But the former Alabama star is back and looking to get on track.
Tagovailoa posted just one top-12 fantasy finish (Week 14, No.4 overall) and finished the year as PFF’s 33rd-graded quarterback (65.4). A lackluster rookie campaign was to be expected for the southpaw passer considering he was recently coming off major hip surgery, and he never gained a firm understanding or comfort of the Chan Gailey offense following an abbreviated offseason.
The odds were stacked against Tagovailoa to produce as a rookie, but Year 2 figures to be completely different. A new offense designed by freshly appointed co-offensive coordinators Eric Studesville and George Godsey that's catered to the quarterback’s strengths will go a long way toward Tagovailoa being in a fantasy-friendly environment.
2021 Team Preview
A big part of Tagovailoa’s college success came from his strength as an accurate short-to-intermediate passer. This created opportunities for his receivers to make plays after the catch. From 2018-2019, Tagovailoa ranked in the top 10 in passing yards percentage generated by yards after the catch (53.3%) and No. 1 in passer rating (139.6) throwing from 1-19 yards downfield.
That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the team selected his former teammate Jaylen Waddle in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, forging a dynamic quarterback-wide receiver duo designed to generate big plays after the catch from the slot.
Since the start of 2018, Waddle ranks first in PFF receiving grade (93.1) and first in passer rating generated from the slot (150.6). He’s also deadly after the catch, as no Power Five receiver since 2014 has averaged more yards after the catch per reception than Waddle's 9.8 (min. 100 receptions).