What’s the fantasy outlook for Tua Tagovailoa?
By Zach Attack @FFChalupaBatman
Tua Tagovailoa had a rookie year to forget, but he is being ranked too low by the experts. In dynasty, FantasyPros has Tua ranked consensus QB16, and in redraft ESPN has him ranked consensus QB24! If I did rankings I would have Tua at QB12/13 in dynasty (depends on Deshaun Watson) and QB18 in redraft. Good news, if you like Tua, you can draft him at a value in dynasty and redraft.
Let’s go back a bit to Tua’s senior year at Alabama in November 2019. Tua suffered a serious hip injury (dislocation). Before the injury he was projected to be a top 2 2020 NFL Draft pick. He ended up being selected at #5 by the Miami Dolphins. Tua had a tough rookie offseason since he was rehabbing and dealing with new COVID protocols for the offseason program and training camp. Then Tua sat on the bench until he got his first NFL start in Week 8 after a bye week. There was some controversy because Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing well and the Dolphins had a chance of making the playoffs. It never seemed like Chan Gailey, the offensive coordinator, was on the same page as Tua and there seemed to be a lack of trust in Tua with the offense. All of this led to a mediocre rookie season for Tua, but there is hope that he will take a significant leap in year 2.
Since the Miami Dolphins 2020 10-win season ended with a 30 point loss to the Bills in Week 17, they have been busy making improvements. In free agency, the Dolphins signed Will Fuller, 27, to a one-year deal. Before his 6 game suspension (will miss Week 1 in 2021) for PEDs, Fuller was having his best statistical season with the Houston Texans with 879 yards and 8 TDs in 11 games. Fuller has issues with injuries and has missed 29 games in five seasons. However, when he is healthy, he is a 6’ tall WR with 4.32 40-yard speed. A deep ball speedy WR was missing from the Dolphins offense in 2020. DeVante Parker isn’t slow with a 4.45 40-yard at 6’3”, but he is more known as big “go up for the contested catch” kind of WR. Originally, the Dolphins had the 3rd pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, but after a couple of trades, they had the 6th pick. They drafted the second WR off the board with the 6th pick, Jaylen Waddle, who played with Tua at the University of Alabama. Waddle is a speedster and several people like to compare him to Tyreek Hill. Only time will tell if Waddle can live up to the Hill comp, but he can take the top off of the defense, which will open up the field for Tua to make easy completions underneath. That will be an impressive WR trio on the field this season: Fuller, Waddle, and Parker. Then in the 2nd round, the Dolphins selected OT Liam Eichenberg to help stabilize the offensive line more. All three of these player moves will help Tua improve in his second year. This year Tua will have a full offseason program while healthy and will get to practice with his teammates and continue to build a rapport with his skill players. Tua will also have a new offensive coordinator, actually, two of them, Eric Studesville and George Godsey will be offensive co-coordinators. This season the offense will be built to highlight Tua’s strengths and they will take advantage of their new offensive weapons. All of those “negative” factors earlier have pushed Tua down the ranks. The narrative this offseason has not accounted for Tua’s improved health and more practice time with teammates. Tua is being ranked too low, and he is a steal in both dynasty and redraft leagues right now.