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Tua, DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki Fantasy Outlook After Dolphins Draft QB

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2020

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in an NCAA football game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

The Miami Dolphins drafted Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on Thursday, and fantasy football players can now do the same.

While Miami fans hope the 22-year-old develops into a franchise quarterback who leads their team for years to come after the Dolphins selected him with the No. 5 overall pick, fans of other teams will be interested in how viable of a fantasy football weapon he is in his first season.

If his college numbers are any indication, Tagovailoa could be worth a middle-round selection in standard leagues and an early pick in dynasty leagues.

After playing the role of College Football Playoff National Championship Game hero during the 2017 campaign following limited playing time in the regular season, he established himself as one of the best players in the country in 2018 by completing 69 percent of his passes for 3,966 yards, 43 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Tagovailoa was again brilliant during the 2019 campaign. He completed 71.4 percent of his passes for 2,840 yards, 33 touchdowns and three picks in nine games before he suffered a season-ending hip injury.

His overall health following surgery is the first question for any fantasy football players looking to draft him, but he received positive results from a voluntary medical re-check earlier this month. 

He also said he is "100 percent," per Steve Wyche of NFL.com.

The other primary question impacting Tagovailoa's fantasy status, as is often the case with rookie quarterbacks, is how soon he will be under center. This is far more relevant of a question for those in standard redraft leagues than dynasty leagues, as those in the latter should take him early in drafts regardless of whether he will start as a rookie.

Fantasy football players in redraft leagues should monitor the quarterback race between the Alabama product and Ryan Fitzpatrick, but they should still feel comfortable drafting the rookie at some point because the Dolphins presumably didn't pick him to sit for long.

Tagovailoa's presence could have a negative impact on running back Jordan Howard's fantasy value, though, as opposing defenses figure to stack the box against the rookie signal-caller and force him to beat them with his arm.

That means Howard will have fewer holes and opportunities at game-changing plays until the new quarterback has established himself as a dangerous weapon at the NFL level.

How quickly that happens will have a direct impact on DeVante Parker's fantasy ceiling as well, although there is something to be said about a first-year quarterback relying on the top option as a safety blanket.

Look for Tagovailoa to force the issue at times for his No. 1 option, which will lead to more targets and catches in point-per-reception leagues. 

While having a rookie quarterback isn't always ideal for wide receivers, Parker should still be considered a middle-round candidate and WR3 option for fantasy football players.

As for Preston Williams, fantasy players can ignore him for now. After catching just 32 passes for 428 yards and three touchdowns last year, he isn't fantasy relevant at the moment. But monitor him throughout the offseason—if Tagovailoa shows chemistry with him come training camp, he could enter the fantasy conversation. 

Finally, tight end Mike Gesicki is a player worth monitoring. He took a nice jump in 2019, with 51 catches for 570 yards and five touchdowns. He's worth a flier as your TE2. 

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