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2024 Player Outlooks: Miami Dolphins

By Nick Caron | 7/3/24 |

QB Tua Tagovailoa
(2023 QB Rank – No.9, 20.9 FPts/G)

Tua Tagovailoa demonstrated his efficiency and skill by throwing 25 touchdowns with only eight interceptions in 2023, one of the best touchdown-to-interception ratios in the league. Over his four-year career, Tua has maintained a low interception rate of just 2.3 percent of his passes, highlighting his reliability as the Miami Dolphins' quarterback. With no significant competition for his starting role, Tua's position is secure, making him a stable choice as a low-end QB1 or high-end QB2 for fantasy football managers.

Entering his third season under head coach Mike McDaniel, Tua should be well-acquainted with the Dolphins' offense, which heavily relies on targeting star receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, who account for over 50 percent of the team's pass attempts. Tua's ability to avoid sacks in 2023 has also eased concerns about his health, further solidifying his dependability.

In 2023, Tua threw touchdowns on 5.2 percent of his passes, a decent rate but not extraordinary. Without a significant increase in his total pass attempts, he is unlikely to significantly surpass his average draft position. Additionally, Tua's lack of contribution in the rushing game limits his potential to break out as an elite fantasy quarterback as we know that top-tier fantasy QBs either typically excel in touchdown efficiency or are notable rushers, and Tua does not possess either of these traits. Consequently, while he is a safe and consistent option, he may not provide a substantial fantasy edge over the competition even if he does have another highly efficient season.

Tua’s consistency and familiarity with the Dolphins' offensive scheme make him a trustworthy option, but he is best viewed as a high-end QB2, someone you can rely on for steady performance but ideally paired with a higher-upside QB1, particularly in Superflex leagues.

De'Von Achane

RB De’Von Achane
(2023 RB Rank – No.25, 17.5 FPts/G)

In his rookie season of 2023, Miami Dolphins running back De’Von Achane was nothing short of electrifying. His per-touch efficiency was unprecedented, setting a new benchmark that no other player has approached. He averaged an astonishing 7.8 yards per carry, amassing 800 yards on just 103 touches. To put this into perspective, Josh Jacobs, who finished one spot above Achane for the season, rushed for 805 yards but needed 233 carries to do so.

Achane played in just 11 games, although his participation was more limited in reality, as he had only one carry in two of those games, effectively bringing his active game count closer to nine. His 188-pound frame presents a higher risk for injury, which was evident during his rookie season. Despite these challenges, he managed to finish the season strong.

In addition to his rushing prowess, Achane was quietly effective in the receiving game, catching 27 passes over his 11 regular season contests. While this number is not particularly eye-catching, it is significant given that he never fully assumed the role of a bell-cow back and shared snaps in nearly every game. If Achane sees more playing time this season, his utilization in both the running and passing game could sustain a high fantasy points per game average, even if his efficiency naturally declines.

Historically, players with outlier per-carry efficiency, such as Chris Johnson or Jamaal Charles, are extraordinarily rare, and maintaining such extraordinary performance is nearly impossible. Achane's rookie season stands out as an exceptional case, and while he offers immense upside and could be a league-winner, there is an inherent risk due to his injury history and smaller frame.

Fantasy managers considering Achane should also hedge their bet by investing in a more stable, less injury-prone running back to complement him. This strategy balances the high-risk, high-reward potential that Achane brings to the table, ensuring a more secure lineup.

RB Raheem Mostert
(2023 RB Rank – No. 5, 18.0 FPts/G)

Raheem Mostert, one of the biggest late-round breakouts of the 2023 season, stunned fantasy managers by scoring an incredible 18 rushing touchdowns. Adding three more scores in the receiving game, he led the league with a remarkable total of 21 touchdowns, a feat achieved only by a historic Christian McCaffrey campaign. Admittedly benefiting from injuries to teammates De’Von Achane and Jeff Wilson, Mostert firmly established himself as the team’s RB1 throughout the regular season, carrying the ball at least 10 times in 13 of his 15 games.

Despite Mostert's impressive performance, most fantasy projections and average draft positions place him significantly behind second-year back Achane heading into the new season. However, there's a strong possibility that the Dolphins' backfield could be more of a 50/50 split than some are anticipating. While Achane was historically efficient on a per-touch basis in 2023, Mostert still managed to average nearly five yards per carry for the second consecutive season with the Dolphins. This level of efficiency is also rare, and Mostert has defied expectations by playing in 31 games over his two years in Miami, overcoming his previous reputation as one of the league’s most injury-prone players.

Even with a potential timeshare with Achane, Mostert has a real chance to be a difference-making fantasy back again in 2024. However, there's also the risk that the Dolphins might decide to give the majority of the workload to Achane, reducing Mostert to the role of being one of the highest-upside handcuff running backs. Fantasy managers will need to weigh the risks and rewards when considering Mostert, as he has the potential to be a significant contributor again if circumstances align in his favor.

RB Jaylen Wright
(2023 RB Rank – N/A)

The Dolphins recently added rookie running back Jaylen Wright to their already stacked backfield, a move that could pay dividends given his talent profile and how it fits within the McDaniel/Shanahan offensive system. Known for favoring speedy and explosive backs, McDaniel clearly targeted Wright in the draft, who averaged over six yards per carry throughout his collegiate career in the SEC, culminating in an impressive 7.4 yards per carry in his final season. Wright’s knack for big plays is evident, as an impressive 14 percent of his rush attempts last season went for over 15 yards, aligning him well with the Dolphins' existing backfield threats, De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert, who also possess historic levels of explosive playmaking ability.

From a schematic standpoint, Wright landed in an ideal spot, but he faces the challenge of competing for playing time behind two of the league's top backs from last season. Despite this, fantasy managers drafting Wright late should note the injury risks associated with both Achane and Mostert. The Dolphins under McDaniel have a history of employing a two-back system, even when one player is performing exceptionally well. This history suggests that Wright could work his way into the rotation if either Achane or Mostert misses time due to injury.

However, there is a significant risk that Wright might see limited or almost no playing time in 2024, which could make him a potential bust even at a late-round price tag. Fantasy managers will need to consider both his high upside and the possibility of limited opportunities when deciding whether to invest in Wright. If circumstances align, he could emerge as a valuable contributor in the Dolphins' backfield.

WR Tyreek Hill
(2023 WR Rank – No.2, 23.7 FPts/G)

Tyreek Hill's 2023 season was nothing short of historic. Leading all pass-catchers with 1,799 receiving yards, he also tied with Mike Evans for the league-best 13 receiving touchdowns. Hill's average of 15.1 yards per reception was the highest among the top-six leaders in total receiving yards, even outpacing Dallas' CeeDee Lamb by over two yards per reception.

Hill turned 30 during the offseason, a milestone that often raises concerns about potential decline. However, Hill showed no signs of slowing down. Despite missing one game due to injury, he returned with a nine-reception, 99-yard performance against the Cowboys the very next week and consistently caught at least five passes in each subsequent game, including the Dolphins' playoff matchup against the Chiefs where he was the only Dolphin to score a touchdown.

Hill's draft position reflects his elite status, as he is being selected in the top five in nearly all drafts. Although he's not a cheap acquisition, Hill's potential for record-breaking performance in 2024 makes him worth the investment. The Dolphins' offense looks poised to sustain or even improve, and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa could make further strides with another offseason under his belt. Hill's ceiling is incredibly high, and he remains one of the safest picks in the league as the Dolphins consistently find creative ways to get the ball in Hill's hands, even when defenses are focused on stopping him.

Tyreek Hill's exceptional 2023 season and the Dolphins’ lack of schematic changes position him as a premier fantasy asset for 2024. His proven ability to perform at an elite level, combined with an improving Dolphins' offense, makes him a reliably elite option for fantasy managers.

WR Jaylen Waddle
(2023 WR Rank – No.34, 14.2 FPts/G)

Jaylen Waddle experienced some regression in 2023 after a breakout season in 2022, yet he still managed to catch 72 passes for 1,014 yards in just 14 games. His 14.2 fantasy points per game placed him as a mid-range WR2 on a per-game basis, despite finishing the season with only four touchdowns. As the WR2 in the Dolphins’ offense, Waddle maintained a strong presence, garnering over 23 percent of the team’s total targets for the season even though he missed three games.

While Waddle will likely remain behind Tyreek Hill in the target hierarchy, he still possesses considerable upside along with a solid floor as a WR2. There’s also some hidden upside as in the one game Hill missed in 2023, Waddle showcased his potential as the primary receiver by making a season-high eight receptions for 142 yards against a formidable Jets defense. This performance hinted at his ability to deliver explosive results, especially if the game had been more competitive.

Waddle is currently being selected in the fourth round of many drafts, often behind players who have never approached the ceiling he demonstrated in 2022, or players who have considerably lower floors. With a nearly guaranteed 20 percent target share and the potential for 25 to 27 percent in one of the league’s most efficient offenses, Waddle presents significant value. If he slips in your fantasy drafts, he could be an excellent pick, offering both consistency and the potential for high-end production.

WR Odell Beckham Jr.
(2023 WR Rank – No.62, 7.8 FPts/G)

Odell Beckham Jr. signed a largely incentive-based contract with the Dolphins in May, positioning him within one of the league’s most effective offenses. However, he finds himself as the third option in the passing game, behind standout playmakers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

Beckham had a brief resurgence with the Rams in 2021, but his overall performance has been disappointing for fantasy managers and NFL teams since his stint with the Browns began in 2019. Over the past three seasons, he has failed to surpass 600 receiving yards and that doesn’t even count the fact that he did not find a team to play for at all in 2022.

At 31 years old, the likelihood of Beckham reclaiming his status as a significant fantasy contributor is slim. Even if Hill or Waddle were to miss time, Beckham is not an equivalent replacement, potentially leaving him to compete for playing time with role players like Braxton Berrios in the Miami offense.

While Beckham's presence in a high-powered offense like Miami's offers some intrigue, fantasy managers should temper their expectations. His recent track record and the solidified talent ahead of him on the depth chart suggest that Beckham's fantasy impact in 2024 will likely be minimal.

TE Jonnu Smith
(2023 TE Rank – No.17, 8.4 FPts/G)

The Jonnu Smith signing aligns with the Dolphins' "speed kills" philosophy under head coach Mike McDaniel, emphasizing quickness and athleticism. Smith, a 6’3”, 250-pound tight end, showcased his speed with a 4.62-second 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine and remains one of the fastest tight ends in the league. However, his once-promising career with the Titans has yet to materialize into significant fantasy production. In 2023, Smith set career highs in receptions (50) and yards (582) with the Falcons but only scored three touchdowns, thus failing to make a substantial fantasy impact.

Smith now joins a Dolphins offense that may not be ideally suited to his skill set. The team's top tight end from last season, Durham Smythe, played over 72 percent of offensive snaps but saw only 43 targets, catching 35 passes for 366 yards and zero touchdowns. Smythe was a non-factor in fantasy. This suggests a challenging environment for Smith to excel within.

The Dolphins' offensive system, which led the league in 21 personnel (two running backs, one tight end) usage at a staggering near-42 percent of their 2023 offensive snaps, focuses heavily on their top two wide receivers, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. This leaves limited opportunities for tight ends to be consistent fantasy contributors. Even though Smith is a more capable and dangerous pass-catcher than Smythe, the offensive scheme does not favor tight ends, resulting in limited opportunities for breakout fantasy performances.

Additionally, Smythe's familiarity with the offense likely ensures he will still receive significant playing time, further reducing Smith's potential impact. Given these factors, the Dolphins' tight end group, including Jonnu Smith, is one to avoid for fantasy purposes. The offensive system's design and the presence of Smythe limit the opportunities for tight ends to shine, making it unlikely that Smith will become a reliable fantasy asset in 2024.

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