Why Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are the best WR duo in the NFL

2NJ89H1 BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Miami Dolphins wide receivers Tyreek Hill (10) and Jaylen Waddle (17) line up next to each other on the line of scrimmage during the Miami Dolphins versus Baltimore Ravens NFL game at M&T Bank Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Baltimore, MD (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

• The numbers don't lie: Tyreek Hill leads the league with 103 explosive plays over the past two seasons, while Jaylen Waddle ranks seventh with 68, despite missing time due to numerous injuries last season.

• After-the-catch production is a significant part of the duo's game: Since the start of 2022, Hill ranks second among all wide receivers in yards after the catch (1,203) and Waddle ranks seventh (957).

• Get a head start on fantasy football: Use PFF's fantasy football mock draft simulator to create real live mock draft simulations to prepare for your live draft!

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

The Miami Dolphins and wide receiver Jaylen Waddle agreed on a three-year, $84.75 million extension that includes $76 million guaranteed. The new contract will lock up Waddle through the 2028 season, paying him $104.7 million over that span.

In Waddle and Tyreek Hill, the Dolphins now have the fourth- and fifth-highest-paid wide receivers in the league. Miami is one of five teams that is paying two wide receivers at least $20 million per season, joining the Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears.

The Dolphins’ offense was simply unstoppable at times during the 2023 season, thanks in large part to their elite passing attack, which finished the year ranked first in yards per game (401.3) and second in points per game (29.2). With this in mind, let’s look at what makes Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle the league's top wide receiver duo.


Tyreek Hill is one of the most explosive and dangerous receivers the NFL has ever seen. He spent the first six years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he quickly established himself as a threat to all defenses. He has taken his game to another level over the past two years as a member of the Dolphins, posting back-to-back 1,700-plus-yard seasons that earned him first-team All-Pro honors.

Since the start of the 2022 season, Hill ranks first in receiving yards (3,509), second in receptions (238) and third in touchdowns (20). He was PFF's highest-graded wide receiver in each of the past two years, finishing 2023 with a career-best 93.4 overall grade.

Click here to see Tyreek Hill's PFF Premium Stats profile.

Hill made it clear that he had a personal goal of hitting the 2,000 receiving-yard mark last season, something he was well on his way to accomplishing until injuries down the stretch prevented it. Despite that, he set an NFL record by recording at least 150 yards and one touchdown in five games.

Jaylen Waddle made an immediate impact in 2021, breaking the rookie record for receptions in a season (104), a feat that now belongs to Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua. He was used primarily in the slot and targeted on shorter routes early in his career, as evidenced by his 9.8 yards per reception and 7.0 average depth of target.

Head coach Mike McDaniel joined the organization in 2022, and that’s when Waddle and the Dolphins' offense took it to another level. Waddle led the league in yards per reception (17.9), nearly doubling the total of the year prior, and his average depth of targeted jumped to 12.7 yards as he became a more dangerous and complete weapon.

2023 was Waddle’s third consecutive season with 1,000-plus receiving yards to start his career, making him just the ninth player in NFL history to do so. He has steadily improved each year, earning a 78.3 PFF overall grade in his rookie season (18th among 115 qualifying wideouts) before recording an 82.6 mark in 2022 (13th among 115) and a 90.3 figure in 2023 (seventh among 128).

The Clutch Factor

Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle have come up big in clutch situations time after time. They put on an all-time performance in their second game together at Baltimore in Week 2 of the 2022 season. The two stars combined for 22 receptions, 361 yards and four touchdowns in a comeback victory, a game in which the Dolphins trailed 35-14 in the fourth quarter.

When looking specifically at damage done on third and fourth downs, Hill is in a tier of his own. He leads all receivers in receptions (69), yards (1,137), first downs (53), touchdowns (11) and yards per route run (3.31) on such plays over the past two years.

While not at Hill's level, Waddle has also been heavily relied on in big late-down spots. His 864 yards over the past two years rank seventh, and his 36 first downs converted rank among the top 15.

Hill (92.4) and Waddle (90.5) also rank first and fifth, respectively, in receiving grade on third and fourth downs among all wide receivers since the start of 2022.

Explosive plays

The Dolphins rank first in the NFL with 251 explosive passing plays (15-plus yards) over the past two seasons, despite ranking just 17th with 1,206 attempts. Tyreek Hill leads the league with 103 explosive plays in that time, while Jaylen Waddle ranks seventh with 68, despite missing time due to numerous injuries last season.

As two of the elite true speeders in the NFL, Hill and Waddle are capable of hitting a home run anytime they have the ball in their hands. Since the start of 2022, Hill ranks second among all wide receivers in yards after the catch (1,203) and Waddle ranks seventh (957).

Other factors

One of the most overlooked aspects of the Dolphins’ offense is the system and how difficult it is to learn and then master. Miami deploys a timing-based offense that gets the ball out quicker than any other team in the NFL, and that presents different challenges than a more prototypical offense will face.

Jaylen Waddle recently spoke about the topic on a podcast hosted by former Miami Heat players Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller:

Another factor to consider is how complex the Dolphins' offense is when it comes to pre-snap movements. Since Mike McDaniel became the head coach in 2022, the Dolphins have utilized shifts/motion on 84.2% of their offensive snaps, the highest rate in the league and well above the league average of 55.7%.

All the constant motion naturally takes a toll on the wide receivers. Hill and Waddle rank just 28th and 42nd, respectively, in total receiving snaps over the past two years because of the need to keep them as fresh as possible over the course of a game and the season. This makes their consistent high-end level of play and production even more impressive.

Hill and Waddle each played the full 2022 season (17 games) and the wild-card playoff game at Buffalo. Last year, however, there were points when one was out and the other had to pick up the slack. When Waddle missed Week 3 against the Broncos with a concussion, Hill caught nine of 11 targets for 157 yards and a touchdown. When Hill missed Week 15 with an ankle injury, Waddle caught eight of nine targets for 142 yards and a touchdown against an elite Jets defense.

Bottom Line

Tyreek Hill was targeted on 35.5% of his routes last season, the highest mark in the PFF era, and it resulted in a career-best season. He is truly a generational talent at the wide receiver position and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Just 25 years old, Jaylen Waddle is now entering the prime of his career and can take his game to another level in Year 4.

Expectations are sky-high for Mike McDaniel’s offense in his third year with the team. With Hill and Waddle in the fold, there is every reason to believe the Dolphins will once again boast one of the NFL's best pure passing attacks.


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