2022 Miami Dolphins Team Outlook
With high-stakes fantasy football legend Shawn Childs anchoring Sports Illustrated's fantasy coverage, we decided to give our take on Shawn's Team Outlooks. While we won't always agree, Shawn's pedigree speaks for itself. Shawn has been a high-stakes Fantasy Football legend since 2004 when he had success in his first season (three titles and $25,000 in winnings). Childs has competed and won six-figures in all different formats – auctions, draft championships, main events, and high-dollar leagues. We dare you to find an expert who knows the NFL player pool better than Shawn Childs -- it can't be done!
Although the Dolphins have been filled with turmoil off the field, the team is poised to be one of the more fantasy-relevant squads. With young skill-position talent all over the field, Miami should be a fasinating team to monitor. However, that potential all comes down to QB Tua Tagovailoa, who enters his make-or-break third NFL season as one of the most polarizing signal-callers in football.
The Dolphins flipped their offensive coaching staff in the offseason despite finished with a winning record in 2020 (10-6) and 2021 (9-8). Mike McDaniel takes over as their head coach after spending the past five seasons with the 49ers. From 2017 to 2020, he worked as their run game coordinator before being promoted to offensive coordinator last year. McDaniel has 15 seasons of coaching experience in the NFL.
Frank Smith makes the jump from run game coordinator and offensive line coach with the Chargers to Miami's offensive coordinator. His NFL career started in 2010 with the Saints as their assistant offensive line coach. He's been in the league for 12 seasons.
Miami finished 22nd in points scored (341), 63 points fewer than 2020 (404). In addition, they ranked 25th in offensive yards.
Josh Boyer returns for his third year as the defensive coordinator after working as the cornerbacks' coach for Miami in 2019 while handling the defensive pass game responsibilities. He previously worked in New England system for 13 seasons.
The Dolphins were league average in points allowed (373 – 16th) and yards allowed (15th) last season.
Miami made a big push to improve this pass protection by signing LT Terron Armstead to a five-year deal for $75 million. They also brought in G Connor Williams to add depth to their offensive line.
They added RB Chase Edmonds, RB Raheem Mostert, WR Cedrick Wilson, and QB Teddy Bridgewater to their offense. The Dolphins parted ways with WR Will Fuller, QB Jacoby Brissett, and C Austin Reiter.
The most significant move in the offseason was the acquisition of WR Tyreek Hill for five draft picks (1st, 2nd, and 4th in 2022 and 4th and 6th in 2023).
With their four choices in this year's draft, the Dolphins selected LB Channing Tindall (3.38), WR Erik Ezukanma (4.20), LB Cameron Goode (7.3), and QB Skylar Thompson (7.26).
Miami dipped to 18th in the NFL in rushing attempts (442), leading to the 30th ranking in rushing yards (1,568) with 12 rushing touchdowns. Their rushers only had five runs over 20 yards and none over 40 yards while gaining only 3.5 yards per carry.
Their offensive line allowed 40 sacks (19th). The Dolphins inched up to 18th in passing yards (3,936) with 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
This year, the first business order for Miami's offensive line is creating more prominent running lanes to take the pressure off their pass game. At the same time, QB Tua Tagovailoa needs to take fewer hard hits. His offensive line must deliver a longer passing window to reach his ceiling. I expect the Dolphins' offense line to show more growth in 2022.
Miami almost had the same run/pass split (42/58) as Buffalo in 2021, but they gained only 3.5 yards per rush and 6.4 yards per pass attempt.
The Dolphins added more explosiveness to their passing game while also upgrading their quickness at running back. As a result, Tua Tagovailoa looks poised to have a breakout season.
The Dolphins' running backs gained fewer than 4.0 yards per rush over the past three seasons. Last year they finished with a drop in usage in the passing game (72/427/4) while gaining an embarrassing 5.9 yards per catch. Their backs combined for 1,797 yards with 12 touchdowns and 72 catches in 2021.
Wide receiver production in Miami has ranked near the bottom of the league over the past two seasons. They only caught 51.7 percent of the Dolphins' completions last year while gaining only 10.7 yards per catch.
The addition of WR Tyreek Hill gives Miami the structure in the passing game to press for 3,000+ yards from their wide receivers, with growth in the left arm of Tua Tagovailoa.
The Dolphins' tight ends led the NFL in catches (122) and targets (173), but they managed only a pair of scores. They finished with 30.2 percent of Miami's catches and almost a third of their receiving yards.
The Dolphins bumped to 14th in rushing yards allowed (1,867) with minimal gains in yards per carry (4.4). Offenses ran the ball 25 times a game against them with 13 runs over 20 yards.
Their pass defense allowed 16 fewer passing touchdowns (23) than in 2020 (39), with 14 interceptions and 48 sacks. Miami improved to 16th in pass defense (3,871 yards). Quarterbacks gained 6.6 yards per pass attempt 62 completions over 20 yards.
Miami has two stars in the secondary (S Jevon Holland and CB Xavien Howard) while relying on DE Emmanuel Ogbah to apply the pressure on the defensive line. LB Jaelan Phillips picked up 8.5 sacks in his rookie season, but he struggled against the run while missing too many tackles after getting drafted 18th overall. DE Christian Wilkins showed growth against the run while also setting a career-high in sacks (4.5) and tackles (89).
Last year the Dolphins had the third-best defense in their division, so they need to close the gap on Buffalo and New England if they want to make the playoffs this season. With minimal help in this year's draft and free agency, Miami needs its key players to improve in 2022.
QB Tua Tagovailoa, MIA - Sleeper (undervalued)
In 2019 at Alabama, Tagovailoa was on a higher path after nine games (2,840 passing yards with 33 touchdowns and three Ints) than Joe Burrow, but his season ended in mid-November with a significant hip injury and a broken nose. In Week 8 of that season, he passed for 418 yards with four touchdowns and one int against LSU, but Burrow (393/3) won the game 46-41.
Tagovailoa had an exceptional TD:INT ratio (87:11) in college, with strength in his completion rate (70.0) over his last 24 games.
Over his first 23 games with Miami, Tagovailoa passed for 4,467 yards with 27 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while being sacked 40 times. He added 78 rushes for 237 yards and six scores.
Last year Miami played better late in the year (8-1) when Tagovailoa offered minimal impact value in passing yards (1,613 – 202 per game) and touchdowns (10). His only playable fantasy games came in Week 6 (351/2) and Week 7 (320/4).
Fantasy Outlook: The addition of WR Tyreek Hill gives Tagovailoa a natural rise in fantasy value. The change in coaching staff points to a focus on a power-run offense while looking to attack in the deep passing game. Miami has five viable passing catching options, which puts Tagovailoa on a path to deliver 4,500 combined yards with 30+ touchdowns. In the early draft season in the National Fantasy Football Championship, he ranks as a mid-range QB2 (18th).
Other Options: Teddy Bridgewater, Chris Streveler, Skylar Thompson
RB Raheem Mostert, MIA - Bye Week Fill-in
Over his first three years in the NFL, Mostert gained only 36 yards on seven carries while bouncing between five different franchises. However, he flashed off the bench in 2018, highlighted by his 7.7 yards per rush.
In 2019, Mostert teased in Week 2 (151 combined yards with a touchdown and three catches), but his next bump in chances didn't come until Week 13 (154 combined yards with a touchdown and two catches). Over his final eight games, including the playoffs, he gained 792 combined yards with 12 touchdowns and nine catches. He scored a touchdown in eight of his last nine contests with an impressive showing in the NFC Championship game (226 combined yards with four touchdowns and two catches).
Mostert battled knee and ankle injuries in 2020, leading to eight missed games. He finished with 677 combined yards with three touchdowns and 16 catches while averaging 5.0 yards per rush. His season started with an impact game (151 combined yards with one touchdown and four catches) with an explosive start to Week 2 (105 combined yards with one score and two catches) over 13 snaps. Last year he blew out his left knee on his second touch of the year, leading to surgery to repair a cartilage issue.
Fantasy Outlook: Mostert has ties to the Dolphins' offensive coordinator, and he does offer big play ability. Miami expects him to be ready for Week 1. However, at age 30, with two years of injuries, Mostert falls into a risk/reward player while being almost free on draft day (ADP of 173).
RB Myles Gaskin, MIA - Deep-league Only
Gaskin went down a draft-day disappointment last season despite receiving 222 touches. He gained only 3.5 yards per rush and 4.8 yards per catch, pointing to a diminished role this season. However, Gaskin set a career-high in catches (49) and touchdowns (7), leading to the 25th ranking in fantasy points (174.70) in PPR formats.
Fantasy Outlook: His play in 2020 (972 combined yards with five touchdowns and 41 catches on 183 touches) gives Gaskin a chance at working as the Dolphins' second back in 2022. He projects as a potential running back handcuff in Miami with no one fighting for him in the early draft season based on his ADP (190) in the NFFC.
RB Gerrid Doaks, --- - Not Draft Worthy
Doaks saw action over three different seasons at Cincinnati in college, where he gained 2,119 combined yards with 18 touchdowns and 36 catches. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry, with his best success in yards coming in 2020 (975 combined yards with nine touchdowns and 14 catches).
His hands grade better than expected for his limited opportunity. Doaks has a feel for open space in the passing game, and he'll have the ability to chip and release in the late passing game. In addition, his top-end speed is better than expected for a big back. Doaks has the tools to work as the rotational short-yardage back for Miami.
Fantasy Outlook: Doaks spent the year on Miami's practice squad in his rookie season. His first step to helping fantasy teams is making the Dolphins' opening day lineup in 2022.
Other Options: Salvon Ahmed
RB Chase Edmonds, DEN - Sleeper (undervalued)
In each of his four seasons in the NFL, Edmonds improved his output in yards despite never earning the lead role at running back. Despite missing five games last year with shoulder, ankle, back, and ribs issues, he set a career-high in combined yards (903) and touches (159) while gaining 5.1 yards per rush. Edmonds gained over 100 combined yards in three games, but his only impact showing came in Week 16 (26.70 fantasy points in PPR leagues). He continues to have a high floor in catches (2020 – 53/402/4 and 2021 – 43/311).
Fantasy Outlook: The Dolphins will trot out a zone-blocking scheme that fits Edmonds quite well. Last year, Edmonds shined as a receiver, snagging 43-of-51 targets. While he may not be a huge factor in short-yardage, Edmonds has three-down skillset to shine in Miami's new offense.
Fantasy Outlook: Billy and Jody are both quite a bit higher than the consensus on Edmonds and will happily scoop him up as a quality R3. If he can stay healthy, 1,200-plus scrimmage yards and half a dozen touchdowns seems like a realistic goal.
WR Tyreek Hill, MIA - Solid/Safe Pick
Over the past five seasons with the Chiefs, over 75 games, Hill caught 418 passes with 6,489 yards and 53 touchdowns on 625 targets. He averaged 5.6 catches for 87 yards and 0.71 touchdowns per game, or 18.56 fantasy points in PPR leagues. Last year, Hill set a career-high in catches (111) and targets (159) while gaining the fewest yards per catch (11.2) since his rookie season (9.7). He scored a significant portion of his fantasy points (367.8 – including the playoffs) in six matchups (11/197/1, 11/186/3, 12/94/1, 7/83/2, 12/148/1, and 11/150/1).
The change to Miami does cloudy his 2022 fantasy value. In 2021, Jaylen Waddle worked as the Dolphins' high volume receiver, but he did most of his damage close to the line of scrimmage. As a result, his success should almost be Hill's floor in catches.
Fantasy Outlook: When reviewing the 2022 wide receiver inventory, Hill still grades as a top 12 player. He has an ADP of 16 in the early draft season in the NFFC as the sixth wideout selected. Therefore, I will set his bar at 90-100 catches for 1,100-1,200 yards with eight to 10 scores.