Update September 4: Miami’s quarterback battle is ongoing, according to The Palm Beach Post’s Joe Schad. Tagovailoa’s recovery from the major hip injury he suffered in college is expected to play a part in who starts under center in the season opener.
Update August 24: Fitzpatrick returned to camp after leaving to attend to a personal matter. That means Tagovailoa has been demoted to the second team. The rookie hasn’t done enough to compete for the starting job at this point, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.
In this series we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project, correctly, which players will win training camp battles.
The Miami Dolphins kicked off the 2019 season as one of the worst teams in the NFL and finished toward the bottom of the league as well. They shipped off most of their best assets for draft capital to tank for Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. While they did finish with an abysmal 5-11 record, Ryan Fitzpatrick managed to lead the team to four wins in the back half of the year. Miami has to decide if it wants to throw its rookie signal caller into the fire early or play the waiting game ahead of the 2020 season.
Fitzpatrick was far from being a star last year, but he also wasn’t the worst fantasy football quarterback in the NFL. He finished as a QB17 after throwing for 3,529 yards and 20 scores with an inconsistent running game, and a pitiful offensive line. He did benefit from getting a breakout year from DeVante Parker at times, but it’s hard to see him improving without quality protection.
It’s clear the Dolphins selected Tagovailoa with the No. 5 pick in the 2020 NFL with the intention of making him the face of the franchise at some point, but he’s looking to bounce back from a serious hip injury and has struggled with health issues in the past. The Dolphins brought in rookie offensive lineman through the draft, but most of them probably won’t be ready to be effective starters from Week 1 forward. Is Tagovailoa’s future worth risking behind a suspect front line? Probably not.
Fitzpatrick will likely be an average fantasy quarterback again in 2020, but fans will surely be clamoring for Tagovailoa to make his debut. Tagovailoa could be worth picking up from the waiver wire if Fitzpatrick is benched at some point. It’s just too early to be able to tell when the rookie will play.