September 25, 2009

Is the wildcat formation a fad that will go the way of the Run n' Shoot? Or is it becoming a revolutionary staple of NFL offenses? Call it what you want. The bottom line is it's a significant part of the Dolphins' offense, and will have an impact on their fantasy weapons for the rest of the season.

The Fish were in the formation 8.4 percent of snaps last year, but scored over 21 percent of their offensive TDs while in the package. As you can see, it was more of a TD toy last year than a basic formation. On Monday night against the Colts, the Dolphins dialed up the hyped formation 12 times and averaged 8.9 yards per play. On all other plays, they averaged 4.1 yards.

My friends, the wildcat is there to stay in South Florida.

Many fantasy gurus don't realize that Chad Pennington finished 2008 as the tenth-ranked fantasy QB. He threw for 3,653 yards, 19 TDs, and only seven picks. Solid stats for a player tabbed as a game manager with a spaghetti arm. In fact, last year was the best fantasy year of his career. Prior to last year, the highest he finished was as the 12th best fantasy QB. Unfortunately for Pennington owners, it's a new year.

Pennington has thrown for less than 200 yards in both games this season and has one passing TD. The Dolphins' receiving weapons are average at best. Sure, Ted Ginn, Jr. is developing, and Anthony Fasano has his days. Nevertheless, this squad's bread-and-butter is the rushing game. Further, based on the Dolphins use of the wildcat, Pennington could be lining up as a spectator for as much as 20-25 percent of the snaps this season. Yeah, that's not pretty for fantasy purposes, especially when many of those snaps take place close to paydirt. At most, Pennington is a deep fantasy back-up based on the Dolphins' style of offense.

For those of you looking for Pat White analysis, look elsewhere. We only cover fantasy-relevant players here at "Deconstructing."

Pennington's Week 2 Outlook (at SD): 155 Pass YDs, 1 INT, 1 Pass TD

As I said, in most leagues I would rarely consider starting Pennington. He is up against the Bolts this week on the road. Keep him on the pine. The Chargers are ranked 13th against the pass in 2009 and have some QB-harassing weapons led by Shawne Merriman. The Dolphins will attack the Jamal Williams-less Chargers' D on the ground and attempt to take the air out of the ball. Pennington will have fantasy struggles once again.

Ronnie Brown owners should be in love with the gimmicky offense. While Brown struggled in Week One against the Falcons, he blew up against the Colts for 136 rushing yards and two scores. Brown had much of his success as the signal-caller in the wildcat. He made great reads, and ran with a combination of speed and power out of the offense. He did his damage on both inside and outside runs. It was quite a determined performance; he will be a back-end RB1 this year even in an RB tandem. Make a move for him if he has a quiet week.

Ricky Williams is drug-free and showing he still has limited fantasy value with the wildcat in full effect. Williams was the motion-RB in the wildcat and had 69 rushing yards on 19 carries. At this stage of his career, Williams impressively runs through tacklers rather than around them, or past them. Williams will average 10-13 carries per game for the rest of the year and makes for an adequate flex option.

Brown's Week 2 Outlook (at SD): 115 Rush YDs, 2 Rush TDs, 2 Rec, 21 Rec YDs

The Chargers' rush defense is 24th against the run after the first two games. It has a gaping hole with Williams out for the year. The Fish will hammer the pigskin in attempt to keep the underrated Chargers' passing attack off the field. Mr. Brown will have a nice day and have his owners proclaiming, "Long live the wildcat."

C'mon, you Ginn haters, you had to be somewhat impressed by his performance last week. Sure, he could have and should have caught two game-changing passes in the end zone, and the mainstream media has been all over him this week for those catchable balls. At "Deconstructing", we care about fantasy and not reality. As fantasy owners, a couple of our key indicators are future potential and opportunity. Ginn has both going for him.

On Monday night, Ginn had 11 catches for 108 receiving yards on 16 targets. Read that again. He had 16 targets in a run-heavy offense when Pennington only launched the rock 33 times. Moreover, despite the well-publicized near-misses, Ginn put up outstanding numbers. He ran crisp routes and showed steady hands on most of his timing routes.

Sure, Ginn needs to work on catching the ball in traffic and coming up big in clutch situations. But remember, he could only run a fly pattern coming out of Ohio State. He has surely developed and now he's flashing upside. Even in a conservative offense, Ginn is a great WR3 in most leagues, and could develop into a weak WR2 given the fact he's the centerpiece in the passing offense.

It's hard to get too excited about the rest of the Dolphins' wideouts. Greg Camarillo, Davone Bess, and Brian Hartline are all secondary WRs in a rush-ilicious offense, and weak fantasy options. For what it's worth, Camarillo has been getting the starts opposite Ginn. However, he hasn't been getting the targets, with only five in two games. If you're obsessed with rostering a Miami WR besides Ginn, go the Bess route. He led the Dolphins in receiving in Week One with seven catches for 57 yards, and he caught all three of his targets in Week Two (three receptions/29 receiving yards).

Ginn's Week 2 Outlook (at SD): 6 Rec, 75 Rec YDs, 0 Rec TDs

Ginn goes up against a solid set of CBs in Quentin Jammer, Antoine Cason, and Antonio Cromartie. Further, as I previously mentioned, the Dolphins game plan will be to attack via land. Nevertheless, don't be afraid to run Ginn out there as a WR3 if you only have inferior alternatives. Ginn will get his targets and should produce reasonable numbers. The big question -- can he catch one of those end zone passes in Week 3?

The Fish should strongly consider giving Fasano more looks in the passing game. The 6-4, 257 pound tight end only has three catches for 11 yards this season. The big boy has only been targeted five times. Fasano was quietly the ninth-ranked TE in fantasy football last year with 34 receptions, 454 yards and seven TDs. He has some skills, especially around the goal line. So far, Fasano has been stuck blocking much more than he's been on receiving routes. As we know, blocking assignments in the passing game are a fantasy killer for our TEs. At this point, Fasano is nothing more than a weak bye week fill-in until the Dolphins start giving him passing looks.

Fasano's Week 2 Outlook (at SD): 4 Rec, 36 Rec YDs, 0 Rec TDs

While the Chargers have had their problems against TEs, this is not the time to throw Fasano out there as your starting TE. Monitor him this week to see if he gets additional opportunities. He could be a back-end spot starter once the bye weeks starting flowing next week.

Hit Bill Root with a tweet @FantasyRoots if you have a pressing start/sit question. Looking to prove you're a fantasy guru? Then register for the UPSET CHALLENGE, the new and unique office pool game that gives you the opportunity to earn ultimate bragging rights!

You May Like