The NFL Draft has come and gone and us football fans are now entering the long, hot, summer months of the NFL offseason. While we eagerly await training camp and the kick-off of depth chart battles and their related storylines, we NFL fans are left looking for football-related activities and content to absorb. What better way to keep your football wheels turning in May and June than fantasy football?
Most real-world general managers are just about done churning the upper and middle tiers of their roster at this point in the NFL cycle, so it’s prime time to decipher which offensive assets will provide the most bang for your buck in fantasy football drafts this upcoming season. The Miami Dolphins roster has undergone a drastic makeover, especially on offense, so where do the team’s weapons stand in the fantasy football world?
QB Tua Tagovailoa
We’ve heard about the highs and lows of Tagovailoa’s rookie season every day on just about every sports network over the past few months, so I won’t re-hash that here. What I will say is that Miami’s former fifth-overall pick has received a full vote of confidence from the team’s top brass in the form of a major injection of talent on offense this offseason and virtually zero competition for the starting quarterback spot.
The University of Alabama legend is being given every opportunity to succeed in his second year with the Dolphins. The team added game-breaking pass catchers in veteran Will Fuller and rookie Jaylen Waddle, a reinforced offensive line with veteran center Matt Skura (who, despite receiving flack for snapping inconsistencies in 2020, graded out well in his pass protection last season), second-round draft pick Liam Eichenberg, and depth at tight end in third-round pick Hunter Long.
Fantasy bottom line: You can probably get Tua near the back-end of your fantasy drafts this summer in large part thanks to the undeserved hate he’s received on various media platforms; snagging him as your backup QB could pay significant dividends down the line.
WR DeVante Parker
After a breakout season in 2019, Parker underwhelmed last year. That said, he wasn’t a total dud; he accumulated 63 receptions on 103 targets for 793 yards and four touchdowns (all second highest single-season numbers for his career). The disappointment stemmed from his inability to stay healthy after playing in all 16 games the season prior. Parker only managed 11 starts in 2020 due to nagging soft tissue injuries.
Some might see the team’s adding of Fuller and Waddle as a negative in terms of Parker’s fantasy outlook, but they’d be overlooking a crucial point. With speed demons on other spots of the field, opposing defenses will be unable to double cover the towering Parker, leaving him in single coverage more often than not. If he’s able to stay healthy (big “if”), Parker should be able to give Tagovailoa a reliable weapon on the outside and a security blanket on key third downs and red zone opportunities.
Fantasy bottom line: Draft Parker as a low-end WR2 or high-end FLEX option. The mid-rounds of 10-team, PPR drafts feels about right.
WR Will Fuller
Dolphins GM Chris Grier added Fuller on a one-year, roughly $10 million deal in free agency to provide a speedy and reliable spark that Miami was sorely missing on the perimeter last year. When healthy, Fuller is one of the most dynamic and game-changing talents in the NFL. He can blaze past corners or take a screen pass to the house, and he’ll pull significant attention away from the bigger bodies on this offense in Parker and tight end Mike Gesicki. The real question: can he stay healthy? If so, he could see 7-9 targets per game with every single one being a potential big-play payoff.
Fantasy bottom line: Going from Deshaun Watson to Tagovailoa is a downgrade, but Fuller’s ability to take any given target to the house can’t be underestimated. He has WR1 potential any given week, though his injury history should be taken into account before you think about drafting him before the likes of other high upside options like Tee Higgins or Chase Claypool. Side note: Fuller will finish serving out a suspension in Week 1.
WR Jaylen Waddle
Waddle may not provide a large fantasy output right from the gate, but he’ll likely become an integral part of Miami’s offense pretty quickly. He already has a phenomenal rapport with Tagovailoa, and, like Fuller, Waddle takes targets to the house at a far higher rate than most other pass catchers. His yards-after-catch ability rivals just about anyone, and his draft status should help him see the field pretty early. Whether he’s the starting slot receiver in three-wideout sets will be an important situation to monitor during training camp if you plan on counting on Waddle in your starting lineup.
Fantasy bottom line: If your league-mates tend to be wary of rookies in your re-draft leagues, you could pounce on Waddle in the middle rounds when the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Curtis Samuel are coming off the board. It’s all about your tolerance for risk here.
If you’re in a dynasty league, you can be comfortable taking Waddle in the middle of the first round in a rookies-only draft. Parker’s relatively low cap hit through 2023 and Fuller’s potential to be franchise tagged both leave the duo with the chance to be around for another couple of years in Miami, but Waddle should surpass them in the pecking order before long.
RB Myles Gaskin
Outside of Tagovailoa, Gaskin was the top beneficiary of Miami’s draft. There have been rumors that Grier was targeting UNC rookie Javonte Williams at pick 36, but head coach Brian Flores seemed so damn happy after the team’s selection of Jevon Holland that I don’t buy that rumor. Gaskin is set to lead a unit rounded out by free agent signee Malcolm Brown, second-year runner Salvon Ahmed (who impressed in limited action last season), and rookie Gerrid Doaks.
Brown and Doaks provide bigger bodies who could potentially siphon goal-line or short yardage work, but this is Gaskin’s backfield to lose. He played well on all three downs last season, and Flores had confidence in the former Washington Huskies star whether the team was nursing a lead or chasing a comeback.
Fantasy bottom line: Gaskin has sneaky high-end RB2 potential, especially in PPR leagues, if he can stay healthy and retain a strangle hold on the snap share. He displayed dangerous ability out of the backfield and shiftiness between the tackles in 2020. Watch for how Miami distributes snaps during training camp and the preseason, but you can feel comfortable investing in Gaskin as your second or third running back.
TE Mike Gesicki
Gesicki’s breakout should continue in 2021. He was one of Tagovailoa’s favorite weapons last season, he is one of the most athletic tight ends in the league, and there’s no reason to believe any of Miami’s depth options at the position are going to steal a significant number of targets. Long will surely work his way up on the depth chart, but more as a complementary weapon and blocker in his rookie season. Durham Smythe, Adam Shaheen, and free agent signee Cethan Carter will provide insurance and special teams support more than they will offensive firepower.
Fantasy bottom line: Draft Gesicki with confidence if you’re not going to opt for a premium tight end in Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Darren Waller, Mark Andrews, or T.J. Hockenson in the top tier. If you can draft him as a combo tight end to rotate with the likes of Dallas Goedert, Noah Fant, Robert Tonyan, or Logan Thomas, you’ll be in great shape at the position.
This article was written by The Phinsider staff writer Justin Hier. For more from Justin, follow him on Twitter @HierJustin.