After months and months of #TankForTua and the worry that the Miami Dolphins would take Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert or an offensive tackle over Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins took the former Alabama QB with the 5th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Rookies, particularly non-running backs, typically struggle to make an immediate fantasy impact. Quarterbacks are especially hard to gauge because, unless you play in a two-QB/Superflex league, there’s only a small chance a rookie will crack the Top 12 at the position.
That being said, last year’s No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray managed QB1 status. Can Tagovailoa do the same?
To start, we must look at sportsbooks odds as a point of reference. BetOnline lists Tagovailoa’s passing yards over/under at 3,200 with even juice on both sides. William Hill has his passing touchdown total set to 20. BetOnline’s interception total is set at 15.5.
History reveals that while 21 rookie quarterbacks have eclipsed 3,000 passing yards in a season, a mere 10 have surpassed the 3,500-yard mark. Only three have thrown for 4,000-plus yards, with the NFL rookie record held by Andrew Luck, who posted 4,374 passing yards in 2012. Fellow Heisman Trophy winners Cam Newton threw for 4,051 yards in 2011 for Carolina while Jameis Winston had 4,042 in 2015 while a member of Tampa Bay.
So let’s take a look into those passing numbers and add 100 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns to the mix (he averaged 10.63 rushing yards and .281 rushing touchdowns per game in his college career). A 3,200-yard, 2o-touchdown, 15-interception season with those rushing stats is worth 200 fantasy points. That would’ve been good for QB28 in total points last season, just behind Sam Darnold (13 games) and in front of Kyle Allen (14 games).
Those numbers also depend on how many starts he makes. If he puts up those numbers in 10 starts, his 20 FPPG would’ve ranked as the QB9 last season. Most likely, oddsmakers are figuring around a dozen starts for Tagovailoa. In that case, his 16.67 FPPG would’ve ranked tied for QB20 with Andy Dalton last season.
Once Tua becomes the starter he’ll be a Top 20 fantasy QB, but not a QB1 or anything more than a bye week fill-in in single-QB leagues. In the meantime he shouldn’t be drafted outside of two-QB/Superflex leagues.
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