The Miami Dolphins exploded into the 2022 NFL offseason with a blockbuster trade for wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The move added the speedster wide receiver to an offense featuring second-year wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, giving Miami a powerful one-two combination outside.
Hill, the projections said before the season, would clearly take a step back when not playing with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, instead catching passes from third-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, a quarterback who did not have the arm strength to exploit Hill’s speed.
Hill’s production without Mahomes did not exactly suffer, however, as he caught more passes than in any other season of his career, had more receiving yards than any other season in his career, finishing second in the league, and was named to the Pro Bowl and selected as a First-Team All-Pro.
What will his 2023 season look like and how will that translate to fantasy production?
2022 fantasy performance
Hill finished the 2022 season with 1,710 yards on 119 receptions but with just seven touchdowns. The biggest detriment to Hill’s production throughout the season was clearly the health of Tagovailoa, who was limited to just 13 of the team’s 17 games due to concussions. Hill averaged 115.9 receiving yards per game with seven receptions per game when Tagovailoa played the majority of the game. In the games without Tagovailoa, Hill averaged 75.5 receiving yards on 6.25 receptions. The Tagovailoa to Hill connection was huge in 2022 and will be again in 2023, assuming Tagovailoa can stay healthy.
Hill also rushed seven times for 32 yards with a score in 2022.
Dolphins quarterbacks targeted Hill on nearly one-third of their passes during the season,
He finished the fantasy season as the second-ranked wide receiver in the league in full-PPR leagues. He was third in non-PPR and in half-PPR leagues. Week 2 was his high point, scoring over 40 points that week when he caught 11 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged around 20 points per game over the course of the season (full PPR).
2023 best-case projection
The best-case scenario for Hill this year is simply to have Tagovailoa healthy throughout the year. The two clearly developed chemistry quickly last season and it should grow into this season, especially as Hill gets more familiar with the offense and the routes in his second year in Miami. The 2,000-yard mark, which would require a 117.6 yards-per-game average, does feel like a possibility for Hill, and he is motivated to reach it.
Hill set Dolphins single-season franchise records in receiving yards (1,710) and receptions (119) in his first year with the team. He will be looking to surpass both of those marks in 2023.
In the best-case scenario, he is able to do exactly that. Hill could be re-writing Dolphins and NFL record books this season. If Hill were to reach his goal of 2,000 yards at his career average of 13.9 yards per reception, he would need to catch 144 passes. If he were to get to 144 receptions, he would likely want to add another six to break Michael Thomas’ record of 149 receptions in a season, set in 2019. In a best-case scenario, that is what Hill would be doing.
2023 worst-case projection
Obviously, the worst-case projection for every player is an injury-shortened season, but we are going to rule that out. There is the possibility of a suspension for Hill after a situation at a Miami area marina in which the receiver allegedly slapped a worker. The NFL could mete out a suspension to Hill, even if charges are not filed in the case, under the league’s personal conduct policy.
Assuming Hill is healthy and available throughout the year, the worst-case scenario is Tagovailoa being injured. Miami’s quarterbacks behind Tagovailoa are Mike White and Skylar Thompson. The offense as a whole is taking a step back should Tagovailoa miss playing time in 2023.
Counting Hill in 2022, there have only been 11 seasons in which a receiver has surpassed 1,700 receiving yards. All of them saw a regression in the following season. These are names like Calvin Johnson (1,964 yards in 2012), Cooper Kupp (1,947 yards in 2021), Julio Jones (1,871 yards in 2015), and Jerry Rice (1,848 in 1995). Only two of those seasons have come by players over 28 years old — Hill’s age last year — Rice was 32 in 1995 and Marvin Harrison was 30 in 2002 when he reached 1,722 yards.
Miami’s head coach Mike McDaniel has said he is going to look to run the ball more than they did in 2022. McDaniel knows the weapons he has at the receiver position, however, so he is not going to ignore them. It could bring Hill back to the pack a little in 2023 though.
Miami’s running game looks just like last year’s group, headlined by Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, Jr., but rumors continue to swirl that they could sign Dalvin Cook. The addition of Cook, while immediately adding to McDaniel’s plan to run the ball more, could also free up the receivers as defenses worry about a Pro Bowl running back as well.
Hill will likely see some regression because 1,700 yards is not a common mark for the NFL, and there is still Tagovailoa’s health to consider. Could he reach the heights of the best-case scenario? Absolutely. Is it likely? Maybe not.
The obvious answer is Jaylen Waddle, but according to ESPN, the average draft position for Hill is 8.5 and Waddle is 23.8. It is very hard to justify grabbing two receivers from the same team that early in your draft. It could prove to be an amazing move if they both have huge years like they did last year, but bye-week considerations and needs at other positions make that a difficult choice.
Robbie Chosen and Braxton Berrios may be the better options for a Dolphins handcuff. No one is going to match Hill’s production, but those two are most likely the third and fourth options on the roster right now for Miami. Both are likely to go undrafted, while Cedrick Wilson, Jr., is being selected as a late-round flyer right now. After a disappointing 2022, Wilson could have to prove himself in the preseason before he is considered a lock to make the roster.
Other Dolphins to consider
Waddle is the top option to consider after Hill. They are among the elite receiving duos in the league and they should each put up big numbers this season.
Tagovailoa will be throwing the ball to both receivers, which will allow him to rack up the fantasy points. The injury concern is there, so he is not going to be considered an elite option and he is currently being drafted at 114.3, according to ESPN, so you can probably stash him on your bench in the draft, then use him as you need during the season without destroying your fantasy season if he is injured.
The Dolphins defense should be a dominating one this year. Between a secondary featuring Xavien Howard, Jalen Ramsey, Jevon Holland, and Brandon Jones, a pass rush led by Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, and Andrew Van Ginkel, and a defensive front including Christian Wilkins, Zach Sieler, and Emmanuel Ogbah, the players are there to make Miami’s defense a scary one. The addition of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio this offseason should turn a scary defense into an elite one.