A Look Inside: 2021 Miami Dolphins

The 2020 season was crazy for everyone and it was no different for the Miami Dolphins. They started great under Ryan Fitzpatrick only to turn to Tua Tagovailoa for some inexplicable reason. After realizing their mistake, they turned back to Fitzpatrick only to miss the playoffs when he contracted COVID before the final week of the season.

Fitzpatrick is now gone, and it is time for Tua in Miami. The team’s success is now completely on his shoulders. Is he the future or should they have kept their number three pick in this year’s draft and taken his replacement?

Note: You can follow the entire Look Inside series with this link and you can watch the full No Punt Intended episode on Youtube below with special guest Marcas Grant from NFL Media!

Quarterbacks

Tua was not fully healthy at all last season. After a devastating hip injury in his final season at Alabama, the Dolphins planned to slow-play him in Year One. They did not and it cost them a playoff berth. Entering Year Two, Tua and the Dolphins have both said he is now 100%. We will wait to see for sure. We do know the team let Ryan Fitzpatrick go to Washington. Now, it’s Jacoby Brissett from the Colts to be the new backup. Although serviceable, he is not the threat Fitzpatrick was to Tua last year. This shows the confidence Miami has that Tua will succeed.

Accuracy has never been an issue for Tua. It has been health and weapons. Both of which have been seemingly addressed in the off-season. Between rehabbing the hip and bringing in weapons like former teammate Jaylen Waddle, everything is set up for Tua to be better. Although this should be the case, I am still not comfortable anointing him as a top-12 quarterback.

He would make a great QB2 in a Super-Flex or two-quarterback league but, in a single quarterback league, there are much better options. A player like Carson Wentz in Indianapolis or Kirk Cousins in Minnesota would be a far better bet. Unless you are excited by 181 yards per game and a Teddy Bridgewater-like 6.3 yards per attempt.

Running Backs

Little was expected from the Miami Dolphins running backs in 2020. Adam Gase was gone, and he took all of his players with him. Although this should have been a sign of better things to come, we were still unsure as Miami would be able to count on Myles Gaskin to carry the load. For most of the season, he did just that.

Although not the goal-line back for Miami, as shown by only three rushing touchdowns, Gaskin still ran the ball 14.2 times per game in his 10-game season. Only one season after Ryan Fitzpatrick led the team in rushing, Gaskin did so in 2020 with 584. Best of all? The Dolphins did not draft anyone this season to replace or challenge him. This means the team, and therefore fantasy managers, should have confidence in Gaskin. Although he is not an elite option, he can be drafted as your RB2 with a chance to be a low-end RB1. If Gaskin does miss time or is ineffective, the Dolphins still have Salvon Ahmed to come in.

With 75 rushes and 319 yards of his own, the 4.3 yards per carry that Ahmed managed was even better than the numbers put up by Gaskin. He also managed just three rushing touchdowns. Although not as highly thought of coming out of the same University of Washington as Gaskin, he proved himself to be nearly as capable behind the same offensive line. Although his 197-pound frame is a bit small, he will still get all the work if the team must turn to him. This would make him a low-end RB2 at worst. As for now, he is no more than a late-round handcuff. One not worth taking except in the deepest of leagues. If you need him later in the season, he will likely be on waivers and available for your choosing.

Wide Receivers

There are many players on the Dolphins at the wide receiver position. They are just that. Players. Whether it be Jakeem Grant, Preston Williams, or Albert Wilson, they have not done much to inspire the type of confidence needed to want to draft any of them. In fact, there are only three of those players worth mentioning.

The first of those, and the longest-tenured player of the bunch, is DeVante Parker. After a disappointing start to his career, Parker came on strong in 2019. In a 2020 season surrounded by a lot of turmoil at the quarterback position, Parker still caught 63 receptions for 793 yards and four touchdowns. With Tua behind center and firmly entrenched as the starter, Parker and the others will be able to get more work and feel more comfortable with him. This should allow the entire group to get better this season.

Although he may be the safest, Parker does not have the highest ceiling of the wide receivers. This allows him to fall the furthest in fantasy drafts. This is also the reason I would be targeting him over the other two players when it comes to your fantasy team. He has the ability to be a WR2 with the downside being a WR3. This is something I would look for as a safety play at my Flex or WR3 roster slot.

While Parker does not have the WR1 upside, incoming rookie Jaylen Waddle just might. He is a burner who can also run great routes. On top of this, he also has a rapport with Tua from their days together in college. This familiarity and his draft stock as the sixth overall pick means that he is going to get all the opportunities in the world to succeed. On the other hand, he is coming off an ankle injury that cost him most of his final season in college.

After playing the first three games, he basically missed the rest of the season. He did return to the field in the National Championship game against Ohio State. Even on a bad ankle and slowed greatly, he was still able to make plays and help the Crimson Tide to a title. His talent is undeniable, but it is not every year we see a rookie come in and play to the level Justin Jefferson did in 2020. Although he could be a WR1 at the end of the season, there is also a very real chance he finishes as a disappointment. With a draft cost higher than that of Parker, he could really hurt your chances of winning. Especially if you continue to keep him and thinking “this is the week”.

The other member of the wide receivers’ room to mention is Will Fuller. He finally stayed healthy last season for the Texans. After being suspended for the final three games (as well as Week 1 of 2021) for performance-enhancing drugs, we might know why. His speed and talent are undeniable. So is his tendency to get injured. This makes him the riskiest of the group. Not to mention, he is also the highest-drafted. Something which also scares me a bit. If he does hit, it could be massive.

Be careful in drafting him. Tua does not throw downfield much and this is where Fuller makes his money. He could get you a great week of four catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. But in other weeks, you might not get any catches at all. He has taken over the boom/bust mantle from DeSean Jackson. Sure, it is great when he hits, but how often will he do it?

Tight Ends

Mike Gesicki had a career year in 2020. He finished with 53 receptions for 703 yards and six touchdowns. It was a massive improvement for the third-year player from Penn State. As we move into 2021, there is a lot to be determined but also a lot to be optimistic about the play of Gesicki.

With a full offseason working with Tua and the rest of the offense, Gesicki could take another step forward. He is what we like to call a freak athlete at the tight end position. A vastly overused term. Despite this, he is extremely skilled and, at 6’6 and 250 pounds, a huge target in the red zone for an accurate quarterback. Add to this the depressed nature of the tight end position and you can do much worse than drafting Gesicki in your fantasy drafts.

He may not have the upside of Travis Kelce or Darren Waller. He also is not going to cost a top-two pick for your team either. This makes him one of the more intriguing players in the pack of also-rans. Tight ends who will go later in drafts but still have the talent to finish Top 5 with the right circumstances. Those circumstances for Gesicki are much less daunting than for others.

Whereas Dallas Goedert has to hope Zach Ertz is either traded or phased out and Tim Tebow has to deal with a rookie quarterback, Gesicki just has to hope for second-year progression from Tua. Something which is seemingly inevitable as Miami has done everything in their power to surround him with talent. If you believe in Tua, then you should also believe in Gesicki. Oh, as for the Tebow comment. That was just a joke.