The Miami Dolphins were on the verge of making the playoffs in 2020, but couldn’t decide who their starting QB was half the time. They decided to bring in Tua Tagovailoa following the bye week in week 7 but then continued to pull him early or start Ryan Fitzpatrick over him throughout the season. The organization couldn’t decide whether they wanted to win now or let their first-round QB learn and develop in the game. Despite the back and forth, the team went from losing records the previous three years to a winning 10-6 record.
A big part of the success in 2020 and the sudden rebuild was the defense. The unit really kept the team in games even when rookie QB, Tagovailoa, would struggle. They didn’t lose any key pieces outside of linebacker Kyle Van Noy. And they still were able to add edge rusher Jaelen Phillips and safety Jevon Holland early in the 2021 Draft. On offense, there was a glaring need for the pass catchers to create separation for Tua. The organization addressed this with free-agent signing Will Fuller and top-tier WR prospect Jaylen Waddle. Tua looks to set up for success in this offense, and the defense looks like it’s back and ready to compete again. The Dolphins are prepared to make some noise in the postseason in 2021.
Projected Depth Chart
- Tua Tagovailoa: Tua had a very up and down start to his young NFL career. He looked like a rookie at times, making mental mistakes, but then at times, he looked like the 5th overall pick in the 2020 Draft. Another year in the system, a full offseason and the lack of a veteran QB looming on the sideline to replace him during a game should all benefit Tua this season. Additionally, he has much improved weapons on offense, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s familiar with Jaylen Waddle already. Tua could be on the “Studs” list this time next year, especially in dynasty leagues since he is only 23 still.
- Jaylen Waddle: Waddle was a very polarizing prospect as he comes with so many potential outcomes. He was absolutely electric in college but wasn’t always able to stay on the field (whether from injury or just the amount of talent in the WR room at Alabama). Playing with former college teammate Tua Tagovailoa should help him acclimate quicker to this new level of competition. His rookie year will probably be a bit up and down, but he has the potential to eventually be the WR1 in this offense and be a legit 5 WR for fantasy. Another Miami player that could be making a case for the “Studs” list in the next year or two.
- Myles Gaskin: Many were surprised that Gaskin was one of the few RBs that came out of the 2021 NFL Draft relatively unscathed by another RB drafted. It was assumed that Miami was heavily targeting one of the top RBs in the draft, but ended up passing on them all. If Gaskin can stay on the field, he looks to be once again a reliable RB2. He consistently put up double-digit fantasy numbers last year in the games that he played.
- Mike Gesicki: Gesicki is a role player strictly due to the lack of depth at the TE position in fantasy. He has steadily improved each year, but the WR room in Miami just got a lot better. Instead of only fighting DeVante Parker and Preston Williams for targets, the team added Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller to also compete now. Gesicki can still be a top 12 TE, but who knows if he can ever break into that next tier and be a consistent option at the position year in and year out. And if he doesn’t prove it this year, he could be on a new team next season since his contract is up and the Dolphins just drafted Hunter Long in the 3rd round.
Keep an eye on
- Will Fuller: Fuller was the WR8 through the first 12 weeks of the season before he got suspended for getting caught with PEDs. 2020 looked to be the first season that Fuller would stay healthy and played all 16 games, but now everyone has to sit and wonder if it was the PEDs or if he finally got his health in check. He’ll get a second shot in Miami where he can provide speed on the outside, something sorely missed from the offense last year. Fantasy managers will either have to risk it to see if Fuller can stay healthy without the PEDs or not. But when he is on the field, he has a ton of upside.
- DeVante Parker: 2019 was Parker’s best career year, and his only real usable year in fantasy. He was the number 1 target for Miami last year and wasn’t able to produce or separate from defenses. Now with Fuller and Waddle, there is even more competition for targets and Parker could see himself way down in the pecking order for targets. There is a potential out in his contract following this year, and maybe a change of scenery could rekindle his career. And there’s still a chance he’s the number 1 in the offense for some time before Fuller makes it back from suspension and Waddle gets acclimated. It’s a situation to monitor in redraft and dynasty.
- Hunter Long: Gesicki has failed to be overly impressive and has his contract coming up at the end of the 2021 season. If he doesn’t take more steps forward in his game, or take a team-friendly contract, we could see him in a different situation next year. That would open the door for the Dolphin’s 3rd round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, Hunter Long. The path is there for him to be the main weapon at TE, but the Dolphins didn’t spend a 3rd round pick on him for nothing. He’ll still have a role regardless of Gesicki’s situation, but if Gesicki sticks around, that role probably won’t be fantasy-friendly.
- Gerrid Doaks: Doaks was the Dolphins’ last pick in the 7th round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and generally players taken that late don’t have the appeal that Doaks might. He’s a solid stash particularly in dynasty leagues as he has workhorse size and questions about the players ahead of him on the depth chart. Malcolm Brown is an aging vet and Gaskin and Ahmed have struggled to stay healthy. Doaks hasn’t been the perfect picture of health in college, but if he can get on the field, he has the talent. He provides an interesting upside play late in drafts.
- Lynn Bowden Jr.: Bowden is a super deep dynasty stash if there’s room at the end of the bench. He has some upside he showed as a pass-catcher at the end of last season and could play a nice RB/WR hybrid role for Miami. There have been good reports about him throughout the offseason, but he faces an uphill battle for legitimate playing time.
***Note: All projections and discussions are assuming full PPR formats.***
Lynn Bowden Jr.
Lynn Bowden Jr.
***Note Player Projections are only fantasy relevant players. Team totals may not add up as we left out players that may not have a significant impact on the season. Projections are provided by Rich King and are based on 16 games.***