The Miami Dolphins looked like the somewhat surprising breakout offense for Fantasy Football for stretches of the 2022 season. First-year head coach Mike McDaniel went to the lab and came up with an offensive system so tailor-fit to his players' skill sets that we even started to see discussions of Tua Tagovailoa as a darkhorse MVP candidate. Think of where Tua was at in his development in 2021 and it speaks volumes to McDaniel's impact.
It helps to have Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle to scheme open, and they're both back for 2023. McDaniel's system is predicated on speed and space so the Dolphins went out and drafted the fastest running back in the entire class in De'Von Achane. If Tua can stay healthy, this offense has massive potential again in 2023.
- AFC East: | |
Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Dolphins' entire team outlook including a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, key player projections, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for all of the notable Dolphins players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.
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Dolphins 2023 team outlook
By Chris Towers
There was probably equal parts skepticism and excitement for Mike McDaniel's first season as the Dolphins' head coach, but he turned them into one of the most terrifying offenses in the league for long stretches of 2022. The key now is figuring out how to sustain that for an entire season now that the league has it all on tape.
Burning question: Which playmakers step up?
In Tagovailoa's 12 full games, Tyreek Hill was on pace for 119 catches, 1,769 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 21 PPR points per game; Jaylen Waddle's 17-game pace was 79 catches, 1,514 yards, 11 touchdowns and 17.4 PPR points. Of course, Tagovailoa missed a bunch of time with several scary concussions, and that concern is going to linger over him moving forward. This offense has huge potential, but it's going to be tough to live up to that if it's Mike White under center. One bonus question: How long does it take De'Von Achane to become the lead RB? It might happen by Week 1 given his explosiveness.
Key Dolphins player projections
|QB||Tua Tagovailoa||PA: 580, YD: 4464, TD: 29, INT: 12; RUSH -- ATT: 41, YD: 163, TD: 2|
|RB||Raheem Mostert||CAR: 123, YD: 531, TD: 5; TAR: 46, REC: 35, YD: 261, TD: 1|
|RB||De'Von Achane||CAR: 123, YD: 539, TD: 4; TAR: 29, REC: 22, YD: 174, TD: 1|
|RB||Jeff Wilson||CAR: 123, YD: 545, TD: 5; TAR: 35, REC: 26, YD: 196, TD: 1|
|WR||Tyreek Hill||TAR: 162, REC: 109, YD: 1414, TD: 10|
|WR||Jaylen Waddle||TAR: 133, REC: 84, YD: 1172, TD: 7|
|TE||Durham Smythe||TAR: 46, REC: 35, YD: 289, TD: 2|
2023 NFL Draft class
Dolphins 2023 schedule breakdown
Projected Strength of Schedule rankings by Dave Richard
- QB PSoS: 30th easiest
- RB PSoS: 31st easiest
- WR PSoS: 29th easiest
- TE PSoS: 31st easiest
|1||Sep 10, 2023||@L.A. Chargers||4:25 pm||SoFi Stadium|
|2||Sep 17, 2023||@New England||8:20 pm||NBC||Gillette Stadium|
|3||Sep 24, 2023||vsDenver||1:00 pm||Hard Rock Stadium|
|4||Oct 1, 2023||@Buffalo||1:00 pm||Highmark Stadium|
|5||Oct 8, 2023||vsN.Y. Giants||1:00 pm||FOX||Hard Rock Stadium|
|6||Oct 15, 2023||vsCarolina||1:00 pm||Hard Rock Stadium|
|7||Oct 22, 2023||@Philadelphia||8:20 pm||NBC||Lincoln Financial Field|
|8||Oct 29, 2023||vsNew England||1:00 pm||Hard Rock Stadium|
|9||Nov 5, 2023||@Kansas City||9:30 am||NFLN||Deutsche Bank Park|
|11||Nov 19, 2023||vsLas Vegas||1:00 pm||Hard Rock Stadium|
|12||Nov 24, 2023||@N.Y. Jets||3:00 pm||AMZN||MetLife Stadium|
|13||Dec 3, 2023||@Washington||1:00 pm||FOX||FedEx Field|
|14||Dec 11, 2023||vsTennessee||8:15 pm||ESPN||Hard Rock Stadium|
|15||Dec 17, 2023||vsN.Y. Jets||1:00 pm||Hard Rock Stadium|
|16||Dec 24, 2023||vsDallas||4:25 pm||FOX||Hard Rock Stadium|
|17||Dec 31, 2023||@Baltimore||1:00 pm||M&T Bank Stadium|
|18||Jan 7, 2024||vsBuffalo||TBA||—||Hard Rock Stadium|
Dolphins 2023 player outlooks
By Jamey Eisenberg unless otherwise noted
QB Tua Tagovailoa
There were times in 2022 when Tagovailoa looked like the best quarterback in Fantasy, and other times when it looked like he should never play football again. Tagovailoa had some impressive performances last season when healthy, scoring at least 29 Fantasy points in four games, including a 50-point outing in Week 2 at Baltimore. But multiple concussions limited Tagovailoa to 13 games, and there are many Fantasy managers who consider him an injury risk this season.
The Dolphins are confident in Tagovailoa, who has been cleared to play, and he's worth drafting as a low-end starter in all leagues. He has an amazing receiving corps with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and Mike McDaniel allowed Tagovailoa to thrive in their first year together.
You'll need to draft a second quarterback with Tagovailoa in one-quarterback leagues to cover yourself in case he gets hurt, but he has top-10 upside at his position. In one-quarterback leagues, Tagovailoa is worth drafting with a mid-round pick. In Superflex and two-quarterback leagues, expect Tagovailoa to be drafted no later than Round 4.
QB Mike White
White is one of the more intriguing backup quarterbacks in the NFL this season following his move to Miami, where he is the No. 2 quarterback behind Tua Tagovailoa, who struggled with concussions in 2022. Should Tagovailoa miss time again this year, White could emerge as a waiver-wire option. He would have the benefit of playing with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and that could make White a borderline Fantasy starter, even in one-quarterback leagues.
In 2022 with the Jets, White appeared in four games, scoring 30 Fantasy points in Week 12 against Chicago. He only combined for 29 Fantasy points in his three other games, but White should have a higher ceiling playing with the Dolphins. He's even worth drafting in deep Superflex and two-quarterback leagues just for his upside in case Tagovailoa gets hurt again.
RB Raheem Mostert
Mostert is back with the Dolphins this season, and he could still be the best running back in Miami. But he now has more competition aside from just Jeff Wilson after the Dolphins drafted De'Von Achane in Round 3.
Mostert, Wilson and Achane will likely compete for touches, and it could be frustrating if everyone stays healthy. But that's been a problem for Mostert, although he played 16 games in 2022. He finished with a solid campaign, leading Miami in carries (181) and rushing yards (891) while also averaging 4.9 yards per carry, catching 31 passes and scoring five total touchdowns. He also had five games with at least 16 PPR points. But Mostert is 31, and Achane and Wilson will most likely get drafted ahead of Mostert in Fantasy leagues due to perceived upside.
Mostert, who could be fantastic value with a late-round pick, may still be the preferred option for coach Mike McDaniel, and if Mostert stays healthy, he might end up as the best running back for the Dolphins again in 2023.
RB Jeff Wilson
Wilson is back with the Dolphins again in 2023, and we'll see if he can be the best running back in Miami despite competition from Raheem Mostert and rookie De'Von Achane.
In 2022, Wilson was acquired from San Francisco, and he performed well in eight games with 96 total touches for 486 total yards and four touchdowns. He scored at least 10 PPR points five times. Mostert, over that same span, had 98 total touches, 544 total yards and three touchdowns. But now Achane is in the mix, and this could be a frustrating backfield if everyone stays healthy. However, Wilson has struggled with injuries, and we'll see how this competition goes in camp.
Most likely, Achane will get drafted first by Fantasy managers, followed by Wilson and then Mostert. It's not bad to take a flier on Wilson with a late-round pick in all leagues, and he could be the best running back in Miami in 2023.
RB De'Von Achane
A third-round NFL Draft pick, Achane is a wild card this season for the Dolphins and Fantasy managers.
At Texas A&M, Achane had a productive 2022 with 196 carries for 1,102 yards and eight touchdowns, along with 36 catches for 196 yards and three touchdowns. He brings more speed to Miami after running a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at the combine. He's small at 5-foot-9 and 188 pounds, but he might end up as the best running back for the Dolphins ahead of Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. It's a crowded backfield and we'll see what happens in training camp, but Achane might be the preferred option for coach Mike McDaniel.
Fantasy managers should target Achane first of the Dolphins backfield in redraft leagues, but Round 7 is the earliest to select him in all formats. In rookie-only drafts, Achane is worth selecting as a late first-round pick, and he has plenty of upside in this offense.
RB Salvon Ahmed
Ahmed is back with the Dolphins this season, but he's expected to be buried on the depth chart and be limited to special teams. It's unlikely he'll have a big role if everyone stays healthy.
Miami has Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson and De'Von Achane likely ahead of Ahmed heading into training camp, and Myles Gaskin is also on the roster. He's not worth drafting in the majority of Fantasy leagues. At best, Ahmed could be a waiver-wire option if the Dolphins deal with multiple injuries to their backfield.
RB Myles Gaskin
In 2020 and 2021, Gaskin was a quality Fantasy running back, but things changed dramatically in 2022. He barely played when healthy, and he was limited to just four games and 14 total touches for the season. He's back in Miami in 2023, but he's buried on the depth chart behind Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson and rookie De'Von Achane, and Salvon Ahmed is also on the roster.
Fantasy managers shouldn't plan on Gaskin getting a lot of work if everyone is healthy and he's not worth drafting. At best, Gaskin could be a waiver-wire option if the Dolphins deal with multiple injuries to their backfield.
RB Alec Ingold
Ingold will again be the primary fullback for the Dolphins this season, but he has minimal Fantasy value in that role. He's not worth drafting in the majority of leagues. In 2022, Ingold had 21 total touches and two touchdowns. He's not expected to have a bigger role this season, and Fantasy managers should not plan on rostering him.
WR Tyreek Hill
No Patrick Mahomes, no problem for Hill, who had a monster year in 2022 in his first season in Miami. Hill set career highs in targets (170), receptions (119) and yards (1,408), and he also had seven touchdowns, along with 32 rushing yards and a touchdown. It was the third time in his career that he averaged more than 20.0 PPR points, but he showed that leaving the Chiefs and Mahomes wasn't an issue.
Now, some Fantasy managers might be concerned that Hill could lose a step at 29, or that Tua Tagovailoa gets hurt again and the Dolphins struggle at quarterback. But Hill played well even when Tagovailoa was out last season, and he should produce at a high level again in this offense. Hill is a first-round pick in all Fantasy leagues, and he should be drafted as a top-five receiver.
WR Jaylen Waddle
There were some Fantasy managers who thought the addition of Tyreek Hill would crush Waddle. Thankfully, that was far from reality, and Waddle had a standout sophomore campaign when he averaged 15.2 PPR points (he was at 15.3 PPR points as a rookie in 2021). Now entering Year 3, it's clear Waddle should be considered among the best Fantasy receivers, and he's worth drafting as early as late Round 2 in all leagues.
If there is a concern for Waddle it's the health of Tua Tagovailoa because Waddle's numbers suffered when Tagovailoa was out in 2022, but hopefully the addition of Mike White can help Waddle if pressed into action. As productive as Waddle has been through his first two seasons, this could be his best year yet, and he's someone to target on Draft Day in all formats.
Wilson Jr. will compete to be the No. 3 receiver in Miami, but even if he wins the job, he has minimal Fantasy value in that role. He had a down year in 2022 with the Dolphins, averaging just 1.2 PPR points per game, and he's never averaged more than 9.2 PPR points per game in a season.
This year, Wilson will have to prove he's better than Chosen Anderson, Braxton Berrios and River Cracraft to be the third option behind Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. But even if Wilson is the Dolphins' No. 3 receiver, it's hard to be productive in that role because Miami focuses so much on getting Hill and Waddle the ball. Ignore Wilson on Draft Day in the majority of leagues, and if he starts off playing well or an injury occurs, add him off the waiver wire if needed.
WR Chosen Anderson
Outlook to come.
WR Braxton Berrios
Berrios signed with the Dolphins this season, and he will compete to be the No. 3 receiver behind Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Even in that role, Berrios has minimal Fantasy value and is not worth drafting in most leagues.
He struggled in 2022 with the Jets, averaging just 3.5 PPR points per game. This was a step back from his 2021 production when he averaged 7.2 PPR points per game and seemed on the verge of being a more consistent contributor. At best, Berrios could be added off the waiver wire if he starts off the season playing well, but it might take an injury in Miami for that to happen.
WR River Cracraft
Cracraft is back with Miami this season, and he will compete for a role as a reserve receiver for the Dolphins and play on special teams. He's not worth drafting in the majority of Fantasy leagues.
Cracraft had limited production on offense in 2022 in Miami, averaging 2.9 PPR points per game. It's doubtful he'll do much better than that this season, even if he's third on the depth chart behind Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Miami focuses so much on getting Hill and Waddle the ball that it leaves little production for the other receivers, and Cracraft will compete with Cedrick Wilson Jr., Braxton Berrios and Chosen Anderson for playing time. At best, add Cracraft if he starts the season playing well or an injury occurs for the Dolphins.
TE Durham Smythe
Smythe is expected to be the starting tight end for the Dolphins this season, but he has minimal Fantasy value in that role. He is not worth drafting in the majority of leagues.
Smythe replaces the departed Mike Gesicki as the No. 1 tight end, and Gesicki struggled to produce at a high level in 2022. The problem for Gesicki last season -- and now Smythe this year -- is Miami predominantly features Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in the passing game, which is unlikely to change. At best, target Smythe off the waiver wire if he starts off the season playing well.
Sanders wasn't quite as good as his breakout season in 2020 when he averaged 10.0 Fantasy points per game, but he did have a quality campaign in 2022 with 26 made field goals and a career-high 41 made extra points. The Dolphins offense was explosive under coach Mike McDaniel, and Miami should score plenty of points again in 2023. Sanders should have plenty of scoring chances, and Sanders is worth drafting with a final-round selection.
The Dolphins defense got two significant upgrades this offseason with new coordinator Vic Fangio and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Fangio could make the Dolphins defense among the best in the NFL, and Ramsey should excel playing opposite Xavien Howard. The Dolphins should have one of the best secondaries in the NFL with Howard, Ramsey, Jevon Holland and Brandon Jones, and hopefully Fangio will bring out the best in pass rusher Bradley Chubb. Consider the Dolphins DST a sleeper unit this season worth drafting with a late-round pick in all leagues.