Does Tyreek Hill Trade to Miami Dolphins Salvage Tua Tagovailoa's Fantasy Football Value?
Published: Mar 23, 2022
Updated: Jun 27, 2022
The 2022 NFL offseason continued to shake up the fantasy football world on Wednesday with the trade of Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins. In exchange for the star receiver, the Kansas City Chiefs get three picks in the 2022 NFL Draft as well as two additional picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Chiefs were locked and loaded with weapons for the impending clash with the rest of the AFC West, but today’s news inevitably knocked them down in the power rankings. Though the Dolphins gave up a bevy of draft picks for Hill, they immediately gave their new receiver a contract extension to make the cost worth it. In Miami, Hill now gets to pair up with Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker, and Mike Gesicki, as well as third-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Although there are questions about how this trade will affect the fantasy values of Waddle and Gesicki, the glaring question is how Tua will benefit from this trade. Should you be in or out on the former Alabama quarterback? Let's examine!
Fantasy Football Value of Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa has had his struggles in the NFL, whether it be injuries, poor offensive line play, or even the trade rumors surrounding him last season. From a purely statistical standpoint, Tua was not great last season, putting up over 300 passing yards only once in the twelve games he played, and he put up under 200 in five of them. To be fair, poor offensive line play could be to blame, as the Dolphins defense was last in the league at allowing quarterback pressures, but the lack of offensive weapons was also a big factor. While Jaylen Waddle ended up at WR14 on the season in PPR leagues, DeVante Parker landed at a subpar WR66. Mike Gesicki was the target monster of the group, but even he only ended up with two touchdowns. The arrival of Tyreek Hill no doubt benefits Tua, as he has a dynamic playmaker to stretch the field, and the acquisition of Terron Armstead and Conner Williams on the offensive line definitely helps things as well.
A large concern with Tua is his lack of downfield passing. In 2021, his yards per attempt sat at only 6.8 yards, ranking 26th among qualified quarterbacks. In fact, Tua threw 98 passes of 10-19 yards, but only 30 of 20-29 yards, 11 of 30-39 yards, six of 40-49 yards, and three of 50 plus. Tyreek Hill’s speed should allow him to shake defenders and get downfield, giving Tua more opportunities for deep passes. In 2021, Hill averaged 14.2 yards per route run on passes of 20 or more yards - more than double Tua’s 2021 yards per attempt. Having a downfield threat will no doubt help Tua improve his stat line.
Accuracy is also one of Tua’s strong points and this should get even better with Hill. In 2021, Tua had an adjusted completion percentage of 55.2% on passes over 20 yards, leading all starting quarterbacks. If he and Hill can form a connection, expect Tua to take a major step forward for fantasy purposes.
So are we in or are we out on Tua for the 2022 fantasy football season? It depends on what you mean by “in.” If you mean, “do I think he’ll improve from the QB26 ranking he had at the end of the 2021 season,” yes. If you mean, “do I think he’ll be in QB1 fantasy territory,” temper expectations. He’s still in a Mike McDaniel system that loves to run the football, but with the improvements on the offensive line and receiving corps, he has nowhere to go but up. I have him in the QB13-QB16 conversation. He’s definitely a buy in super-flex league, but I’m still hesitant to grab him as my QB1 in standard quarterback leagues.
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