Updated: Jul 26, 2022
The new-look Miami Dolphins are one of the most fascinating teams heading into the 2022 fantasy football season. Brian Flores is out as the Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins, and first-time Head Coach Mike McDaniel is in. McDaniel comes to Miami after spending the last
5 seasons in San Francisco under Kyle Shanahan. McDaniel’s been with Shanahan since 2011 where they spent three years together in Washington, one year together in Cleveland, and two years together in Atlanta before heading to the Niners (they also spent 2006-2008 together with the Houston Texans).
The Dolphins offense also looks significantly different than it did last year, losing DeVante Parker but replacing him with Tyreek Hill. They also used their 4th round pick on Erik Ezukanma, signed Cedrick Wilson away from Dallas and completely revamped their RB room, bringing in free agents Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert and Sony Michel to compete with incumbent Myles Gaskin. Tua Tagovailoa remains the starter in Miami—and it seems like the Dolphins are finally ready to REALLY commit to him—but he has a more than capable backup behind him in Teddy Bridgewater.
The arrow is pointing up on this team. ⬆️ But it remains to be seen how this will all play out from a fantasy football standpoint.
So let's speculate, shall we?
Tua Tagovailoa 📈
2021 fantasy points per game: 14.06 (QB 24)
2020 fantasy points per game: 12.32 (QB 34)
It’s been a rough two-year start to the 24-year-old’s career, dealing with injuries and a blatant lack of faith in him as rumors swirled about the Dolphins trading for Deshaun Watson. Tagovailoa played in 13 games last season, finishing with 2,544 passing yards (26th "most"), 15 TDs (25th) and 10 interceptions while adding 3 rushing TDs with is legs (9th). In 23 fantasy football games played, Tagovailoa has scored 20 or more fantasy points just 17.39% of the time and has NEVER hit 30 fantasy points (his career high is 27.04) in his career.
This *should* be the best year of the first-round pick’s career, though we know that’s not quite saying much. Still, with what looks like the full confidence of the organization to go along with a creative head coach, an elite weapon in Tyreek Hill, an emerging stud in Jaylen Waddle, a solid tight end in Mike Gesicki and countless respectable options in the backfield, Tagovailoa won’t have many excuses to fall back on if he faceplants in year 3.
Fantasy Drafts: As of 6/24/2022, Tagovailoa is being drafted as the 17th QB off the board around pick 132, the end of the 11th round into the early 12th. That seems about right for a guy that *should* take a step forward in a creative offense. That said, I admittedly don’t have much exposure to him through 100+ drafts. The price is fine, but you can also get similar guys like Trevor Lawrence, Jameis Winston, Matt Ryan, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones and Carson Wentz after him.
Still, I’m likely to increase my exposure as the summer progresses, and I think the 11th-12th round is a perfectly fine place to bet on that upside.
Obviously in your typical one QB redraft league, Teddy Two-Gloves can be ignored entirely. That said, if I’m in a Superflex league, Bridgewater is high on my backups-to-target list, especially considering Tagovailoa’s early-career struggles and injury history.
Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel and Myles Gaskin
Miami’s backfield is a certifiable mess heading into 2022.
Which also creates opportunity for Zero RB drafters if one of these guys can emerge as the leader of the pack.
The 26-year-old free agent from Arizona, Chase Edmonds, *looks* like the “starter” on paper due to his $6.1 million in guaranteed money. He’ll get the first crack at being the lead guy, but fellow free agents Raheem Mostert—who followed Mike McDaniel to Miami after spending the last 5 seasons with him in San Francisco—and Sony Michel—who’s shown he can play after supplanting Darrell Henderson as the Rams’ starter last season—will be right behind him (or maybe even right beside him).
We just don’t know how this will shake out but here’s what we DO know...
In his first year as an Offensive Coordinator last season, Mike McDaniel’s 49ers had the:
- 5th most rushing attempts (29.35 per game)
- 7th most rushing yards (127.41 per game)
- 6th most rushing TDs (22)
- 8th most rushing 1st downs (7.65 per game)
And coming from the Kyle Shanahan tree, McDaniel continuing to keep the ball on the ground in Miami would surprise no one.
Elijah Mitchell served as the lead back in San Francisco last season, hitting 20 PPR points in 18.18% of his games and 10 or more PPR points in 63.64% of his games.
And in three games that he missed, one of his teammates was able to step in and hit at least 14 PPR points.
TLDR, if someone IS able to emerge as the clear lead back, there’s some fantasy value there.
Fantasy Drafts: Typically in scenarios like this—crowded, unclear backfields—it’s smart to take the later options that have receiving prowess and *could* step into a big role with an injury or surprisingly superior play. That said, all of these options are already priced quite cheap.
As of 6/24/2022, Chase Edmonds is drafted as the RB 36 around pick 113 (10th round).
That’s notable since Edmonds finished as the RB 25 in PPR points per game last season while splitting time with James Conner in Arizona. He also finished as the RB 25 in total PPR points in 2020, so his current status as RB 36 seems like a steal considering the upside as a penciled in RB 1 in a Mike McDaniel offense. Candidly, I’m realizing as I write this that I need to increase my exposure to Chase Edmonds; I don’t have enough after 100+ best ball drafts so far.
Raheem Mostert is even cheaper—significantly—at RB 56 around pick 187 (16th round). I have plenty of exposure to Mostert and he’s a worthwhile late dart for Zero RB drafters.
Same goes for Sony Michel who goes as the RB 62 around pick 206 (18th round).
Myles Gaskin goes around pick 216 (18th round) as the RB 90 but can likely be ignored altogether; I’m guessing the new regime wouldn’t have added three free agent RBs if they were sold on Gaskin.
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle 📉
There’s A LOT we don’t know about how things will shake out with the 2022 Miami Dolphins, and how the WR room will play out is one of those things.
The good news is that Jaylen Waddle performed well as a rookie with Tua Tagovailoa last year, registering 15.61 PPR points per game (WR 6).
The bad news is that it got significantly more crowded when the Dolphins traded for Tyreek Hill. Obviously having two great WRs is a good thing in real football, but can Tagovailoa support TWO elite weapons in fantasy football?
While Waddle was terrific last year, the next closest Dolphins WR was DeVante Parker with 11.14 PPR points per game (WR 41). (And the next closest after that was Mack Hollins with 3.77 PPR points per game, WR 134).
And now comes to town a new Head Coach that was one of the run-heaviest Offensive Coordinators in all of football last year.
In his first year as an Offensive Coordinator last season, Mike McDaniel’s 49ers ran the 7th fewest plays in football (61.5 per game) and, worse than that, threw the ball just 30.2 times per game, the 4th fewest in the sport.
Conversely, Brian Flores' Dolphins last season ran the 11th most plays per game last season (64.5) and threw the ball 36.2 times per game, the 9th most in football. And Tua was still really only able to support one receiver, Jaylen Waddle, from a fantasy perspective.
So can he support two top-tier WRs in an even slower, less-pass-heavy offense?
Or...can Mike McDaniel support two top-tier WRs?
McDaniel did produce an elite WR 3 overall last season in Deebo Samuel (20.67 PPR points per game)—and even then that’s insanely buoyed by Samuel’s 320 rushing yards and whopping SEVEN rushing TDs—but his next closest WR was Brandon Aiyuk at WR 56 (9.6 PPR points per game).
You *could* say this is a whole new situation, and you’d be right.
But the 2022 Miami Dolphins actually look a lot like the 2021 San Francisco 49ers; question marks at QB, unsettled backfield, two strong receivers, a threat at TE, etc.
So the question remains; can Tua—and McDaniel for that matter—support two high-priced WRs for fantasy football purposes?
Fantasy Drafts: As of 6/24/2022, Tyreek Hill is drafted as the WR 9 around pick 21 (late 2nd round) and Jaylen Waddle is drafted as the WR 16 around pick 36 (3rd-4th round turn). That’s awfully expensive/risky for the uncertainty they face, and I think both guys are being drafted at their absolute ceiling (and, by the way, even if ONE of them performs to their ADP, that likely means the other won’t).
I’m “fine” with Hill in the late 2nd but I cringe when I take him there. I’d rather have Aaron Jones, Saquon Barkley and Mike Evans who are all drafted in a similar spot.
Likewise, I have minimal shares of Jaylen Waddle as he’s often drafted around similar upside guys with a lot less risk like Michael Pittman, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Terry McLaurin, and more.
Cedrick Wilson 📉
Tua Tagovailoa’s WR 3 last year, Mack Hollins, registered 3.77 PPR points per game to finish as the WR 134.
And again, they threw the ball more than this Dolphins team will with Mike McDaniel in town.
McDaniel’s 3rd best WR finish last season was Jauan Jennings with 3.65 PPR points per game (WR 138).
Cedrick Wilson is currently drafted as the WR 100 around pick 214 (18th round). Obviously that’s not expensive, but I also don’t see the point. Miami doesn’t seem likely to effectively support two WRs let alone three.
Mike Gesicki 📉
2021 PPR points per game: 10.05 (TE 13)
2020 PPR points per game: 10.62 (TE 9)
In 2 seasons with Tua Tagovailoa at QB, Mike Gesicki has played in 31 fantasy football games (not all with Tua), registering 10 or more PPR points in 35.48% of them and 20 or more PPR points in 12.9% of them. He’s never hit 30 PPR points in the last two seasons.
In his first season as an Offensive Coordinator last year with the San Francisco 49ers, it’s easy to get excited when you see Geroge Kittle finished with 14.77 PPR points per game, good for TE 3 overall. That can’t be a BAD thing for Mike Gesicki. “What if Gesicki is the new Kittle?!”
Well not only is Mike Gesicki not George Kittle, but I think there's actually cause for concern:
Gesicki is not Kittle—that's needs to be reiterated
Miami brought in some serious target competition in Tyreek Hill, moving Gesicki from 2nd to 3rd—at best—in the pecking order
With the hiring of McDaniel, the Dolphins are moving from one of the pass-heaviest offenses to the one of least pass-heavy offenses in football
Lower raw volume from a team total standpoint and lower individual volume from a totem pole standpoint are not great developments for a guy who buttered his bread on targets (108, 3rd most), catches (71, 4th most), and yards (758, 7th most) last year and not TDs (2, 34th “most”).
Fantasy Drafts: Gesicki is drafted as the TE 12 around pick 132 (11th round). Obviously that’s not super expensive, but it’s worth noting that Irv Smith, Cole Kmet, Robert Tonyan, Albert Okwuegbunam, Hunter Henry, David Njoku, Gerald Everett, Tyler Higbee, Noah Fant, Evan Engram, Cameron Brate, Logan Thomas and Austin Hooper can all be drafted after Gesicki for much cheaper.
That's a wrap on the Miami Dolphins (for now). Tomorrow I will be publishing Episode 3 of the Basement Brewed Fantasy Football Podcast to discuss this in greater detail. Please be sure to tune in and/or watch it on YouTube!
Next week I will be publishing my 2022 Fantasy Football Draft Kits! Discounted pricing ends 7/1 so if you're trying to take advantage of the discount, do it right here, right now! :)