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Blind Comparisons: Miami Dolphins

Blind Comparisons: Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins

The topic for today’s article will be the Miami Dolphins.  The Dolphins barely missed the 2020 NFL playoffs as they were the final team left out in the AFC.  They finished the season with a quiet 10 – 6  record.  What also (not so quietly) occurred is the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched for Tua Tagovailoa after Week 6 when the Dolphins were 3 – 3.  I’m not going to comment on what the Dolphins should or shouldn’t have done.  Clearly they found success for the rest of the season as they went 7 – 3 after the initial benching.  What I am going to say is that I found it to be a strange move.  More importantly, this seems to be a theme for Fitz, especially over the past few seasons.  I’m not sure what the stigma behind him as a starting NFL quarterback is, but there is clearly something.  Remember back in 2018 when Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston split the season.  More accurately, Fitz started seven games and Winston started nine games.  Neither were impressive as far as a winning percentage goes.  Fitz went 2 – 5 as a starter and Winston went 3 – 6 as a starter.  The fact is that neither of these players were getting the job done in the win column, but they were getting it done for fantasy owners.  That’s really the most frustrating part.  In 2018, Fitz was on pace for roughly 4,700 yards, 34 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.  In fact, if you combine both Fitzpatrick and Winston’s stats for the year, this is what they would look like…

5,358 passing yards, 36 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.  That’s a quality season.  Well, a similar pace started to develop in 2020.  In 2020, Fitz started in seven games and put up 2,091 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions.  Another above average season was in the making, but unfortunately it was cut short.  So, what is my point in all of this? The point is to highlight the fact that Fitzpatrick is a very capable NFL quarterback.  I mentioned this quote in a previous article and I truly believe it.  “An average quarterback in the NFL is an above average quarterback.”  Maybe this conversation should have been included in the Washington Football Team article, and I probably will talk more about Fitz when the time comes for that article, but this is the first thing I think about when I look back on the Dolphins’ season.  This isn’t meant to take anything away from Tua either.  We saw that he was very good at game management and doing what he needed to do to win games.  But we also saw that Fitzpatrick replaced him late in a couple of games that they were losing because Brian Flores thought Fitz gave them the best chance to come from behind.  (If you can’t tell, that is an opinion that I also share).  He related it to a closer type situation in baseball.  Tua was the starter and Fitz was the closer.  It is however a moot point, because Ryan Fitzpatrick now plays for the Washington Football Team, and he looks to open the season as the starter.  Back in Miami, Tua will receive first shot at the starting job over Jacoby Brissett, and there is no reason to think his job is in jeopardy.

Comparison 1

Who would you rather own in Dynasty Owner?

Player A (Alpha):

            Tua Tagovailoa

Player B (Bravo):

            24 years old

            2020 stats

            15.1 fantasy points/game (241 for 16 game season)

            3,363 passing yards/ 491 rushing yards / 14 TDs / 11 INT

            He missed two games in 2020

What are you thinking?  Clearly these two quarterbacks are similar in age and are most likely similar in NFL experience.  Bravo started the majority of the games for his team in 2020, and the same can be said for 2019.  But the question is…did Tua outperform Bravo in 2020.  The answer to that is “yes”, at least on a per game basis.  I just finished talking about at length, but Tua did not play in the first five games of the Dolphins 2020 season, and he attempted only two passes in Week 6.  At this point, I would probably side with Tua as there seems to be a bit more upside than with Bravo.  Here is how both of their 2020 16 game paced seasons would have finished…

PlayerAgePoints/GamePass YardsRush YardsTDsSalary
T. Tagovailoa2317.12,90217422$7,568,859
Bravo2415.13,36349114$6,416,014

(All stats are based on a full 16 game average)

While Tua had less passing and rushing yards in 2020, he still averaged two more fantasy points per game over Bravo.  This is due to the higher touchdown total and the fact that Tua only had 6 turnovers in 10 games while Bravo had 21 turnovers in 14 games.  In fact, only one quarterback had as many total fumbles as Bravo.  That player is Derek Carr.

Many of you may have guessed who Bravo is by now.  Here’s the summary for him…

  • His team’s starting quarterback
  • Average quarterback with above average rushing ability and speed
  • High risk for turnovers especially fumbles
  • Entering his third year in the league

Bravo is Daniel Jones.  So, who would you like?  This is one that I can see going either direction, and I could make a case for either player.  My assumption is that when I release my initial rankings, Tua will be ranked higher than Jones.  As I already said, this is mainly due to the higher upside and being on a team with more weapons.  Honestly though, it is close.  The extra year that Tua has on a cheap contract is also enticing.  I’ll take Tua for the moment.  What about you?

Comparison 2

Player C (Charlie):

            22 years old

            2020 stats

            7.6 fantasy points/game (121.2 for 16 game season)

            37 rec / 449 yards/ 6 TD

            He missed three games in 2020

Player D (Delta):

            Mike Gesicki

My initial thoughts are that Gesicki had a better season than Charlie and that is absolutely correct.  He played in more games and totaled more fantasy points as a whole than Charlie.  This (like everything) can be deceiving though.  What if I told you that Charlie competed with a veteran tight end for the majority of the 2020 season?  What if I told you that Charlie’s 2020 tight end teammate is no longer with that team, and Charlie will have the majority of the tight end snaps to himself?  Well, that’s great news for Charlie, but will it make the difference in picking him over one of the most athletic tight ends in the NFL in Gesicki?  Maybe, maybe not.  Here is how their full stats look next to each other…

PlayerAgePoints/GameYardsReceptionsTDsSalary
Charlie227.6449376$1,449,609
M. Gesicki2510.6750576$1,652,981

(All stats are based on a full 16 game average)

As I said, Gesicki was clearly superior to Charlie for the 2020 season.  I expect that to change.  Charlie is Irv Smith Jr.  Yes, Smith Jr. is in a low volume passing offence, but so is Gesicki.  Both will come into 2021 as their team’s number one tight end, and both are extremely talented.  If the choice is mine, I’m taking Irv Smith Jr.  He has a slightly lower salary when compared to Gesicki.  He also has one additional year on his rookie contract when compared to Gesicki.  According to Rotowire, Smith Jr.  is projected to have a nearly identical fantasy point total at the end of the 2021 season.  All signs point to Irv Smith Jr. having a breakout year.  In addition, Kyle Rudolph’s departure from Minnesota paves the way for Irv to take over as the workhorse tight end on the team, but that’s a different conversation for a different article.

With this article finished, we have completed another division and look forward to a new one next week.  This also concludes the blind comparison series that I have been doing for the past month.  I will work in some mini comparisons as we move closer to the start of the 2021 NFL season.  My next article series is going to revolve around releasing some of my Top 10 lists.  As always, thank you for reading.  Check out my video that pairs with this article.  Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

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