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Fantasy Football: Are all the pieces together for Tua Tagovailoa to break out in Year 2?

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) celebrates his first touchdown pass to Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, November 1, 2020. (ALLEN EYESTONE / THE PALM BEACH POST)

We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2021 season. Click here to read the series of questions answered so far.

It wasn’t long ago that the phrase “Tank for Tua” was common among fanbases hoping to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Catchiness aside, it made sense. Few athletes have ever experienced such a seamless ascension to the top as Tua Tagovailoa, who left high school as the nation’s consensus top-rated dual-threat quarterback before igniting Alabama’s thrilling comeback victory over Georgia in the 2017 National Championship. Two more mostly brilliant campaigns left him with just two career losses and a laundry list of potential NFL employers.

Ultimately, Joe Burrow’s 2019 season for the ages was enough to earn him QB1 status in the 2020 NFL Draft. An absolutely brutal hip injury could also explain why Tua “fell” all the way to the Dolphins at Pick No. 5, but either way, the lefty signal-caller had achieved his prophecy as a hopeful franchise NFL quarterback. While the 2020 regular season brought out a mix of success and (mostly) struggles, Tua is the clear-cut QB1 in Miami for 2021 and potentially beyond.

What follows is a breakdown of just how good Tua was as a rookie, what the Dolphins have done in the offseason to help him out and whether you should target the rising second-year quarterback in fantasy football drafts next season.

Tua didn’t have much help as a rookie

The 2020 Dolphins finished with the 15th- and sixth-ranked scoring offense and defense, respectively. Their 10-6 record painted the picture of a legit contender, although a closer look at the offense reveals a flawed team. In all, the Dolphins boasted below-average PFF grades in pass blocking (21st), receiving (17th), rushing (No. 20) and run blocking (No. 30).

Perhaps a fully healthy group of receivers could’ve made more out of their targets, but by the time Tua was under center, it was tough to even name the options at his disposal. Overall, the following wide receivers were targeted in his nine starts last season:

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