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Miami Dolphins 2021 Fantasy Football Preview

How Tua Tagovailoa looks in his second year could make or break fantasy leagues. Here's a breakdown of the roster for fantasy this season.

It has been a long time since the Super Bowl, and remembering exactly how things left off last year can be a challenge. So, I’ll be writing up a fantasy preview for each NFL team to give us a quick refresher on what happened last year, and what changes took place in the offseason. All fantasy stats will be in ESPN scoring format unless otherwise noted.

If I missed any change or left out any big notes, throw them down in the comments for me!

What Did They Do Last Year

The Dolphins went 10-6, ending their season both with the best record of any team to miss the playoffs, and I would argue, as the best looking team not to make the playoffs.

In head coach Brian Flores’s second season with Miami, the Dolphins jumped from 5 to 10 wins. Miami ranked 15th in points scored, and 5th overall in points allowed in 2020. Those ranks represent what you see on tape with the Dolphins: very good defense coupled with an offense that is at least serviceable. 

Miami continued their balanced approach to team building, divvying up their draft capital between the offensive and defensive side of the ball pretty evenly (more on the draft below). 

Miami appears to be very much a team on the rise.

28Ryan Fitzpatrick91832672,091138301512146.716.3
31Tua Tagovailoa101862901,814115361093133.513.3

What to expect from Tua Tagovailoa is a huge question both for the Dolphins and fantasy drafters alike. The offense was able to move the ball and score with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, and Tua showed a couple of flashes once he got his chance. I think it is fair to simply call his performance up and down rather than trying to build a case for his Hall of Fame application or getting a head start on his career obituary. 

The Dolphins, unlike an inexplicable number of Twittertonians, are not quite ready to give up on their potential franchise QB after he didn’t set the world on fire in limited action in his rookie season. Miami made several moves to beef up the supporting cast around Tua, drafting wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and signing free agent receiver Will Fuller to name a few moves, and Ryan Fitzpatrick has left the building. 

Tagovailoa is another year removed from a devastating hip injury suffered at Alabama. He reports his hip “feels 10 times better…” per South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Safid Deen.

Tua’s fantasy cost is just about nothing. He’s sporting a 13.03 ADP (per Fantasy Football Calculator), QB19, just behind Kirk Cousins, just ahead of Taysom Hill. If this ends up being the price tag when draft season comes around, Tua will be a lock to be on most of QB-by-committee teams. He’s ranked our QB23 in our staff rankings.

Wide Receivers
4046DeVante Parker14103637934103.37.4166.311.88
94100Jakeem Grant145436373145.
9990Preston Williams83518288452.86.670.88.85
112124Isaiah Ford94328276027.
130130Mack Hollins92516176121.62.437.64.18
150150Malcolm Perry813992115.7224.73.09
200199Antonio Callaway34220020.741.33

I’ll start with Miami’s receiver corps ADP (.5PPR, per FF Calculator): Will Fuller: 7.04 (behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, ahead of Courtland Sutton), 95 ADP on the Sleeper app; DeVante Parker: 8.11 (Behind Jarvis Landry, ahead of Marquise Brown), 128 on Sleeper; Jaylen Waddle: 13.02 (Behind Mecole Hardman, ahead of Christian Kirk) – 82 on Sleeper.

This ADP spread shows a couple of things. First, we’re at the point in the offseason where ADP is very much in flux so take all the ADP data with a grain of salt, and second, the fantasy community doesn’t have a great idea how usage will break out in Miami. 

Fuller turned in impressive fantasy production as the Houston Texans WR1 before getting suspended for performance enhancing drug use. Fuller avoided more of those pesky hamstring issues, finally, for the year. If he falls a little I’d be happy to take a shot on him as my WR2/WR3, but he’s a little too high for me for now with all the unknowns. 

Parker continues to show true WR1 skills just before he breaks your heart. Will this be the year Parker puts it all together? He’s worth a late-round dart.

Jaylen Waddle is an exciting dynasty asset, but betting on rookie wide receiver production is a great way to go broke. For more on this topic, check out this article by the venerable Pete Rogers breaking down just how productive rookie receivers tend to be in fantasy football. I’ll pass on Waddle anywhere near his current Sleeper ADP. In the 13th round, though, why not take a shot?

Running Backs
2827Myles Gaskin10142584347413882123.212.3164.216.42
6565Salvon Ahmed67531931411610569.36711.17
8079Matt Breida10592540109960353.5444.4
9284Jordan Howard73560411-3029.
7889Lynn Bowden Jr.993203728211024.32.752.35.81
99110Patrick Laird9137201210680141.6242.67
146151Chandler Cox200022900.

The Dolphins must be pretty pleased with what they have at running back. They waited until the seventh round to draft a back, selecting Gerrid Doaks out of Cincinnati, and the only free agent of note, to use the term pretty loosely, was Malcom Brown. 

Myles Gaskin has an ADP of 52 on Sleeper. If you’re passing on running backs at the tippy-top of your draft, taking a shot on Gaskin, the presumed starter, early in the fifth feels like a solid move. Gaskin is currently ranked our RB27 in .5PPR this year.

Taking a shot on Malcom Brown or Lynn Bowden Jr. near the end of your draft could pay dividends with so much uncertainty in Miami’s backfield. 

Tight End
75Mike Gesicki1585537036106.37.1159.310.62
4946Adam Shaheen1322121503332.5453.46
4447Durham Smythe133026208232.82.558.84.52

Mike Gesicki is one of many tight ends worth taking a shot on if you miss out on the big three difference makers (Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, George Kittle), but he’s a consolation prize at best at the moment. He’s going in the middle of the sixth round per Sleeper ADP, seventh at FF Calculator.

With that price tag, I’ll be taking a few shots on Gesicki breaking out this season. 

2021 Draft

The Dolphins played Bill O’Brien (and the Houston Texans) like a fiddle in the Laremy Tunsil trade, and that trade has paid and is paying huge dividends for Miami. The Dolphins drafted Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama) at No. 6 overall before selecting Jaelan Phillips (LB, Miami) with their second first-round pick. 

The Dolphins will continue making hay off that trade at least through 2023 where they will have San Francisco’s first-round pick courtesy of their move back from the 2021 No. 3 selection. 

I’ll say again, Miami is on the rise. 

The Schedule

According to Warren Sharp’s amazing schedule work, the Dolphins have the 10th easiest schedule based on opponents projected wins totals. 

Miami has a pretty nice run of potentially soft opponents to close out the season, facing the New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, and New York Giants in Week 11 through Week 13 before their bye in Week 14. The Dolphins then close the season against the Jets, New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans, and New England Patriots. 

What Does It All Mean?!?! (AKA – Bold predictions)

Tua is a screaming value, an absolute target if you’re waiting on QBs. For the backs, receivers, and tight ends, uncertainty around usage and Tagovailoa taking that next step are keeping costs pretty reasonable. 

How the Dolphins divvy up touches will swing a lot of leagues in 2021.


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