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2021 Miami Dolphins Fantasy Team Outlook: Tua Tagovailoa Leaps Into QB1 Conversation

A fantasy football breakdown of the Miami Dolphins by high-stakes legend Shawn Childs

Team Overview

Based on their final ranking in yards gained on offense (22nd) and yards allowed on defense (20th), the Dolphins overachieved in their record (10–6). Miami graded much better in points allowed (338: 6th) while being slightly better in points scored (404: 15th). They finished with league-average quarterback play (3,937 passing yards with 24 passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions) while lacking an impact running back, wide receiver or tight end. Even with success in wins, Miami failed to make the postseason for the fourth straight season and the 17th time over the last 19 years.

More Miami Dolphins Coverage from SI

Coaching Staff

Dolphins coach Brian Flores looks on.

Brian Flores came through the Patriots' system with a variety of jobs over 15 years. Over his last eight seasons with New England, he worked on the defensive side of the ball as a defensive assistant, safeties coach and linebackers coach. Flores has been a part of four Super Bowl–winning teams and seven AFC championships. His record sits at 15–17 after two seasons as the head coach for Miami.

The Dolphins will go with a tandem at the offensive coordinator position. Miami promoted Eric Studesville to help run the offense after being its running backs coach for the previous three seasons. He’s been coaching in the NFL since 1997, with most of his experience coming from handling running backs. Studesville will have that same role as well in '21.

George Godsey returns to handle the tight end position as well as to be part of the offensive game-planning. He ran the Texans’ offense in '15 and '16 while also coming through the Patriots’ coaching tree. Godsey has 10 seasons of experience coaching in the NFL.

Josh Boyer returns for his second year as the defensive coordinator after working as the cornerbacks' coach for Miami in '19 while handling the defensive pass game responsibilities. He worked with Flores in New England for 13 seasons. The Dolphins’ defense gave up 156 fewer points in '20 (338) than in '19 (494).

Free Agency

The Dolphins' top signing in the offseason was WR Will Fuller. He upgrades the deep passing game while offering the speed to turn a short pass into a touchdown. His presence sets up a much better structure to Miami’s receiving core.

They brought in Jacoby Brissett to take over the backup quarterback job after losing Ryan Fitzpatrick to free agency. Brissett has four years of experience while offering a ball control skill set.

Miami added C Matt Skura and T D.J. Fluker to the offensive line. Both players have starting experience, but they were paid to be backups. C Ted Karras jumped to New England after starting for Miami over the past two seasons. When at his best, Karras was only a league-average player.

On the defensive side, the Dolphins added CB Justin Coleman and DT Adam Butler. Coleman saw his game fade over the past two seasons after showing flashes in coverage out of the slot for the Seahawks earlier in his career. Butler projects as a rotational player with minimal value against the run.

The Dolphins added Malcolm Brown for running-back depth.

In mid-March, Miami swapped draft picks to acquire LB Benardrick McKinney for DE Shaq Lawson. McKinney missed 12 games last season after working as a volume tackler for Houston from '16 to '19.


nfl draft jaylen waddle

Miami had four selections over the first 42 picks in the 2021 NFL draft. In the first round, they invested in WR Jaylen Waddle and DE Jaelan Phillips.

WR Jaylen Waddle

Waddle’s play in college gives him an explosive, deep-threat feel, but his quickness, vision and route running project to be more of a complete player. Waddle is excellent in the open field with the ball in his hands while playing bigger than his size (5' 10" and 180 lbs.). His experience against press coverage is limited, and many of his catches came in space. Miami added him with the sixth pick with the hopes of finding an impact player. Waddle is a former teammate of QB Tua Tagovailoa.

DE Jaelan Phillips

Phillips had fought an uphill battle over his first two seasons in college due to multiple injuries and a pair of concussions. He decided to retire from football after '18. The time on the sidelines helped him heal in mind and body, leading to a transfer to Miami.

He projects as a disrupter on all downs while offering plenty of upside attacking the quarterback. Offenses will need to account for him in their pass-blocking schemes. Phillips plays with vision and anticipation against the run with a high motor. To reach a high level, he needs to improve his technique off the ball, plus add more strength to his lower body. He should provide early pass rush stats since he has above-average moves to beat linemen off the snap.

In the second round, Miami selected S Jevon Holland and T Liam Eichenberg. They selected TE Hunter Long in Round 3.

S Jevon Holland

Holland will transition to safety after working as a cornerback in college. He brings an attacking style that works well in run support and attacking the line of scrimmage. Holland is a playmaker with the vision to defend over the short field. His speed is lacking, which makes him a liability if asked to cover elite speed receivers in the deep passing game.

T Liam Eichenberg

Eichenberg has questions about his ability to handle speed rushers on the outside. When fighting in the trenches, his game projects well. He needs to improve his finishing power with his hands and develop his technique to defend a wider portion of the field in multiple directions. Eichenberg came through college as a left tackle, but his early opportunity may come from the other side of the line.

TE Hunter Long

Long has concerns about his release and challenges with press coverage, plus negative grades in his blocking skills. He runs well in space with the ability to attack soft zones and challenge a defense downfield. Long has a chain mover feel with strength in his hands. I expect him to fit well in a spread offense while being on the sidelines on most running plays.

The Dolphins' final two players (T Larnel Coleman and RB Gerrid Doaks) came in the seventh round.

T Larnel Coleman

Coleman looks the part in pass protection, but he can have issues when challenged by power rushers. His game is more advanced in pass protection despite having vision and mobility to win in run blocking when in space. Some of his flaws will be corrected with coaching, and the final piece comes from a deeper drive to win the small battles on the field, which requires a punch to the defender's game at times.

RB Gerrid Doaks

Doaks is a big back (6' 0" and 230 lbs.) with a low-level opportunity in college. He comes with build-up speed, which doesn’t help his game in tight quarters when asked to be a north-south runner. Doaks doesn’t create in space while owning questionable vision. He has more of a finisher feel in games where his style can wear down defenses in the fourth quarter.

Offensive Line

Miami moved up to 16th in rushing attempts (428), leading to the 22nd ranking in rushing yards (1,688) with 15 rushing touchdowns. Their rushers only had seven runs over 20 yards and none over 40 yards.

Their offensive line allowed 34 sacks (15th: 58 in '19). The Dolphins slipped to 21st in passing yards (3,937) with 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

LT Austin Jackson

Jackson came to the NFL with a first-round pedigree in '20. His movements project well while needing to improve his hands and footwork technique. Jackson has plenty of size (6' 5" and 322 lbs.) with an athletic feel. He plays with power and quickness. In his rookie season, Jackson made 13 starts while failing to live up to expectations. His run blocking had plenty of weakness while allowing too many sacks and pressures on the quarterback. I expect better in his second season.

LG Solomon Kindley

After getting drafted in the fourth round in his rookie season, Kindley won a starting job in week one, leading to 13 games between left and right guard. His season ended in week 15 with a right knee injury that didn't require surgery. His game is all about the fight over his small area of the field. He can’t overcome his lack of quickness if tested outside his body. Kindley needs to improve his drop and drive to gain better leverage at the point of contact. Last year he gained experience while failing to be an asset in any area.

C Matt Skura

Over four seasons with the Ravens, Skura worked primarily at center, but he saw time at right guard and left tackle. In '20, his play in pass protection was favorable except for a pair of games midseason against the Eagles and Steelers. Skura has never been a top player while coming to the league as an undrafted free agent in '16.

RG Robert Hunt

Just like Jackson, Hunt should replace a weak link in the starting lineup. He started 11 of the final 12 games for Miami while offering an edge in run blocking. Hunt improved as the season moved on in pass protection. The Dolphins should move him to guard this season after drafting Eichenberg.

RT Liam Eichenberg

Eichenberg will find his way into the Dolphins' starting offensive line at some position this year. His game looks more advanced as a run blocker, but a downgrade to right tackle may be a win for his success in pass protection.

OL Snapshot

Miami has four players that have a chance to be better than league-average on the offensive line. They might not all achieve winning success this year, but I expect growth from last year. The center position has weaknesses, which will be addressed in the next draft or free agency in 2022.



The Dolphins are on the move offensively. Their offensive line should be much improved while owning a franchise quarterback and an exciting new player at wide receiver. Ideally, Miami would like to control the clock with a ball-control offense while playing well on defense.

Last year they ran the ball 43.4% of the time with league-average value in the passing game. Once Tagovailoa shows the ability to be an elite player, the Dolphins will open up the playbook.


Tua Tagovailoa

It took Tagovailoa six games before earning his first start. He didn’t throw an interception over his first six matchups, leading to 898 yards with 11 touchdowns. Tagovailoa went 6–3 with 201 passing yards per game with 14 combined touchdowns and five interceptions in his nine starts.

His completed rate (64.1) ranked well, but he gained only 6.3 yards per pass attempt with no completions over 40 yards. Tagovailoa passed for over 300 yards in two contests while delivering no games with over two passing touchdowns.

In '19, Tagovailoa was on a higher path after nine games (2,840 passing yards with 33 touchdowns and three INT) than Joe Burrow at Alabama, but his season ended in mid-November with a significant hip injury and a broken nose. In Week 8 of the season, he passed for 418 yards with four touchdowns and one Int against LSU, but Burrow (393/3) won the game 46-41.

Tagovailoa had an exceptional TD:INT ratio (87:11) in college with strength in his completion rate (70.0) over his last 24 games.

Fantasy Outlook: In the early draft seasons, Tagovailoa has a backend QB2 ADP. He has an intriguing group at wide receiver (DeVante Parker, Fuller and Waddle) plus a top 10 tight end. Miami has the talent to pass for over 250 yards per game. Tagovailoa will chip in with value in the run game. I expect 4,500 combined yards over a 17-game season with a run at 30+ touchdowns. I view him as a value with a chance to deliver a top 12 quarterback season.

Jacoby Brissett

Miami added Brissett for veteran insurance at quarterback. Over five seasons with 32 starts over 49 games, he went 12–20 with 7,042 combined yards, 43 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Brissett would be a downgrade if needed to start over an extended period.

Other Options: Jake Rudock, Reid Sinnett

Running Backs

Miami’s running backs gained a combined 2,075 yards with 11 touchdowns and 78 catches. Their catch total fell in line with the previous two seasons (77 and 79) despite a drop in targets (96). They gained only 3.9 yards per rush, which fell short of the league average (4.3).


Myles Gaskin

Based on experience running the ball, a fantasy owner won’t find a player from the '19 NFL draft with a better résumé. Over four seasons at Washington as a starter, Gaskin averaged more than 250 touches per year, leading to 5,888 combined yards with 62 touchdowns and 65 catches.

He checked in at 5’9” and 205 lbs. at the '19 NFL combine. His strength (24 reps in the bench press) graded well while coming up a bit short in speed (4.58 40-yard dash) and quickness. Gaskin sees the field well with the first step to get through tight holes. His short legs don’t match his frame, but his quick steps help him weave his way through traffic. He didn’t get many chances in the passing game while showing pass-catching hands. Gaskin needs to prove himself in pass protection.

After two productive games (66 combined yards and four catches and 82 combined yards and six catches), Miami turned to Gaskin as their lead back over the next five weeks (437 combined yards with two touchdowns and 20 catches on 20.8 touches per game). He gained only 3.6 yards per carry and 6.8 yards per catch over this span. Over the final nine weeks, Gaskin missed six games with a knee issue and a battle with COVID-19.

Fantasy Outlook: Gaskin isn’t a franchise back, but the Dolphins don’t have another running back with a higher ceiling. He should be the top option in the passing game while on a path for 200 rushes. I’m going to set his bar at 1,200 combined yards with about seven touchdowns and close to 50 catches. His ADP (89) as the 33rd running back drafted creates a buying opportunity. The training camp news is essential to his '21 draft value.

Gerrid Doaks

Doaks saw action over three different seasons at Cincinnati in college, where he gained 2,119 combined yards with 18 touchdowns and 36 catches. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry, with his best success in yards coming in '20 (975 combined yards with nine touchdowns and 14 catches).

His hands grade better than expected for his limited opportunity. Doaks has a feel for open space in the passing game, and he’ll have the ability to chip and release in the late passing game. His top-end speed is better than expected for a big back. Doaks has the tools to work as the rotational short-yardage back for Miami in '21.

Fantasy Outlook: If the summer training camp reports are positive, I’d be willing to place my backup running back bet on Doaks in Miami. I don’t expect a massive opportunity, but I could see him outperforming his college stats in the pros.

Malcolm Brown

At age 27 for the Rams, Brown posted his best production (581 combined yards with five touchdowns and 23 catches on 134 touches) of his career. He has 10 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons, suggesting a possible goal-line opportunity if Gaskin struggles to finish his runs in close.

Over the past four years, Brown gained 1,132 yards with 12 touchdowns and 39 catches on 276 carries. His yards per rush (4.1) and yards per catch (7.3) don’t jump off the page, meaning his ceiling is relatively low over the long haul.

Fantasy Outlook: Brown may have a game or two if asked to start in a pinch for Miami. He’ll catch some balls and score when fantasy owners don’t want him to. He should go undrafted in most fantasy leagues.

Salvon Ahmed

The Dolphins picked Ahmed off waivers from the 49ers in late August after signing as an undrafted free agent in '20. He played on the same team in college (Washington) as Gaskin, where Ahmed gained 2,347 combined yards over 39 games with 21 touchdowns and 50 catches. His best year came in '19 (188/1,020/11 with 16 catches for 84 yards).

After an injury to Gaskin midseason last year, Ahmed earned the lead running back role for two games (164 combined yards with one touchdown and six catches on 33 carries) before missing three weeks with a shoulder injury. The Dolphins gave him one more start in week 15, and he responded with an excellent game (127 combined yards with a touchdown and one catch on 24 touches). Ahmed only had one play that gained more than 20 yards on the year (86 chances).

Fantasy Outlook: Ahmed did enough last year to be in the mix for the handcuff for Gaskin, but the structure of the Dolphins’ running backs points to a committee role as a backup. In the early May drafts in the high-stakes market, Ahmed ranked below Doaks in his ADP (310).

Other Options: Patrick Laird, Malcolm Perry, Jordan Scarlett

Wide Receivers

The lack of supporting depth and the regression by Parker led to Miami gaining 526 fewer receiving yards from their wide receivers in 2020. The Dolphins gained 54.1% of the passing yards via the wide receiver position with a drop of 41 fewer targets.


In '21, Miami has the structure in the passing game to press for 3,000+ yards from their wide receivers, with growth in the left arm of Tagovailoa.

DeVante Parker

Parker battled three different injuries (ankle, groin and hamstring), which led to his falling short of a great '19 season (72/1,202/9). He finished with two missed weeks and his second-highest output in catches (63), receiving yards (793) and targets (103). Parker had a massive drop in his explosiveness (only 10 catches over 20 yards and none over 40 yards—21/7 in '19), but that has more to do with Tagovailoa's style of play and arm strength than Parker's athleticism. His best three games came in week four (10/110), week 12 (8/119) and week 17 (7/116).

The Dolphins have a much deeper receiver corps in '21 after adding Fuller and Waddle. It will help them have success in the passing but also restrict the opportunity for Parker. On the positive side, defenses will have a more challenging time trying to double him in coverage.

Fantasy Outlook: Parker enters his seventh season and he has underperformed his ADP in every season except '19. In the early draft season, Parker has a 10th-round price point in the 12-team high-stakes market. He should have no problem reaching a 75/1,100/7 stat line over a 17-game schedule with a healthy season.

Will Fuller

Over the last three seasons, Fuller has done an excellent job of improving his catch rate (70.2), which is also due to the outstanding play by Deshaun Watson. In '20, he set career highs in catches (53), receiving yards (879) and touchdowns (8) despite being suspended for the last five games of the year. His success projected over 16 games came to 77 catches for 1,279 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Fuller has 25 catches over 20 yards over the past two seasons, plus seven receptions gaining over 40 yards. He gained more than 100 yards in five contests in '20 (8/112, 6/108/1, 6/123/1, 5/100/1 and 6/171/2) while having a six-game scoring streak. His only disaster game came in week 2 (no catches or targets) against the Ravens.

Fantasy Outlook: In his career, Fuller has flashed plenty of explosiveness (14.9 yards per catch) and scoring ability (24 touchdowns over 53 games), but he also has an underachiever tag due to 27 missed games over five seasons. His ADP (85) in 12-team PPR leagues paints him as an upside WR3. I love what he brings to the table while knowing I can’t trust him to be there for me for a whole season. His floor should be 60 catches with an excellent chance at more than 1,000 yards with at least 16 games of action. I prefer to buy him at a discount than pay a premium due to his injury risk.

Jaylen Waddle

Over three seasons at Alabama, Waddle caught 106 passes for 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns. His best year came as a freshman (45/848/7). In '20, he missed six games with an ankle injury. Waddle started last season with four dynamic games (8/134/2, 5/142/1, 6/120 and 6/161/1), which was his first opportunity to shine as a top-two receiver for the Crimson Tide. He returned 20 punts for 487 yards and a touchdown in his sophomore year, plus five kickoffs for 175 yards and a score.

I sense traits of Antonio Brown with a lot less experience and opportunity in college. Waddle has strength in his lower body with the skill set to create a catching window all over the field.

Fantasy Outlook: Waddle draws an ADP of 107 in the high-stakes market after getting drafted by the Dolphins. He projects as their third wide receiver while having ties to their starting quarterback. There is plenty of intrigue and upside to his game, plus Miami’s other top wide receivers have a history of injuries. I will set his early bar at 50 catches for 850 yards and five touchdowns while understanding his ceiling is much higher.

Preston Williams

Heading into the 2019 NFL draft, Williams earned an eighth-place ranking at wide receiver at His rise came after an excellent season at Colorado State (96/1,345/14), but his target volume (175) was a big part of his breakout.

Williams emerged as a week-one starter for Miami in '19, and he held that status for the next six weeks. Over a half season of play, he averaged 11.48 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues, putting him on a path to rank 36th at wide receiver. His season ended in early November with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Last season he struggled to find his rhythm over the first eight games (18/288/4 on 35 targets) before going down with a right foot injury that ended his season.

Fantasy Outlook: Williams will come off the bench in '21 while working as the top backup for Parker. He has the size (6' 5" and 220 lbs.) to be a factor at the goal line. Over his 16 games with Miami, Williams has 50 catches for 716 yards and seven touchdowns on 95 targets.

Lynn Bowden

Over the last two seasons at Kentucky, Bowden played quarterback, running back and wide receiver while also flashing as a return man earlier in his career. He gained 1,431 rushing yards with 13 rushing touchdowns over his final 193 carries in '19, covering eight games. His season started with 27 catches for 230 yards and one touchdown over four contests.

Bowden is a very intriguing talent who may have the most upside at the running back position. Over 10 games with the Dolphins, he gained 243 combined yards with 28 catches after getting traded to them in early September. The Raiders drafted Bowden in the third round in '20.

He needs to improve route running, but he does play with toughness and a feel for open space. 

Fantasy Outlook: Miami may allow him to develop into a third-down option out of the backfield while doing the most damage over the short areas of the field.

Other Options: Jakeem Grant, Albert Wilson, Mack Hollins, Robert Foster, Allen Hurns

Tight Ends

The tight end position has become much more relevant in the Dolphins’ passing game over the past two seasons. They accounted for 24.6 of Miami’s passing yards in '20, with 91 catches for 1,061 yards and 11 touchdowns on 137 targets. Part of their success was a demise in their wide receiver core, which has been upgraded for this season.


Mike Gesicki

In his third year, Gesicki set career highs in catches (53), receiving yards (703) and touchdowns (6) on 5.7 targets per game. His only impact game (8/130/1) came in week two while showing more consistency over his final four contests (9/88/1, 5/65/2, 4/54 and 5/47). From week three to week eight, the Dolphins failed to get him involved in the game plan, leading to only eight catches for 129 yards and a touchdown on 16 targets in five matchups. Gesicki had five targets or fewer in nine of his 15 starts.

Fantasy Outlook: The second-tier tight end scoring slipped in '20, which led to a gap of more than 100 fantasy points to the top two players (Travis Kelce: 313.80 and Darren Waller: 280.60). Gesicki ranked seventh in tight end scoring in PPR leagues (159.30). Miami will have a better all-around offense this season, creating more chances for everyone in the passing game. His next step should be 65+ catches with 750 yards and mid-tier touchdowns. Gesicki is the 11th tight end off the board in the early draft season with an ADP of 116.

Hunter Long

In '20 at Boston College, Long doubled his output in catches (57) from his sophomore season (28/509/2), but he lost 6.2 yards per catch (18.2 to 12.0). Long finished with 685 receiving yards with five touchdowns. Last year his best production came in four matchups (7/93/1, 9/81, 9/96, and 8/109/1).

His foundation skill set projects well, and Long has enough size (6' 5" and 255 lbs.) to improve his shortfall in blocking to become a three-down player.

Other Options: Adam Shaheen, Durham Smythe, Cethan Carter


Jason Sanders

Over his first two years, Sanders made 41 of his 50 field goals (82.0%) with success from 50 yards or more (4-for-6). Unfortunately, Miami failed to create enough scoring opportunities to make him a viable top-tier option. In '20 he climbed the scoring mountain to become the top scoring kicker. He missed only three of his 39 field goal tries while blasting eight of nine kicks from 50 yards or more through the uprights. Sanders even made all 36 of his extra points.

Fantasy Outlook: Even with a great season in '20, fantasy owners won’t fight for Sanders in drafts. He projects to be the seventh kicking option selected despite Miami expected to be much improved offensively. I want to draft a kicker that makes his chances, and Sanders does that. The Dolphins don’t have a great running game, which may lead to plenty of stalled drives in the red zone. I believe in his leg, and Sanders will have big games to help me win some fantasy matches. Last year he had four contests with four field goals or more.

Xavien Howard lines up to the line of scrimmage against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium.


The Dolphins climbed to 16th in rushing yards allowed (1,862) despite not improving in yards per carry (4.5). Game score led to 25.75 rushes per game compared to 30.9 in '19. Miami did struggle to defend the goal on the ground (17 rushing touchdowns). They gave up nine runs over 20 yards and none over 40 yards.

Their pass defense allowed a league-high 39 touchdowns with 13 interceptions and only 23 sacks in '19. Miami improved to 23rd in pass defense (4,024 yards) while giving up 21 passing touchdowns with 18 interceptions and 41 sacks. Quarterbacks still gained 8.0 yards per pass attempt with 57 completions over 20 yards.

DE Jason Strowbridge

After getting drafted in the fifth round in his rookie season, Strowbridge saw minimal action while not seeing the field over the first seven games. He offers a physical presence with flashes of pass-rushing ability. His downfall tends to be his quickness, which trails his plan and hands. Sometimes his decision-making after the snap puts him out of position to finish a play. More of a rotational player with his best chance of seeing the field coming in the pass rush. Miami has a weakness at this position, which wasn’t addressed on draft day.

DT Raekwon Davis

In his first season, Davis made 40 tackles, but he failed to deliver a sack. He handled himself well vs. the run despite some missed tackles. Davis showed first-round talent early in his college career. He struggled to improve over the last two years, leading to questions about his motor and commitment to the game. Davis should be a pure run stopper with pass-rush traits if/when he develops his thought process when attacking the quarterback and improves his first step off the line of scrimmage.

DE Christian Wilkins

Miami drafted Wilkins 13th in '19. In his two seasons, he has 103 tackles with 3.5 sacks, one interception and seven defended passes. His run defense continues to improve.

Coming into the league, Wilkens relied on his quickness and athletic ability to make plays in the center of Clemson’s defensive line. He doesn’t have the strength to be a foundation run-stopper if he loses his edge after the snap. Endurance can be an issue if worked too hard within a game. His game does offer upside if he adds a better anchor to his small piece of real estate on the field.

Dolphins Jerome Baker Fantasy Football

LB Jerome Baker

Over the last two seasons, Baker made 238 tackles with a jump to seven sacks in '20. He tends to be a liability in coverage while keeping his missed tackles to a minimum. His run defense has been a problem in back-to-back years.

LB Emmanuel Ogbah

Ogbah set a career-high in sacks (nine) in his first season with the Dolphins. Over his first four years with the Browns and Chiefs, he had 18 sacks over 50 contests. The Dolphins want him to rush the passer while understanding his shortfalls defending the run.

LB Benardrick McKinney

A shoulder issue limited McKinney to four games in '20, leading to 37 tackles. Over the previous four years with the Texans, he picked up 430 combined tackles with 10.5 sacks. His value in the pass rush is fading, but McKinney will be active when supporting the run.

LB Jaelan Phillips

The future of the Dolphins' pass rush lies in the development of Phillips. They selected him 18th overall this season. He will cause havoc to offenses, but Phillips does have some injury concerns while needing time to develop.

CB Xavien Howard

Howard was an absolute beast and first-team All-Pro in the Dolphins’ secondary last year. He finished 51 tackles while also delivering 10 interceptions and 20 defended passes. Quarterbacks challenged him plenty of time last year, but Howard was up to the task on almost half of his chances. Any pass-rush improvement would make him even better.

CB Byron Jones

Miami wanted to improve at the cornerback position, leading to a significant investment in Jones in '20. He plays well in coverage while being a sure tackler with success in run support. Even with his game trending upward, Jones only has four career interceptions in 93 games. A couple of injuries led to him underperforming his previous résumé.

CB Noah Igbinoghene

Igbinoghene came to Miami via a first-round selection in '20. He is an in-your-face type of cornerback that continues to develop his craft. Igbinoghene is a former wide receiver with a short résumé of experience at his position. He plays with strength and fight, but his hip flips and backpedal could get him in trouble vs. top wide receivers in the deep passing game. His next step is developing his instincts rather than being a thinker when seeing an oncoming play develop, leading to a missed step and a losing play. In '20, he saw limited snaps as the third cornerback for the Dolphins.

S Eric Rowe

From '16 to '18 with the Patriots, Rowe missed 27 games. With Miami, he set career-highs in tackles (172 combined) and defended passes (19 combined) in back-to-back years. Despite some impressive stats, Rowe does have risk vs. the run while giving up some long passing plays.

S Jevon Holland

The Dolphins want Holland to seize a starting opportunity after getting in the second round this season. He’ll be learning on the run after seeing more of his action in college at cornerback. His playmaking upside should work well with what Miami wants to do in their secondary.

Fantasy Defense Snapshot

This defense has plenty of talent in the secondary with a reasonable core at linebacker. The Dolphins' lack of impact pass rushers does lengthen the passing window on some plays. I’m not convinced the run defense will be much better, but better play offensively will help control the clock. Overall, Miami is getting closer to having a top defense. They need to upgrade their pass rush from the defensive line, plus find an anchor run stopper at nose tackle.

Turnovers can turn into touchdowns, which plays well in the fantasy market. The Dolphins are a viable swing as a starting fantasy defense this year. They currently rank seventh by ADP in the high-stakes market.

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