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Fantasy Football: Why (or Why Not)? – Tua Tagovailoa

Why or why not? Let's dive into Tua Tagovailoa and whether or not he's worth your consideration in fantasy drafts this summer and fall.
Oct 18, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) drops back during the second half against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 18, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) drops back during the second half against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest question in the fantasy offseason is whether or not you should be buying or selling. You can find articles telling you to buy a player, then find other articles saying to sell that same player. However, it really comes down to price. Fantasy players should be viewed like assets, they either appreciate or depreciate. They also have a market price that they are bought and sold for, and the biggest edge in fantasy can be won by figuring out if the market is wrong on a player’s price. 

This offseason I will be writing a series of “Why (or Why Not)” articles to provide the best context I can, and share actionable advice, rather than just blanket generalizations about players. First up, Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa.

How We Got Here

In 2020, Miami selected Tagovailoa with the #5 overall pick. He was the second quarterback drafted behind Cincinnati's Joe Burrow. Tua had a very high pedigree at Alabama, including plenty of draft hype, until November 16th, 2019, when he suffered a severe hip injury. The injury panicked people around college football and the NFL, with many speculating whether or not Tua would be able to play football again, let alone play in his rookie season. 

Tua started his first game against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8, and he was less than impressive, only throwing for 93 yards on 22 attempts. Tua’s rookie campaign finished with much of the same, totaling 1,814 yards, 11 TD’s, and 5 INT’s. He was benched in at least one game for lackluster performance.

With rookies like Chargers’ QB Justin Herbert setting rookie records, and Joe Burrow putting up quality numbers until he suffered a season ending injury, it feels like Tua is the odd man out from that QB draft class. 

2020 Miami Dolphins

According to PFF, the Miami Dolphins offensive line ranked 21st in pass protection and 30th in run blocking. 

The Dolphins' receiving corps consisted of DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, Jakeem Grant, and Lynn Bowden Jr. 

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In games with DeVante Parker healthy, Tua averaged over seven more fantasy points per game. He had more passing yards, touchdowns, and a better completion percentage when his best weapon was on the field.

The offensive coordinator for the Dolphins was Chan Gailey, who is a well respected coach in the NFL, having coached since the 1980’s. However, Gailey hasn’t had a top 10 passing offense since 1998, and Gailey hasn't had a passing offense that finished in the top half of the league since the 1998 season. Gailey will not be returning to the team in 2021.

Heading into 2021

The Dolphins are continuing to build what they hope is a dynasty. They have four picks in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft, and one of them is the third overall pick from the Houston Texans. Miami just signed electric WR Will Fuller in free agency as well. 

The Dolphins' most glaring needs are on offense. They need to build their offensive line and add weapons for their young quarterback. That said, it seems both of those needs are being addressed so far this offseason, and heading into the draft I would expect it to continue. 

With Gailey out as OC, Miami is set to be the only team with co-offensive coordinators. Eric Studesville and George Godsey will share responsibilities to get their offense on track. Having two coordinators isn’t something that excites me when looking at the team, but there is potential there. It’s unclear who will be calling the plays, but that will be determined closer to the start of the season. 

Tua’s Value

Right now in dynasty ADP, per DLF, Tua is currently QB17 on the board. Jalen Hurts, Baker Mayfield, Ryan Tannehill, Trey Lance, Kirk Cousins, and Zach Wilson are all being drafted in the same span of picks as Tua. I have seen Tua go much later than this in drafts as well, behind all the aforementioned players, along with names like Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, and Mac Jones. 

Buy or Sell

With the talent Tua possesses, another year removed from his hip injury, a real offseason to develop and train, and the offseason moves to help build a supporting cast around him, I am buying Tua at his price of QB17 and lower. If I could trade a later 1st round pick for Tua in a Superflex rookie draft, I would do it. I would also take the upside of Tua over guys like Baker Mayfield, Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins. I also prefer Tua over someone like Jalen Hurts, who has yet to solidify his future in the Eagles' starting role. 

Quarterbacks tend to do better when they are surrounded with better talent, whether that be a good offensive line or ample playmakers surrounding them. Mayfield, Josh Allen, and Kyler Murray are all examples of recent young QB's taking a step forward with better talent around them. Tua has mid-QB1 upside and is being drafted as a mid-to-late QB2. There is certainly risk involved, but sometimes taking risks is what gives you an edge.