The Miami Dolphins were an upstart team in 2020 thanks to the stellar play of their defense and timely offensive outbursts. The quarterback situation was as unique as we’ve seen in recent years. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie Tua Tagovailoa rotated starts and relief duty, making a strange dynamic that led to 10 wins.
Fitzpatrick’s magic eventually ran out and Tagovailoa is now the undisputed guy in Miami. The Dolphins have worked hard to add talent around him and will continue to do so in the 2021 NFL Draft. Expectations around the league is Miami will draft a receiver sixth overall after trading down and then back up.
One of their key pickups was former Houston Texans stud receiver Will Fuller. Fuller joined DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki as primary pass-catchers for Tua. The 27-year-old is one of the fastest men in the league and a devastatingly effective weapon even when he doesn’t have the ball coming to him.
Fuller boasts one of the best gravitational pulls in the league. Film often reveals how opposing defenses rotate safety and linebacker help his way to protect cornerbacks from losing on an island. Knowing this, a quarterback can feast on single coverage or weak zones opposite Fuller, which Dolphin backers will love for their online sports betting.
Deshaun Watson benefited greatly from having Fuller available. Watson’s passer rating jumped about 15 points higher with Fuller on the field, making his numbers as good as anyone in the league. Fuller’s deep prowess and underrated deep route-running skill transformed the Texans’ offense.
We can expect much of the same in Miami in 2021 even as we don’t fully know what to expect from an offense with co-coordinators running the show. An offense with Tua at the helm can be multi-dimensional thanks to his skill set. We saw Tua be more of a game manager as a rookie, and that’s not surprising.
But Tua clearly had the ability to takeover games in college and he’s a willing creator when he’s comfortable. Miami’s usage of assets this offseason may help him be more comfortable getting out of the pocket and finding big plays. He’s also another full offseason removed from hip surgery and recovery.
Tua’s deep passing in college was great, and his timing and touch translate to every level. He must be more aggressive than what we saw last year but there’s plenty of reason to see why he wasn’t. Miami lacked real options and quality blocking for him, on top of Chan Gailey organizing a weak scheme.
Fuller and the presumed rookie addition will help prevent stagnation from the offense this season. Availability is the biggest question with Fuller, which is why he signed for only one-year and $10.6 million. He’ll miss the first game of the year due to his six-game suspension for PED usage, continuing his streak of missing at least one game every season. He hasn’t played in more than 11 games since his rookie year.
That’s an issue for Miami if it continues. Though Fuller’s average yards per catch will be a fantastic addition to the unit, the only way he justifies a roster spot is being great when he’s on the field, because he does miss games with nicks, bruises, and has been suspended twice.
The good news is he catches around 70 percent of his targets for a whopping 15 yards per catch, and converted 38 first downs last year. His reliability as a pass catcher was in serious doubt because of shaky hands but there’s been growth. The drops and missed games are worth the payoff and Miami hopes that the signing will hep them get the division crown.
Projecting Fuller for a full season with Tua likely means his yards per catch drops a little, but he should see more targets than ever before as Miami expands his role. He doesn’t have to be a Mike Wallace deep threat only because he’s more well-rounded. It’s reasonable to expect 70 catches for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns in 2021.
He’s currently being drafted 77th overall and 34th among receivers in Fantasy Football. His downsides make him less valuable and it’s fair to fade him. We’re buying him at this cost with reasonable expectations he’s a boom or bust pick. Take him if you need a weekly high-upside but inconsistent contributor.