nightâ€™s game against the New York Jets.Â Unfortunately, we wonâ€™t have time to film and edit a fantasy football video this week, so here are my picks for Week 3.Â
I’m Sorry… How did we do in Week 2?Â Pretty, pretty good.Â If the Jets and Patriots had both somehow found a way to lose, it would’ve been a perfect week all around.Â
David Garrard, Jax QB:Â Garrard has thrown 15 TD passes and nine INTs in his last nine home games, compared to just four TDs and a whopping 9 INTs in his last nine road contests.Â Heâ€™ll face the Eagles, who gave up 335 passing yards to the legendary Shaun Hill, in Jacksonville this week.
Darren McFadden, Oak RB:Â McFadden has averaged 152 total yards per game in 2010 and hasÂ been powerfullyÂ running over defenders.Â Where was this last year when I drafted you, Darren?Â McFadden is a must-start in all leagues — he faces a Cardinals defense that was shredded for 186 yards and 3 TDs by Falcons backup RB Jason Snelling last week.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys WR:Â Did you know thatÂ the Houston Texans have allowed the most passing yards (822) through the first two weeks than any team in NFL history?Â Joey Galloway (yes, heâ€™s still alive) burned their secondary for a 62-yard catch on Sunday.Â Just imagine what the speedy Bryant can do.
Eli Manning, Giants QB:Â The Titans havenâ€™t faced any real NFL QBs yetÂ — Jason Campbell, Dennis Dixon, Charlie Batch — but theyâ€™ve still allowed only one TD pass and caused six fumbles in two games.Â Manning could be in for another long day.
Brandon Jackson, Packers RB:Â Jackson salvaged a terrible game with a TD for fantasy owners, but FB John Kuhn finished with more rushing yards on fewer carries.Â Against a Bears defense that has allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league (56 on 1.4 yards per carry), neither Packers RB is even a worthy flex play.
Jets Wide Receivers â€“ This isnâ€™t just a ‘homer’ pick.Â Take out a late-game miscue against the Bills, the Dolphins are allowing less than 90 yards per game to WRs.Â PlayÂ Braylon E-DWI-rds at your own risk.
Sam Bradford, Rams QB – Iâ€™d never advocate playing a rookie quarterback on one of the worst teams in the league, but the Redskins have allowed over 390 passing yards per game through the air (Matt Schaub threw for a ridiculous 497 last week) and the second-most fantasy points to QBs.
Keiland Williams, Redskins, RB â€“ Despite scoring a pair of TDs on Sunday, Clinton Portis has averaged 3.1 yards per carry on the year and is always on the injury report.Â Backup Larry Johnson had two carries for negative seven yards (how is that even possible?) and has since been released.Â Â While Williams is yet to carry the ball, he could end up being the Redskinsâ€™ starter before too long. Â
Golden Tate, Seahawks WR â€“ The rookie WR was cut in a lot leagues after being inactive in Week 1, but he made his presence felt last Sunday with a 52-yard catch and a 63-yard punt return.Â Heâ€™s expected to have a bigger role going forward and certainly has more potential than Mike Williams (still canâ€™t believe heâ€™s a starter in the NFL).
I think weâ€™re done here.Â Remember to check DolfansNYC.com â€“ the official home of Miami Dolphins fans in New York â€“ for all of the latest team news, and send us an email if youâ€™d like to be included in an upcoming video.Â And of course, stop by Third and Long on 35th Street and 3rd Avenue to watch the games with the rowdiest fans around.Â Go Dolphins!
The Miami Dolphins have launched their official online photo store. For the first time in the teamâ€™s history, fans may visit the store and purchase official photos for home wall art, gifts or office decorations.Â The official photo store of the offers more than 150 images captured by the Dolphinsâ€™ official award-winning photographers. Photos including images of Dolphins players, game action, cheerleaders, special events and Sun Life Stadium are available. New photos will be added within an hour of the conclusion of each Dolphins game!
Hate him or love him, the Dolphins were going to miss Ted Ginn Jr.’s speed and playmaking ability on special teams (not so much in the receiving game).Â Sure, he’d run out of bounds and try to avoid contact, but he also ranked fifth in kick return yards (1,296) and 14thÂ kickoff return averageÂ (24.92) in the NFLÂ last season.
In comes KR/PR Clifton “Batman” Smith, who could end up rivalring Brandon Marshall as the team’s most impactful and game-changing addition of the offseason.Â AfterÂ being waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday,Â the return specialist choseÂ to sign with Miami after alsoÂ working out for the Green Bay Packers.
The 25-year-old was initially signed to the Bucs’ practice squadÂ as an undrafted free agent in 2008, and went on to be selected to the Pro BowlÂ after ranking second in the NFL in punt return average (14.1) and sixth in kickoff return averageÂ (27.6).Â Despite appearing in only nine games, he finished sixth in total punt return yards and (324), and scored on a 97-yard kickoffÂ return and a 70-yard punt return.Â Smith went on to improve his yards per kickoff to 29.1 (second in the league) in 2009, and his career average of 28.3 tops all active players and is the fifth-highest in NFL history.
Smith willÂ likely take over primaryÂ punt-return duties from Davone Bess, who’s quietly been one of the worst at the position in the NFL.Â Over the last two seasons, Bess has returned 49 punts, the 11th-highest total in the league, but his 8.98 yards per return rank 25th out of 35 qualified players.Â Smith’s 12.09 average, on the other hand,Â isÂ second behind only the New York Giants’ Dominik Hixon (12.15).
In even better news, Patrick Cobbs, who’sÂ coming back from knee surgery,Â willÂ now be relieved from handling kickoffs.Â Since entering the league in 2007, he’s posted the second-lowest kickoff return averageÂ (20.48) among 72 playersÂ with at least 25 returns.Â Fifth-round pick Nolan CarrollÂ was also inÂ contention forÂ the job, but didn’t fare much better during the preseason by averagingÂ 22.8 yards on nine returns.
Of course, Pro Bowl-caliber players in their primeÂ don’t get released for no reason.Â Â For all of his special teams contributions, Smith is virtually non-existentÂ on offense,Â rushing four timesÂ forÂ just seven yardsÂ last year.Â There are legitimate concernsÂ aboutÂ his durability after a pair of concussions limited the 5-foot-8, 190-pound dynamo to 11 games in 2009 and lingering knee pain forced him to miss two 2010Â preseason games.Â Â He’s hasÂ also been extremely fumble-prone, losing the ball a whopping seven times (tied with Bess and Ginn, among others, for ninth among non-quarterbacks over the last two years)Â in only 20 games.
Despite the concerns, there’s no question that Smith is one of the bestÂ return specialists in the game and presents a significant upgrade for the Dolphins.Â Barring injuries, he’s not likely to receive a lot of carries as the team’s fifth RB, but runningÂ behindÂ a better offensive line in Miami should allow him to be a bigger factor on those rare occasions.
Smith will get his first test against the Buffalo Bills, whoÂ wereÂ held opponents to 21.5 yards per kickoff return (7th-best in the NFL) and 7.7 yards on punt returns (11th), on Sunday.
In 2008, with Chad Pennington at quarterback, the Dolphins’ two primary Tight Ends, Anthony Fasano and David Martin, caught a combined 65 passes for 904 yards and 10 touchdowns — half of the team’s total receiving TDs. In 2009, Martin missed the entire season with a knee injury, and Fasano and backup Joey Haynos had 50 receptions for just 504 yards and four TDs between them. WillÂ any ofÂ the Dolphins Tight Ends regain fantasy relevance with Chad Henne under center, or is no player worth a roster spot?
Anthony Fasano, TEÂ – Fasano’s drop in production last season was largely due to a different role in the offense, as he was asked to provide more pass protection at the expense of running routes.Â While he wasÂ the second-bestÂ run-blocker in the league, his yards per catch dropped from 13.4 to 10.9,Â heÂ had onlyÂ two scores a year after catching seven, and he led all TEs in fumbles (3), including two in the season opener.
Although he doesn’t possess theÂ downfield receiving ability of the elite TEs, with anÂ improved offensive line and the addition of star wide receiver Brandon Marshall, Fasano should see more opportunities to work the middle of the field and get open in the end zone.Â He’s being drafted in only 2.7% of ESPN leagues as the 25th playerÂ atÂ his position, but makes for a solid second TE who should be in for a niceÂ bounce-back season in 2010.
Joey Haynos, TEÂ – After catching only two passes in seven games in 2008, Haynos was used in more two tight end sets and played 51 percent of Miami’s offensive snaps in 2009.Â But while the 6’8, 270-pound TE showed flashes of future potential, he was far too inconsistent and had only three totalÂ receptions for 17Â yards in the two games that Fasano missed with a hip injury.Â Although he’s an intregral cog in the Dolphins’ offense, Haynos isn’t likely to see a significantly increased pass-catching role or threaten Fasano forÂ the starting job anytime soon, makingÂ him largely irrelevant in all but the deepest of fantasy leagues.
David Martin, TE -Martin, an eight-year veteran who’s familiar with the Dolphins’ system after spending two seasons in Miami, was unexpectedly re-signed last Friday.Â While he averaged 14.5 yards per catch in 2008, it’s hard to imagineÂ the 31-year-old has much left after spending last year on Injured Reserve.Â Â If he’s fully healthy, Martin would allow FasanoÂ to catch more passes by taking over someÂ blocking duties,Â and could prove to be an effective situationalÂ downfield threat.Â His signing means veryÂ little in fantasy cirticles, butÂ certainlyÂ signals the coaching staff’s unhappines with the progress ofÂ their young Tight Ends.
2009 Statistics:Â None – missed season (knee injury) 2010 Prediction:Â Â 12 catches, 180 yards,Â 1 TD
John Nalbone / Kory Sperry, TEÂ – Both Nalbone, a fifth-round pick in 2009, and Sperry, who was signed as an undrafted free agent after attending the San Diego Chargers’ training camp, spent most of the 2009Â season on the practice squad.Â While Nalbone didn’t play a single snap in the regular season, Sperry made the most of his lone start, catching three passes for 31 yards and a TD in a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Â The more-experienced Martin likely has theÂ inside track on the third (and perhaps final) TE spot, and barring an injury, Nablone and Sperry wouldÂ only provide blocking and special teams help.