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  • Buy Jaylen Waddle in dynasty before it is too late

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    The Miami Dolphins are expected to go through major changes this offseason that could push Jaylen Waddle into WR1 territory. His dynasty value may be the lowest it will ever be at this moment.


    If it was not for the emergence of Ja’Marr Chase and the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle would likely be the rookie wide receiver from the 2021-22 season generating the most buzz in dynasty leagues.

    Last offseason, Miami selected Waddle with the sixth overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. He had an outstanding rookie season that flew under the radar.

    It did not take long for Waddle to move past veterans DeVante Parker and Will Fuller to become the number one wide receiver in Miami. Waddle finished the season with 104 catches for 1,015 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns. In standard PPR leagues, he finished as the 13th highest scoring wide receiver.

    At this moment, Waddle ranks within the top15 wide receivers in most dynasty rankings. However, this season, his value has the potential to skyrocket. Here is why dynasty league managers should try to acquire Jaylen Waddle for their teams.

    There’s a new Sherriff in Town

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    The Dolphins started their offseason by firing their head coach, Brian Flores, shocking those who follow the league. After starting the season 1-8, Flores willed his team back into the playoff picture by winning the next seven games.

    Despite ending the year 8-1 in their last nine weeks, the Dolphins fired Flores. Shortly after his firing, reports surfaced that it was due to his relationship with Chris Grier and Stephen Ross.

    After a few weeks of searching, the Dolphins hired Mike McDaniel as their next head coach. Prior to landing the Dolphins job, McDaniel was the San Francisco 49ers’ offensive coordinator. He has coached with Kyle Shanahan for the past 11 seasons.

    Shanahan and McDaniel deserve a lot of praise for how they used Deebo Samuel this season. They lined Samuel up all over the field at outside wide receiver, slot wide receiver, and even running back. In multiple games this season, the 49ers gave Samuel more handoffs than targets. He was almost unstoppable as a runner.

    After being asked about his position throughout the year, Samuel has identified his position as a wide back. Out of all of the WRs who identify as a wide back, Waddle is easily the most talented. He could shoot to the top of the “hybrid offensive weapons in the league” list if he committed to that role full time.

    Expectations for the Dolphins’ Offense

    With the addition of McDaniel in Miami, many are expecting the Dolphins’ offense to resemble that of the 49ers. This means they will deploy a heavy zone running scheme, attempt to build their offense that is less dependent on the quarterback and use wide receivers as offensive weapons by finding creative ways to give them the ball.

    This very well means that McDaniel can use Waddle similarly to how Deebo Samuel was used last season. It is worth noting, however, that there are major differences between the receivers. Samuel is a taller and thicker receiver and is built like a running back. Waddle is smaller but has world-class speed that not many other receivers in the league can come close to.

    Last season, Waddle became a PPR machine in PPR fantasy leagues because Tua Tagovailoa lacks the arm strength needed to use him as the down-the-field threat he was at Alabama. Waddle broke the rookie record for receptions in a single season, even though he missed one game.

    Miami could expand on what they started to do late last season and line Waddle up all over the field. This could manufacture touches for him, allowing him to get in space, and use his speed to create chunk plays.

    McDaniel’s blueprint for how to use Deebo Samuel from last season could put Waddle in weekly WR1 status next season. It is extremely realistic to imagine Waddle receiving between 7-10 targets along with 5-8 carries a game. If he consistently has that workload, he would easily be in the WR1 category. Waddle could even be the highest-scoring wide receiver in fantasy next season.

    Miami Pass-Catchers

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    This offseason, a lot could — and is expected to — change for Miami’s offense. Not only will they change their offensive scheme, but there will be some major offensive personnel changes as well.

    Multiple Miami Dolphins pass catchers are set to hit free agency. Those include TE Mike Gesicki and a long list of wide receivers including Will Fuller, Mack Hollins, Albert Wilson, Preston Williams, and Isaiah Ford.

    A combined 134 receptions/220 targets for 1,403 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns is expected to hit the open market. That is a 35% average of the team’s receptions, targets, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns that will need to be replaced.

    Miami will focus on retaining Gesicki and restocking the team’s depth, but it is unlikely all that production is replaced. Based on McDaniel’s background, Miami may prioritize its top assets in free agency and the draft. They will be looking to rebuild their atrocious offensive line and give them a huge boost in the running game. This will likely mean a larger role for the receivers already on the roster including Jaylen Waddle.

    Expectations for Waddle in Year Two

    In year two, people expect Waddle to step into a larger role as the team’s official number one receiver. Now, he may be taking on a larger target share to replace the veterans expected to leave the team. He can see a role comparable to Davante Adams, Brandin Cooks, Terry McLaurin, Keenan Allen, and Justin Jefferson this past season.

    All five of the previously listed receivers ranked in the top-20 in targets per game. What makes them special is that they are more talented than the other pass catchers on the roster. SO much so that they consistently receive a massive target share on a consistent basis. Waddle was in that territory a season ago and could build on that by seeing more targets in his second season.

    Waddle’s Ceiling

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    Last season, Waddle was able to put up the numbers he did, despite the play at quarterback. Tagovailoa started only 12 games while Jacoby Brissett started five. Even when Tagovailoa was in the lineup for Miami, he wasn’t great. There is a reason why there was a lot of speculation within the past year that the Dolphins wanted to trade for Deshaun Watson.

    It may be slightly early to say this, but Jaylen Waddle is seemingly quarterback-proof. There are no other young receivers in the league that could claim to be quarterback-proof. There is extensive evidence over the years that even the best receivers in the league can massively drop in fantasy value if he has to deal with a downgrade at quarterback.

    Veterans like Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson, and Terry McLaurin are the best examples of receivers who have earned the title of quarterback proof. Players like these four are some of the best to roster in dynasty leagues because they should be able to perform above or near their expectations, regardless of who their starting quarterback is.

    Fitzgerald and Hopkins will likely make the Hall of Fame, partly because of their ability to perform at a high level, regardless of who their quarterbacks were. Robinson and McLaurin were disappointing this past season because the inconsistent play of their respective teams at the quarterback position was too much to overcome.

    Both have shown during multiple seasons that they have the ability to overcome bad quarterback play and this past year could be the outlier.

    What does next season look like for Waddle?

    There are two scenarios that Waddle could face next season. The worst of the two is that Tagovailoa doesn’t progress as a passer in a new offense and Waddle puts up numbers similar to what he did this past year. Waddle would be a high WR2 with the WR1 upside every week. That high floor is something dynasty team managers should want in their lineup every week.

    If Tagovailoa does grow as a passer in Mike McDaniel’s offense, then Waddle could absolutely breakout next year. He could put himself into the WR1 conversation from just his work in the passing game if Tagovailoa emerges as a star quarterback.

    Going forward, even if Miami doesn’t have great quarterback play this year from Tagovailoa, they will absolutely look to upgrade during the 2023 offseason. The Dolphins have two first-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft because of the deal they made with the San Francisco 49ers last offseason. If Tagovailoa doesn’t show growth next year they could do one of three options.

    Miami can use one of the selections on a QB in the draft, trade both selections to move up to take a QB in the draft, or trade both draft picks in a package for a proven veteran quarterback. This scenario almost guarantees that Waddle should have an upgrade at QB by the 2023-24 NFL season, regardless of how Tagovaioloa performs.

    Summary

    There are multiple factors lining up for Jaylen Waddle to have a great season in 2022-23. He could see a new role in McDaniel’s offense that will give him a variety of different touches throughout games. With multiple veterans expected to hit free agency, Waddle should have an expanded role with more targets.

    He showed his rookie season that he can put up top-20 fantasy wide receiver numbers in PPR formats regardless of quarterback play. Waddle should still produce this year, even if QB performance limits him. Then he could expect a breakout the following year, once Miami upgrades at quarterback.


    Thank you for checking out my piece! You can find all mof my work on my IDP Guys author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @Chris_Thomas98 and @IDPGuys (we have offense too). Please check out our website at idpguys.org. and subscribe to our IDP Guys Youtube page!

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