With the coming and going of the NFL draft in the blink of an eye just over a week ago, the next stop on the NFL calendar for most teams is training camp, but on the calendar, for some fans, it’s their respective NFL fantasy draft. I’ll be diving into how our Miami Dolphins 2020 draft and free agency could impact the immersive world of fantasy football.
NFL fantasy dynasty target Tua Tagovailoa
It’s hard to talk about Miami without bringing up the flyin’ Hawaiian, Tua Tagovailoa, and the potential he has to bring success to the long-term future of the franchise on the pitch. However, us fantasy nuts are impatient and want impactful players right now, and with the hip dislocation against Mississippi state, and Ryan Fitzpatrick playing so well at the tail end of the season, it’s hard to see the immediate impact Tua will make to fantasy teams this year.
Nonetheless, if you are in dynasty leagues and can afford to stash him on your bench for a half a season or potentially a year, he could be worth a spot in the mid to late rounds, otherwise, he’ll be someone to keep an eye on your weekly waiver wire.
QB1, Ryan Fitzpatrick, in the back end of the season scored 20 to 31 points or more in 5 out of 6 games. That’s more than Patrick Mahomes & Kyler Murray in the last 4 weeks of the season.
Plus he scored the 4th most points, behind Brees (1st), Tannehill (2nd), and Winston (3rd), and that form may have won you a fantasy title or two. Now should we expect him to emulate that form given the draft and free agency? Probably not throughout the year.
Given that the Dolphins O Line has been totally restructured, and that Miami now has 2 more than capable running backs in Jordan Howard and Matt Breida, the return of Preston Williams from IR, Albert Wilson now 1-year post knee surgery.
Plus DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki having breakout seasons, we could expect an uptick in fantasy value, and at the very least could be a weekly rotational starter, or bye week starter when Mahomes, Jackson or Murray are on bye weeks.
Jordan Howard & Matt Breida
Last season Fitzmagic was our leading rusher, this season we know that won’t happen unless Jordan Howard and Matt Breida self-implode, but who will be #1 and #2 for Miami? With Howard joining in free agency, and Breida joining from a trade from San Francisco, it is generally seen as this could be a run by committee approach by the Dolphins.
This trend has been seen more and more in the previous few seasons, and can in turn, have a negative effect on both players fantasy value. An early prediction from myself is that we should see Howard may get a lot of the work between the two 20-yard lines, from his hard-nose, between the tackle, running like thunder playing style.
Breida is the complete opposite, with his lightning style running, making guys miss and more backfield receptions, earning him the nickname “Breida the Cheetah” back in San Francisco and could get a lot of work in the red zone from his traits.
So, we are left with a frustrating scenario similar to Tampa Bay’s running back scene last year, so it will be potluck on who will do better, but a reminder that most points come from touchdowns.
So I’d be looking firstly at Breida, then Howard as late-round draft picks with some RB2 upside, mainly because of the appeal in his bigger receiving threat and goal-line potential than Howard.
DeVante Parker & Preston Williams
Let’s take a dive into our wide receivers. Last season was the season we FINALLY saw all the potential DeVante Parker has and broke out in spectacular style. Finishing 11th out of all wide receivers for the season, and then seeing success from Preston Williams before his season was cut short, gives us hope for the season ahead.
The success should have been seen though from our non-existent run game last year forcing Fitzpatrick to throw the ball for his life last year, but should we expect the same this season? In short, no, as we will see a more balanced run to pass ratio under Chan Gailey. But we should expect Miami to feed Parker a lot of balls given his size and range, and if teams double cover Parker, then expect the check-down to Preston Williams.
Therefore, I’d expect to see Parker targeted in the early rounds of the draft, probably between rounds 4 to 7, who will be a WR1 sleeper this season, and worth similar respect in PPR leagues. As for Preston Williams, he will be a big contender for sleeper of the year and will definitely be worth a late-round draft pick as a handcuff in most drafts, especially in most PPR leagues.
Our final offensive position, tight end and player Mike Gesicki. Drawing comparisons to Jimmy Graham when coming out of the 2018 draft, we saw an inkling of that potential last season, with 5 receiving TDs with 570 receiving yards, catching 51 of 89 targets, making him 12th ranked tight end last season.
What is important now is seeing that build up next season and with the rebuild fully underway in Miami, we could see that volume increase, especially under new OC Chan Gailey. Gesicki won’t be the first name flying off the board in NFL fantasy drafts, but one that at least generates some buzz as a sleeper, and would be worth a late-round draft pick on or to keep an eye on for your weekly waiver wire.
Miami Dolphins Defense
Our final position in NFL fantasy land is the defence, this arguably saw the biggest overhaul out of any team in free agency and the draft. From his Patriot days, Coach Flores sets up defences from the outside in, meaning establishing a solid pass defence allowing the defensive line and linebackers to apply more pressure on the quarterback.
Miami now sees a transformed defensive back set up with Byron Jones pairing up with Xavien Howard and the addition of probable nickel corner Noah Igbinoghene. Players who have high success playing man coverage, aiming to transform the team from 26th ranked in pass defence last year to hopefully in the top 10 at least.
Further additions of linebacker Kyle Van Noy, defensive ends Emmanuel Ogbah and Shaq Lawson and standout rookie defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, will see a more significant amount of production next season from their improved defensive back room.
This could see fantasy players who were targeting offensive players who were playing Miami doing a U-turn, to seeing them now avoiding offensive players who are playing against Miami, especially wide receivers.
I’d expect them to be drafted in about 30% or even as high as 70% of leagues, with aspirations and hopes from players for them to be a turnover machine. I’d target them in the final two rounds of the draft, where a lot of defences should be taken.
NFL Fantasy 2020 Summary:
Tua Tagovailoa – Target early rounds in a dynasty format, or waiver wire pick mid-season
Ryan Fitzpatrick – QB2 potential or a rotational starter value depending on match up and form
Matt Breida – RB2/Flex with expected more goal-line touches
Jordan Howard – RB2/Flex with expected work within the two 20-yard lines
DeVante Parker – WR2 or Flex value at least
Preston Williams – Bench/Sleeper value with potential flex value in PPR leagues
Mike Gesicki – Bench/Sleeper value
Miami Defence – Sleeper with top 10 defence aspirations.