Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will not play against the Raiders, coach Brian Flores announced. The second-year signal-caller fractured his ribs in Sunday's loss to the Bills. Jacoby Brissett will start in Tagovailoa's place after replacing him in the first quarter.
Miami's offense only managed 17 points in Week 1 in New England with Tagovailoa starting. The Dolphins went three and out and then turned the ball over on downs in the two drives Tagovailoa was healthy for against the Bills. Somehow, the offense was even worse with Brissett at the helm. Miami averages an NFL-worst 8.5 points per game and ranks 31st in total offense (237 yards per game). All this to say, the outlook for the Dolphins skill-position players against a suddenly respectable Raiders defense is grim.
RB Myles Gaskin gained one yard on three rushing attempts after Brissett entered the game. He ran well against New England, gaining 49 yards on nine attempts, but his rushing volume has not been what fantasy managers hoped. Against Las Vegas, where the best case is a shootout, and the worst case is a blowout, there's no reason to believe Gaskin sees much more rushing work than he did in the first two games. His involvement in the passing game, though, has been the one thing keeping him afloat. Gaskin has nine receptions on 10 targets. Gaskin was targeted four times by Brissett on Sunday. Given the lack of depth at running back, you may need to plug him in at RB2 and hope for five catches or a touchdown. If you have a better option than Gaskin, relegate him to your bench.
The game against the Bills necessitated Brissett throw the ball 40 times. Somehow, he finished with less than 200 yards and averaged just 4.2 yards per attempt. That's bad news for the Dolphins pass catchers, some of whom profile as big-play threats. DeVante Parker was targeted nine times by Brissett and caught five of those looks for 42 yards. Parker leads the team in yards (123) and targets (16), but I would not trust him to start this week, even with the prospect of respectable volume.
One of the reasons I don't trust Parker is a player I also have concerns about—Will Fuller— returns this week. He's coming off a career year in Houston, but he was brought in to be a deep threat for Tagovailoa, not to dink-and-dunk with Brissett. In Fuller's first week back off a PED suspension and missing last week's game with personal matters, you should wait and see how he's utilized before plugging him into your lineup.
And then there's Jaylen Waddle. The rookie scored in his debut against New England, and Brissett targeted him seven times. His 61 yards after catch lead the team. Waddle could catch a short pass, make a few defenders miss and pick up a score on a big gain. He's the only Miami receiver I'm optimistic about starting. Waddle should receive enough work to make him a startable flex.
TE Mike Gesicki saw six targets against the Bills, tied for third-most on the team, and caught three passes for 41 yards. That's nothing impressive, especially after a goose egg in Week 1. For how hit or miss tight ends have been, Gesicki is worth consideration with the hope that Brissett uses him as a safety blanket and peppers him with enough targets to make the gamble worth it.
If you haven't caught my drift about how concerned I am about the generally solid Miami's skill position players because Brissett is under center, I'll make it clear: Do not start Brissett against the Raiders. Lamar Jackson was held to 18 points in a game that went to overtime, and Ben Roethlisberger finished with 13.8. A rough start to the season for the Dolphins will continue on the road in Las Vegas.
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