The Miami Dolphins have been looking for their heir apparent to Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino since he retired after the 1999 NFL season. Miami’s front office and coaching staff believe they have something special with former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. His exploits for the Crimson Tide are legendary, but will Tua’s success transfer to the NFL, and ultimately, fantasy football?
Can Tua be the quarterback that the Dolphins have longed for in his second season? Will he finish the 2021 season as a QB1 in fantasy football? This article will share with you two reasons he should be on your radar in drafts this summer.
Miami has surrounded Tua Tagovailoa with an exquisite supporting cast
Tua finished with 1,814 passing yards as a rookie. He threw 14 touchdowns to 5 interceptions while appearing hesitant to attack defenses vertically. As a result, he only had one fantasy QB1 performance in 10 active games. Furthermore, he did not appear to be limited from his hip injury.
The Dolphins finished with a 10-6 record last season. Miami’s offense, however, finished 23rd in yards per game (339) and 15th in points scored (25.2). They didn’t have any dominant playmakers at running back, wide receiver, or tight end. Despite their record, Miami failed to make the postseason for the fourth consecutive season.
Dolphins again make a change at offensive coordinator
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores immediately made changes to better position his offense for success. The first domino to fall was moving on from offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. Gailey had been out of the NFL since the 2016 season before accepting the OC position with the Dolphins.
Gailey’s quick-hitting spread passing attack limited the ceiling of the Dolphins’ offense. However, Miami’s offseason additions suggest that co-offensive coordinators Eric Studesville and George Godsey are looking to throw the football more downfield in 2021.
Tua Tagovailoa now has weapons to throw to
The Dolphins signed Will Fuller in free agency this past offseason. Fuller relishes in creating explosive plays and quick-strike touchdowns. He’s averaged 71 receiving yards per game over the last three seasons in 29 active games. Additionally, he’s accumulated 100 or more receiving yards in 10 of those games.
Last season, Fuller set career highs in receptions (53), receiving yards (879), and touchdowns (8). He was able to accomplish this despite being suspended for the last five games of the year.
Meanwhile, Miami drafted Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle in the 2021 NFL Draft. On track to open the season as the Dolphins’ No. 3 receiver, Waddle’s ties to Tua are a huge plus.
Waddle only played 242 snaps in six games with Alabama last season. He caught 28 of 32 targets for 591 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. Over his collegiate career, Waddle averaged 19 yards per reception, which ranks second on Alabama’s all-time list (minimum of 100 receptions). In total, Waddle caught 106 passes for 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns over three seasons as a member of the Crimson Tide.
The Dolphins still have DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki on the roster. Following a terrific 2019 season for fantasy, Parker only finished as a WR2 or better in 35% of his games last season in PPR formats. However, it must be noted that he battled ankle, groin, and hamstring injuries throughout the year.
Parker should be healthy in 2021 and will look to replicate his masterful 2019 season. Moreover, the addition of Fuller and Waddle will help take some of the defensive attention away from him in 2021.
Gesicki, on the other hand, finished last season with career highs in receptions (53), receiving yards (703), and touchdowns (6) despite averaging just 5.7 targets per game. In fact, Gesicki only received double-digit targets in three games.
Additionally, the Dolphins still have wide receivers Preston Williams and Lynn Bowden on the roster. Above all, Miami will have a better all-around offense in 2021. This will create more chances for everyone in the passing game. A strong supporting cast is critical for the success of any young quarterback.
The Dolphins’ offensive line will be an asset for Tua Tagovailoa
Miami’s offensive line allowed 34 sacks last season — which ranked 15th — an improvement from 2019 when they allowed 58. In 2020, Miami ranked 16th in rushing attempts (428) and 22nd in rushing yards (1,688), resulting in 15 touchdowns.
However, the Dolphins only had 7 rushes of 20+ yards. Myles Gaskin is expected to open the 2021 season as the starting RB. He has the highest fantasy ceiling of any back on the roster, and he should see targets as a receiver out of the backfield as well.
Most importantly, the Dolphins have invested in their offensive line, and Tua’s success in 2021 will be dependent on it. If the line can better protect him, then receivers will have more time to get open.
Offensive tackles Austin Jackson and Robert Hunt and guard Solomon Kindley are looking to build on their rookie seasons. All three of them are key components of the Dolphins’ offensive line moving forward. This is a solid run-blocking and pass-blocking unit that has yet to reach its ceiling.
Now that he has the support around him, you’re wondering what you can expect from Tua in 2021.
Tua Tagovailoa’s fantasy projection
Tua is being drafted as a QB2 when examining ADP data from Fantasy Football Calculator and other resources. He’s readily available in the 12th or 13th round. Nevertheless, Tua can finish this season as a low-end QB1.
As previously mentioned, Tua has an intriguing group of playmakers the Dolphins have surrounded him with at every position. Furthermore, he has the ability to create fantasy points as a passer and a runner.
Tua has the potential to accumulate around 4,400 combined yards and score 30 touchdowns. Thus, he should not be overlooked in fantasy football drafts, particularly if you prefer to address the position in the double-digit rounds.
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