Week 9 highlighted the importance of letting go of our pre- and early season assumptions. With the season halfway over and the playoffs rapidly approaching, we shouldn’t let what we thought would happen cloud our judgment. D.J. Moore doesn’t have a secure role for fantasy purposes in Carolina. Jonathan Taylor is part of a committee. Our rosters have to be optimized to account for the actual range of outcomes for every player and not just those on the bench. After some surprising and disappointing performances coming out of Week 9, I took a look at some of the players we may have a hard time starting and what their range of outcomes are in the weeks ahead.
Quarterback: Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins
Week 8 Results: 18.3 (Projected), 21.4 (Actual)
The Dolphins deciding to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick after Week 7 was met with some skepticism. The transition to Tua was expected, but the timing was curious. Miami was set to face the Rams in Week 8 and the prospect of Tagovailoa facing Aaron Donald was a concern. Miami’s defense drove them to a convincing win over Los Angeles, but Tua had an uneven debut. He had less than 100 passing yards and rushed twice. The hope was that the pressure combined with a savvy secondary held him back and that assumption proved true in Week 9. After securing the Dolphins a second-place spot in the AFC East, Tua’s on a promising path to both NFL and fantasy stardom. Before his value gets too out of hand, I took a look at his upcoming schedule and if we should buy into the hype.
Advice Moving Forward:
Tua is a matchup-based starter moving forward with positive matchups heading into the fantasy playoffs. He’s only started two games so we can’t crown him an every-week starter just yet. But the tools are there. His 25%-point swing in Completion Percentage over Expectation (CPOE) from Week 8 to Week 9 despite losing Preston Williams is a solid indicator of his skill. His pocket management, ability to escape pressure, and delivering accurate throws in the red zone were all on display in Week 9. Plus, Miami’s five-game stretch features at least three defenses that shouldn’t post much of an issue for Tua and the Dolphins’ passing game.
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