Preseason - 2021 Miami Dolphins Outlook
WR Jaylen Waddle, MIA - Bye Week Fill-in
Over three seasons at Alabama, Waddle caught 106 passes 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns. His best year came as a freshman (45/848/7). In 2020, he missed six games with an ankle injury. Waddle started last season with four dynamic games (8/134/2, 5/142/1, 6/120, and 6/161/1), which was his first opportunity to shine as a top-two receiver for the Crimson Tide. He returned 20 punts for 487 yards and a touchdown in his sophomore year, plus five kickoffs for 175 yards and a score.
I sense the traits of Antonio Brown with a lot less experience and opportunity in college. Waddle has strength in his lower body with the skill set to create a catching window all over the field.
Fantasy Outlook: Waddle draws an ADP of 107 in the high-stakes market after getting drafted by the Dolphins. He projects as their third wide receiver while having ties to their starting quarterback. There is plenty of intrigue and upside to his game, plus Miami's other top wide receivers have a history of injuries. I will set his early bar at 50 catches for 850 yards and five touchdowns while understanding his ceiling is much higher.
WR DeVante Parker, MIA - Quality Backup
The lack of supporting depth and the regression by Devante Parker led to Miami gaining 526 fewer receiving yards from their wide receivers in 2020. The Dolphins gained 54.1 percent of the passing yards via the wide receiver position with a drop of 41 fewer targets.
In 2021, Miami has the structure in the passing game to press for 3,000-plus yards from their wide receivers, with growth in the left arm of Tua Tagovailoa.
Parker battled three different injuries (ankle, groin, and hamstring), which led to him falling short of his 2019 great season (72/1,202/9). He finished with two missed weeks and his second-highest output in catches (63), receiving yards (793), and targets (103). Parker had a massive drop in his explosiveness (only 10 catches over 20 yards and none over 40 yards – 21/7 in 2019). His best three games came in Week 4 (10/110), Week 12 (8/119), and Week 17 (7/116).
The Dolphins have a much deeper receiver core in 2021 after adding Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle. It will help them have success in the passing but also restrict the opportunity for Parker. On the positive side, defenses will have a more challenging time trying to double him in coverage.
Fantasy Outlook: Parker has been in the NFL for six seasons after getting drafted in the first round in 2015. He has underperformed his ADP in every season except 2019. In the early draft season, Parker has a 10th round price point in the 12-team high-stakes market. He should have no problem reaching a 75/1,100/7 type season over a 17-game schedule with a healthy season.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
WR Will Fuller, MIA - Quality Backup
Over the last three seasons, Fuller has done an excellent job of improving his catch rate (70.2), which is also due to the outstanding play by Deshaun Watson. In 2020, he set career highs in catches (53), receiving yards (879), and touchdowns (8) despite being suspended for the last five games of the year. His output over 16 games came to 77 catches for 1,279 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Fuller has 25 catches over 20 yards over the past two seasons plus seven receptions gaining over 40 yards. He gained over 100 yards in five contests in 2020 (8/112, 6/108/1, 6/123/1, 5/100/1, and 6/171/2) while having a six-game scoring streak. His only disaster game came in Week 2 (no catches or targets) against the Ravens.Fantasy Outlook: In his career, Fuller has flashed plenty of explosiveness (14.9 yards per catch) and scoring ability (24 touchdowns over 53 games), but he also has an underachiever tag due to 27 missed games over five seasons. His ADP (85) in 12-team PPR leagues paints him as an upside WR3. I love what he brings to the table while knowing I can't trust him to be there for me for a whole season. His floor should be 60 catches with an excellent chance at over 1,000 yards with at least 16 games of action. I prefer to buy him at a discount rather than pay a premium due to his injury risk. Injury Status: Injured Reserve
WR Preston Williams, MIA - Low Potential
Heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, Williams earned an eighth-place ranking at wide receiver at NFL.com. His rise came after an excellent season at Colorado State (96/1345/14), but his volume of targets (175) was a big part of his breakout.
Williams emerged as a Week 1 starter for Miami in 2019, and he held that status for the next six weeks. Over a half-season of play, he averaged 11.48 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues, putting him on a path to rank 36th at wide receiver. His season ended in early November with a torn ACL in his right knee.
Last season he struggled to find his rhythm over the first eight games (18/288/4 on 35 targets) before going down with a right foot injury that ended his season.Fantasy Outlook: Williams will come off the bench in 2021 while working at the top backup for DeVante Parker. He has the size (6'5" and 220 lbs.) to be a factor at the goal line. Over his 16 games with Miami, Williams has 50 catches for 716 yards and seven touchdowns on 95 targets
WR Lynn Bowden, MIA - Not Draft Worthy
Over the last two seasons at Kentucky, Bowden played quarterback, running back, and wide receiver while also flashing as a return man earlier in his career. He gained 1,431 rushing yards with 13 rushing touchdowns over his final 193 carries in 2019, covering eight games. His season started with 27 catches for 230 yards and one touchdown over four contests.
Bowden is a very intriguing talent who may have the most upside at the running back position. Over 10 games with the Dolphins, he gained 243 combined yards with 28 catches after getting traded to them in early September. The Raiders drafted Bowden in the third round in 2020.
He needs to improve route running, but he does play with toughness and a feel for open space. Miami may allow him to develop into a third-down option out of the backfield while doing the most damage over the short areas of the field.
Other Options: Jakeem Grant, Albert Wilson, Mack Hollins, Robert Foster, Allen Hurns
TE Mike Gesicki, MIA - Solid/Safe Pick
The tight end position has become much more relevant in the Dolphins' passing game over the past two seasons. They accounted for 24.6 of Miami's passing yards in 2020, with 91 catches for 1,061 yards and 11 touchdowns on 137 targets. Part of their success was a demise in their wide receiver core, which has been upgraded for this season.
In his third year in the NFL, Gesicki set career highs in catches (53), receiving yards (703), and touchdowns (6) on 5.7 targets per game. His only impact game (8/130/1) came in Week 2 while showing more consistency over his final four contests (9/88/1, 5/65/2, 4/54, and 5/47). From Week 3 to Week 8, the Dolphins failed to get him involved in the game plan, leading to only eight catches for 129 yards and a touchdown on 16 targets in five matchups. Gesicki had five targets or fewer in nine of his 15 starts.
Fantasy Outlook: The second-tier tight end scoring slipped in 2020, which led to a gap of over 100 fantasy points to the top two players (Travis Kelce – 313.80 and Darren Waller – 280.60). Gesicki ranked seventh in wide receiver scoring in PPR leagues (159.30). Miami will have a better all-around offense this season, creating more chances for everyone in the passing game. His next step should be 65-plus catches with 750 yards and mid-tier touchdowns. Gesicki is the 11th tight end off the board in the early draft season with an ADP of 116.