2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Tua Tagovailoa

by Keith Lott
Tua Tagovailoa - 2021 Dynasty Fantast Football

Welcome back to the 2021 Dynasty Football Profile series. We have been rolling out a series of posts on players entering their second year in the NFL. I will be focusing on four quarterbacks entering their sophomore year, starting with Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa.

The 2020 NFL QB Draft Class featured three others that I will tackle as we inch closer to the NFL Preseason.

Justin Herbert looked like a seasoned vet, Joe Burrow is returning from injury and the Philadelphia Eagles have handed Jalen Hurts the keys to the offense.

Make sure you check back later this Summer for each quarterback's 2021 Dynasty Football Profile.

Tua admitted that he was not comfortable as a rookie and I am sure that the wacky offseason last year played a role in that. He should be more comfortable in his role as the leader of the Miami Dolphins offense and the front office did a decent job this offseason adding weapons. At least it is better than how the Green Bay Packers have supported Aaron Rodgers in recent years!

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2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Tua Tagovailoa

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Rookie Campaign

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Tua Tagovailoa started nine games for the Miami Dolphins as a rookie, splitting time with the one and only Ryan Fitzpatrick. These are two very different quarterbacks, but if there is anybody in the NFL who can advise Tua on how to become a professional, it is Fitz-magic.

Combined, the two quarterbacks threw 24 touchdowns (13/11 split in favor of Fitzpatrick) with 13 interceptions (8/5 Fitzpatrick). While Fitzpatrick had a 4.9% touchdown rate, compared to 3.8% for Tua, Fitzpatrick's interception rate was nearly twice that of Tua's, 3% vs 1.72%.

It might seem like Tua was pretty conservative in his first NFL season but, according to Next Gen Stats, he had a slightly higher average intended air yards compared to Justin Herbert at 7.7 vs 7.5. So while he is not very aggressive, the context needs to be there that he doesn't need to be super aggressive in year two to be successful.

If anything, Next Gen Stats say that Tua was one of the most aggressive quarterbacks in the league last year.

How does Next Gen Stats define aggressiveness?

Aggressiveness tracks the amount of passing attempts a quarterback makes that are into tight coverage, where there is a defender within 1 yard or less of the receiver at the time of completion or incompletion. AGG is shown as a % of attempts into tight windows over all passing attempts.

Tua is one of 20 quarterbacks to throw 200+ pass attempts in their rookie seasons over the past five NFL seasons. One of my favorite stats to evaluate quarterbacks is Adjusted Net Yards per Pass Attempt (ANY/A) and Tua ranked 9th among those 20 rookie quarterbacks, at 5.40. That was better than Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold, Carson Wentz, Mitchell Trubisky, Josh Allen, and Jared Goff (who ranked last) as rookies.

The Dolphins went out and added pieces to the offense that should encourage Tua believers. If, and it's a big if, DeVante Parker, Will Fuller, Jaylen Waddle, and Preston Williams all stay healthy for the majority of the 17 game season, Tua has no excuse not to succeed. Don't forget the Dolphins offense also features Mike Gesicki at the tight end position!

Offseason Change of Scenery

While Tua is the presumed "Franchise QB" bringing in Jacoby Brissett this offseason should keep Tua looking over his shoulder and understand that there is a backup plan just in case things don't work out. Hopefully, it's the motivation he needs to take that next step.

Brissett, like Fitzpatrick, has had an up and down career and seen the best and worst parts about being an NFL quarterback. His understanding of the league should continue to provide good mentorship for Tua.

Pro Football Focus ranked the Dolphins' offensive line 28th in the league last year. However, they were playing three rookies up front. In the PFF article they say "(Robert) Hunt did provide some optimism late in the year at right tackle, though, as his 76.4 PFF grade from Week 12 through the end of the season ranked fifth out of 37 qualifying right tackles."

The only addition to the offensive line via free agency this offseason was center Matt Skura, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens. They did draft offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg out of Notre Dame with the 42nd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Those two, along with Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, Solomon Kindley, and Michael Deiter should be able to get the job done.

The front office did little to address the huge hole at running back, but a healthy Myles Gaskin should help. They did bring in Malcolm Brown, formerly of the Los Angeles Rams.

What management did do is provide Tua with some new weapons in Will Fuller (free agency), Jaylen Waddle & Hunter Long (NFL Draft). Tua will not lack weapons in the 2021 NFL season.

Fuller will miss the first week of the season to complete his PED suspension.

2021 Role

Removing Tua's high/low pass attempt outliers, he averaged 30 pass attempts per game. We want to see that touchdown rate increase from 3.8% into the mid-high 4% range. Even at 4.5%, over 17 games, that's just about 23 touchdown passes. So either the Dolphins will have to pass more, or Tua will have to make a leap into the 5% range. This is absolutely possible with a healthy group of wide receivers.

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Tua is going to have to improve his red zone offense in order to become a reliable Fantasy quarterback. The additions on offense, plus the emergence of tight end Mike Gesicki towards the end of the season should help Tua become a better red zone passer.

The good news is that Tua throws some of the most accurate passes in the league. According to Fantasy Data, Tua's 7.9 accuracy rating was tied for the league lead with Aaron Rodgers and Teddy Bridgewater. Clearly, those two quarterbacks throw very different types of passes but still where you want to be on the chart and very encouraging with an improved group of pass-catchers in 2021 and beyond.

Potential Speed-Bumps

One thing that will hang over Tua's head for at least the next year is his hip. He did a good job avoiding sacks, but he will eventually have to be comfortable in the pocket.

The offensive line still needs work and opposing defenses are not going to shy away from Miami's rushing attack. Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed are just not going to get the job done on a consistent basis.

Will Fuller signed a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins and if his deep threat ability doesn't fit well with the Dolphins offensive scheme he will surely be able to find a new home in the future.

Wrapping it up

The Miami Dolphins relied on a very young offensive line to protect a rookie quarterback in 2020. Hopefully, with another year under their belts and a veteran added at center, the offensive line shows improvement.

The offense will lean heavily on Tua Tagovailoa as the Dolphins failed to upgrade the ground game, but they supplied their franchise quarterback with two new weapons in Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle.

All of the pieces are there for Tua to take the next step and we are potentially just one year away from Tua becoming a must-own Dynasty Football quarterback that Fantasy managers can rely on weekly. Buy now!

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1 comment

2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Jalen Hurts - Fantasy Six Pack June 25, 2021 - 7:31 am

[…] Herbert looked like a seasoned vet, Joe Burrow is returning from injury and I have already written about the Miami Dolphins Tua […]


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