The Dolphins were at the top of the list of teams looking for wide receiver help this offseason, and they landed one of the best out there Thursday as they agreed to a one-year deal with former Texan Will Fuller. And this seems like a match made in heaven for Fantasy.
Fuller is coming off both a career-best season and a suspension for performance enhancing drugs, and he will miss the first game of the 2021 season as a result. Fuller set career-best marks across the board in just 11 games, and for the first time in his NFL career, he was able to avoid missing a game due to injury -- he left Week 2's catchless game early with a hamstring injury, but missed no further time. He finished with 53 catches on 75 targets for 879 yards and eight touchdowns, and he certainly profiles as the Dolphins best receiver -- and a big help for second-year starter Tua Tagovailoa.
Fuller has benefited from playing with Deshaun Watson over the past four seasons, obviously, so I wouldn't expect him to be north of 11 yards per target, as he was in two of the past three seasons. However, his big-play ability should translate well, and should give the Dolphins their most dangerous downfield target. Mike Gesicki and DeVante Parker are both solid downfield options as well, so there's no shortage of players for Tagovailoa to take shots with. Now he just has to hit those shots.
Tagovailoa actually had a higher share of his passes travel at least 15 yards down the field than did Ryan Fitzpatrick, but there was a big difference in their effectiveness on those attempts. Fitzpatrick connected on 30 of 50 such passes, while Tagovailoa hit on just 38.2%. Fuller's track record suggests he should help in that regard, but he also proved in 2020 he's not just a deep threat, as his average depth of target dropped to a career-low 12.5 yards and he consistently won in the intermediate range, as well.
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That all makes me think he's likely to step in as Miami's No. 1a receiver, with Parker and Gesicki slotting in behind him in a fairly concentrated pecking order. The Dolphins had hoped Preston Williams could emerge as the 1b to Parker's 1a, but now Parker will face less pressure thanks to Fuller's presence. I've got the two wide receivers projected for a roughly equal number of targets -- Fuller slightly higher on a per-game basis due to his one-game suspension -- with pretty similar production: 70 catches, 911 yards and 6.5 touchdowns for Parker, and 75 catches, 1,018 yards and 7.5 touchdowns for Fuller. That puts Parker at WR37 and Fuller at WR25.
That does assume some improvement from Tagovailoa, but that should be expected as he enters his second season with more help around him. And that's where the upside comes in for this team. Tagovailoa was a historically productive passer in college and, while he wasn't amazing as a rookie, he wasn't Jared Goff or Mitchell Trubisky-level bad. We've seen a lot of quarterbacks make a leap in their second season with a better situation around them, and Tagovailoa has that here. Another year removed from that hip injury, and who knows how much better he could get?
Miami's offense has a lot of potential, and Fuller only increased that potential. This could be one of those teams that takes a big leap forward in 2021, and Fuller will be a big part of that. If you can get him as a No. 2 WR, he's got upside to finish much higher. He showed us he's no one-trick pony in 2020, and now he's in a spot where he could build on that.