The Dolphins are coming off a disappointing 7-9 season which came on the heels of a surprisingly solid 11-5 record in 2008. The team was aggressive to upgrade its roster and should rebound with a better season in 2010.
Head coach Tony Sparano favors a strong running attack to set up play action. With quarterback Chad Henne entering his first full season as the team’s starter and Brandon Marshall coming over in a trade with the Broncos, the Dolphins figure to have a more explosive passing game.
While that may happen, the Dolphins bread and butter is a rushing attack featuring two talented running backs in Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown. Offensive coordinator Dan Henning uses the “Wildcat” formation liberally to keep defenses off balance but it became ineffective and its usage went down once Brown went on injured reserve with a Lisfranc fracture in his right foot.
In 2009, the Dolphins ranked 4th in rushing offense and 20th in passing but a slightly more balanced attack should be expected in 2010 with Marshall being the main cog in the passing game and the team’s remaining wide receivers fighting for the leftover scraps.
QB Chad Henne
Henne enters 2010 as an intriguing fantasy option, courtesy of the Dolphins acquisition of Brandon Marshall from the Broncos. With a true number one wide receiver in Miami, Henne’s fantasy prospects are much improved and the Dolphins offense should have a better run-pass ratio than in 2009 when they ran plenty to help make up for a weak group of wide receivers. The Dolphins will run plenty once again in 2010, which limits Henne’s upside, but Marshall will create opportunities as he provides a deep threat and plenty of yards after the catch. Nonetheless, Henne has only started 13 games in two years and this lack of experience is part of the reason he is a fantasy backup with marginal upside who will feed on short yardage touchdowns to pad his fantasy stats in 2010.
RB Ricky Williams
Don’t be surprised to see Ricky ahead of Ronnie. His role in the passing game puts him here and should allow him to top Brown’s numbers in 2010. The Dolphins rely on the running game, Williams looked fantastic last year, and Brown is coming off an injury (again) and may not be 100% to start the season. What’s not to like? While others are scooping up Brown based on his solid production prior to being injured last year, get Williams on the cheap and watch him attain mid-tier RB2 status.
RB Ronnie Brown
With Brown, you have to decide whether you are getting the player who looked like a fantasy star for the first part of 2009 or the injury prone tease who flashes signs resembling a stud RB1 (see 2007 and 2009)? He’s missed an average of four games a year over his five-year career and has only one 1,000-yard season. His 177 fantasy points in 2008, the best fantasy season of his career, would normally rank as a low end RB2. Just giving you the facts. He’s going to go higher than he should in most drafts but the value isn’t going to be there.
WR Brandon Marshall
Marshall moves to the Dolphins and brings considerable talent (and baggage) to an offense desperate for a true number one wide receiver. He’s finished among the top-eleven fantasy wide receivers in each of the last three years while having over 100 receptions in each of those seasons. The issue is whether he can succeed in a Dolphins offense that runs the ball more than the Broncos ever did. Simply put, Chad Henne is too green to put a Dolphins receiver, even one as talented as Marshall, in the top ten. Sometimes, it’s that simple.
WR Greg Camarillo
Camarillo will compete with Brian Hartline to be the Dolphins starting receiver opposite Brandon Marshall. However, don’t mistake that for solid fantasy prospects for Camarillo in 2010. He is a journeyman player with little big-play ability who will struggle to match his production from the last two years given Marshall’s presence. Camarillo will likely split time with Brian Hartline with Hartline getting the red zone targets. Camarillo is not worth owning in 2010.
WR Brian Hartline
The Ohio State product enters his second year having shown some playmaking ability as a rookie in 2009, finishing with 31 receptions while averaging a nifty 16.3 yards per catch. To be useful for fantasy purposes, he’s going to have to rise above Greg Camarillo and Davone Bess to earn more targets and that’s not likely to happen in 2010. Of the three, Hartline is the one to own for dynasty formats but he’s likely waiver wire fodder in most re-draft leagues in 2010.
WR Davone Bess
Bess has been the Dolphins most productive receiver over the last two years but he’s a small, shifty player who lacks top end speed, averages only 10.1 yards per catch and has only three touchdowns in two years. Basically, he benefitted from circumstance and circumstances have changed with the acquisition of Brandon Marshall. Bess might top Camarillo and Hartline’s production but there isn’t much upside here other than maybe as a flex option in larger leagues.
TE Anthony Fasano
It’s all about the touchdowns with Fasano and the Dolphins got some guy in the offseason named Brandon Marshall who has pretty good size which is going to cut down on Fasano’s red zone opportunities in 2010. Fasano’s highest yardage in a season was 2008 when he had 454 yards and it’s almost certain he won’t approach that total in 2010. There are similar tight ends with more upside, making Fasano not worth considering in your fantasy league.