The Tua Tagovailoa era in Miami will begin in Week 8 against the Rams. The team announced the move following its bye week. Tagovailoa, the No. 5 pick in this year's draft, has a ton of upside, but with Ryan Fitzpatrick playing so well, the impact this could have on Miami's offense — and the Fantasy prospects of Myles Gaskin, DeVante Parker and its other skill players — could be a significant one.
Because Miami's offense has actually been pretty good so far, ranking 14th in scoring and putting up at last 23 points in every game since Week 1. Fitzpatrick has been the main driver of that, sporting a 7.8 yards per attempt with 10 touchdowns and 255.8 yards per game through the first six. There's a certain, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" aspect to this that makes the decision to start Tagovailoa seem riskier than you normally expect when a QB with his pedigree gets his opportunity.
Of course, there's always the possibility Tagovailoa can hit the ground running with the offense not even skipping a beat. Tagovailoa was, after all, one of the best QB prospects in the draft, and might have gone No. 1 overall ahead of Joe Burrow if not for the hip injury he suffered in his final year at Alabama. In 32 career games in college, Tagovailoa had 87 passing touchdowns to just 11 interceptions, while average 10.9 yards per attempt. His 11.3 yards per attempt, 13.1% touchdown rate and 1.2% interception rate were better across the board with the exception of a .05% higher interception rate.
That is to say, it's not hard to envision a world in which Tagovailoa steps into the offense after seven weeks plus a training camp to prepare and lights the world on fire. He's got all of the talent in the world, and it's not inconceivable that he emerges as a viable Fantasy starter quickly, while maintaining the value of Gaskins and Parker, and possibly even helping Preston Williams and Mike Gesicki.
However, that's no guarantee. And, while Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn't exactly been a model of consistency in his career, he's a known quantity. We know Fitzpatrick can lead an offense with Fantasy relevant players, and his willingness to push the ball down the field was especially valuable for Parker. If nothing else, this change introduces an element of uncertainty into the Dolphins offense — even if Tagovailoa is good.
For example, will Tagovailoa be willing to throw the ball as often as Fitzpatrick into the kind of tight coverage windows Parker has been winning with over the past year? Will he look to dump off to Gaskin more or less — Gaskin has at least four targets in each game. Conversely, will his ascension mean more consistent targets for Williams and Gesicki? We know both have the talent to be difference makers for Fantasy, but neither has been reliable this season.
There is also always the risk that Tagovailoa just falls on his face, though in that instance, you'd probably see the Dolphins move back to Fitzpatrick, who is no stranger to being moved in and out of the lineup.
Ultimately, you probably have to be just a bit less optimistic about Miami's offense in light of this change, at least until we see it in action. Maybe Tagovailoa represents an upgrade over Fitzpatrick and the offense as a whole improves, but it seems more reasonable to expect some growing pains. Add in the uncertainty in how targets will be allotted, and you should probably downgrade Miami's pass-catching options across the board for Week 8 against the Rams. At the very least, DeVante Parker probably becomes easier to leave on the bench with a tough matchup against Jalen Ramsey in that first game.
This could turn out to be a boon for Miami's offense in the long run, but you'll want to take a wait and see approach until Tagovailoa proves himself.
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