Dynasty Dilemma: Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa is another divisive player in the fantasy space right now. Some feel he should never play again because of his concussions sustained last year. Others say he is obligated to fulfill the contract he signed. Tua said he plays because he loves football, his locker room, and cares about his legacy. You can't fault him for that.
His career stats are quite impressive for three years in the league with 34 starts, and a 65.7% completion percentage, 8015 yards, 52 touchdowns and 23 interceptions, in real life football and fantasy he is a top 15 asset when healthy. Let’s dive into why you should buy Tua Tagovailoa first.
REASON TO BUY
Undoubtedly, having a coaching staff that believes in you makes a difference. Unlike the Trey Lance situation, the Dolphins have a plan and are backing the drafted player, and willing to adapt with Tagovailoa. Mike McDaniel, though unorthodox, knows how to use his 25-year-old quarterback. Besides the previous coaching staff in 2020 and 2021, McDaniel and upper management finally got the weapons the team needed.
The weapons that are moving the needle are Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Tua has had his production increase every year and it helps when you get Waddle in the 2021 draft and then get Hill from a trade in 2022. They have dramatically helped Tua grow each year and their stats prove it. Tyreek Hill one year with the Dolphins: 119 receptions, 1710 yards, and 7 touchdowns. Jaylen Waddels two years: (2021) 104 receptions, 1015 yards, and 6 touchdowns, (2022) 75 receptions, 1356 yards, and 8 touchdowns. These two alone have shown Tagovailoa’s growth.
The stats for Tua Tagovailoa year after year is significant because of the constant progression we have seen from him. Just off yards alone he goes from:
2020 - 1814 yards, 9 games started, 10 games played. 181.4 yards per game.
2021 - 2653 yards, 12 games started, 13 games played. 204.1 yards per game.
2022 - 3548 yards, 13 games started and played averaging out to 272.9 yards per game.
It looks the same for touchdowns and interceptions per season:
2020 - 11 touchdowns with 5 interceptions, making a 2.2 touchdown to interception ratio in 10 games.
2021 - 16 touchdowns with 10 interceptions, making a 1.6 touchdown to interception ratio in 13 games.
2022 - 25 touchdowns with 8 interceptions, making a 3.1 touchdown to interception ration in 13 games.
Along with all of this, Tua is doing everything right this offseason. Gaining muscle, learning and improving his craft, and is saying all the right things. He is making some of his doubters into believers. The big outlier is injury.
RESON TO SELL
Tagovailoa has had a slew of injuries dating back to his college days and you can't deny that his size may be part of the issue. At 6-1, 217 pounds (before this offseason) in this modern NFL that is very hard to be playing any position, let alone the quarterback position under 230 pounds. In comparison to the other quarterbacks in the 2020 draft. He is the smallest. Joe Burrow, 6-4 220 pounds , Herbert 6-6, 236 pounds, Hurts 6-1, 231 pounds. Though not a significant increase in pounds, the height was the biggest concern. Hurts is the outlier with how much muscle mass he has but he is also the next injury prone one.
His injuries include a dislocated hip that sidelined him for the rest of the season in 2019 at Alabama, A few finger fractures, one in 2018 and 2021, a rib fracture, sprains, and strains to the ankle, hands, and feet. All amounting in college to just knocking him out the rest of the game but back the next. In the NFL, he has had multiple week injuries far more often. (Dynasty Sharks)
The most problematic ones though are the back-to-back concussions in 2022. We all saw the gruesome concussion in week 4 when his fingers curled up and he was stretchered off. It made the NFL look into the concussion protocol a little more and everyone thought his season was done until he came back, where he got another concussion. Diagnosed on Christmas, and during the Packers game, he got another one and remained out for the remainder of the season. Tagovailoa has never played a full season yet in his career and this is the ultimate concern for the young quarterback.
Tua Tagovailoa has the “it” factor to his game. What does “it” mean to me? It means he will do anything to will his team to a victory. In college, he comes in for Jalen Hurts at halftime of the national championship game to comeback and win against Georgia. 2 weeks after tightrope ankle surgery, charges an, albeit unsuccessful, but valiant comeback to LSU, the eventual national champions. He was finally showing it in the NFL last year, 8-3 going into week 13 and the Dolphins started to implode. Hard to tell if it was the rookie coaching staff, or players not executing but Tua didnt lose a game he played in last year until week 13.
Unfortunately, his body just hasn’t held up for him so far. I do believe in his coaching staff and a healthy offseason that the Dolphins can be a decent team with Tua at the helm. As long as he stays healthy real life football will be happy. His completion percentage is what sticks out to me, as a rookie(2020) he had 9 starts with a completion percentage of 64.1. 2021 had 67.8, and 2022 64.8. He knows where he needs to put the ball but also needs to improve his pocket awareness to help with the injuries, but in due time, we will get to that.
In fantasy I come up with the same outcome. With the constant rise in production he is projecting to be a top 10 with top 5 fantasy stat potential. In redraft 1 QB leagues I will be targeting Tua often, because of what happened last year everyone will be worried and he will slip a little in rounds drafted. Take the second flex option first and then take Tua as your QB and have a stacked team in other positions.
Superflex leagues you can never have too many quarterbacks. They get the most points if you have 2 top 15 quarterbacks and if you have one and need another, find the Tua owner and use the Dynasty Pros Trade Calculator, this is a trade that I proposed that should put some perspective on how quarterbacks should be treated.
Dallas Goedert’s year produced 168.7 in 12 games last year and 192 the year before where he played 15 games. Like Tua he cant stay healthy, but in fantasy, we all know tight end is a barren wasteland. If someone is willing to give up Tua, throw this trade in your league and see how it works out. For comparison, Tua’s best year of fantasy points (21.6 pts per game) was 280.92 in 13 games. Which was 15th in standard and PPR leagues for quarterbacks. So even when Goedert is healthy, the most average quarterback is still more valuable.
Use Goedert as a good trade piece to try to get your other QB you need for superflex leagues. With his top 10 upside he is a buy. If you are the Tua owner, I would consider this trade but possibly counter to something they wouldn't want to do to see how much they want him. In the end, they won't bite. If you own, hold on to him for at least another year and hope the injury bug has left him.
BUY (if you own HOLD)
Cody Folden joined the Dynasty Pros team in 2023. He plays in many dynasty leagues but dabbles in other leagues like devy, contract, and scouting leagues. He loves to dive deep into learning about prospects coming up through college and seeing them thrive when they get to the league.