Saturday, June 20, 2009

Curb your enthusiasm for Ronnie Brown

As a lifelong Dolphins fan, I couldn't have been more excited by the team's renaissance in 2008. Winning the AFC East after going 1-15 the year before wasn't even a dream entering the season.

It was about as unexpected as Ronnie Brown's five-TD explosion (including a passing score) against the Pats in Week 3, when the Wildcat was (re)born and Miami began its improbable run to the playoffs. Indeed, I don't know who was more surprised by Ronnie's mind-boggling performance on that wonderful day: Bill Belichick or I. After all, he was sitting comfortably on my bench.

As the 2009 fantasy draft approaches, keep that singular performance in mind. More specifically, remember that in his 15 other regular season outings, Ronnie posted just six more TDs, and averaged less than 70 total yards from scrimmage. Not exactly starting RB material.

Furthermore, those mediocre stats came against Miami's 5th-place schedule. In 2009, the Dolphins draw a more formidable 1st-place slate of opponents. It gets really hairy during the fantasy playoffs, when the Fins face the Pats, Jags and Titans in consecutive weeks, before a good matchup with the Texans in Week 16 and another doozy in Week 17 vs. Pittsburgh.

I'd love to think Ronnie and the Fins will have another outstanding season. But the road this year is tougher, the Wildcat is no longer a novelty, and Ricky Williams still has plenty of tread left on his tires to eat into Brown's carries and fantasy production.

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