With the start of the 2022 NFL and fantasy football season fast approaching, our own Kevin Adams is going division by division to preview every team in the league from a DFS and betting perspective. Strategy, pace, personnel and more — he’s hitting the season from every angle to help you get ready to put your money on the line. Today: The AFC East.

 

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Miami Dolphins

2021 record: 9-8 | MagicSportsGuy’s 2022 Projection: 9-8
Head Coach: Mike McDaniel (1st season) 
Offensive Coordinator: Frank Smith (1st season) 
Defensive Coordinator: Josh Boyer 

I don’t have a strong lean here at 9 projected wins (the line is 8.5), so I won’t post it in the Bet Tracker. Miami has to travel to California for back-to-back games at the 49ers and Chargers as well as out-of-conference road games in Cincinnati and Baltimore. They also play the Packers and Vikings out of conference and got nine road games (a 17-game schedule makes it unbalanced), giving them a below-average strength of schedule rank.

Overview

This will be Tua Tagovailoa’s fourth offensive playcaller since arriving in South Beach. It has been a disaster for Miami in that regard, which is under-reported and undervalued by the fantasy and betting community when evaluating him. Mike McDaniel and Frank Smith will install a 49ers-style offense, which means a zone-blocking scheme, lots of motion and yards after the catch. That will be a sharp contrast from what we saw last season when Miami finished 31st in yards after the catch and last (or close to it) in nearly every rushing category. 

Offseason Roster Moves 

Notable Draft Picks, Additions & Losses

Draft Picks 

LB Channing TindallWR Erik EzukanmaQB Skylar Thompson

Notable Additions

WR Tyreek HillOT Terron ArmsteadWR Trent SherfieldRB Raheem MostertFB Alec IngoldG Connor WilliamsCB Keion CrossenQB Teddy BridgewaterWR Cedrick WilsonRB Chase EdmondsRB Sony Michel 

Big LT Terron Armstead graded out as one of the best pass blocking tackles when on the field last season; it is simply a matter of how many games he is able to play, A more underrated signing was ex-Dallas guard Connor Williams. Per PFF, Williams finished with a 2.47% pressure rate and allowed just one sack. 

Notable Losses

WR DeVante Parker, WR Will Fuller, S/CB Jason McCourtyRB Phillip LindsayQB Jacoby Brissett

The Will Fuller era is officially over in South Beach after 4 receptions and 26 yards. Considering he was one of my more heavily rostered WRs in best ball drafts last year, I would like to move on. DeVante Parker was not a bastion of health either — he played 24 games in his last two seasons, seeing his yards per target and per reception decline after a stellar 2019 season. He will be 30 years old this season, which makes me think they moved on at the right time. 

Offense 

Miami spent the No. 6 overall pick on Jaylen Waddle in 2021, then traded five draft picks, including the 29th and 50th picks, to get Tyreek HillDespite not having an early-round selection and bringing in Cedrick Wilson from Dallas, Miami added another weapon for Tua in 6-foot-2 Texas Tech WR, Erik Ezukanma (DeVante Parker is in New England). They still have a big outside WR in Preston Williams, and Ezukanma isn’t elite from an athletic standpoint. He will have trouble as a rookie on the outside and I don’t see him getting many snaps inside with Hill, Waddle and TE/slot WR Mike Gesicki (73.3% rec. from the slot in 2021 per PFF). 2020 third-round selection Lynn Bowden is also back this season after spending 2021 on IR. I like Bowden’s skillset as a gadget WR3/WR4, but I don’t see how he gets snaps with Hill and Waddle healthy. Former Niner Trent Sherfield is also in camp, and the Dolphins will still use their (actual) TE Durham Smythe (62% snap share). 

Miami passed at the sixth-highest neutral rate (60.36%), mostly due to being bad at run-blocking, finishing third in adjusted line yards per carry (per Football Outsiders), while San Francisco ran at the third-highest neutral rate. SF led the NFL in using motion, so expect Hill, Waddle and the rest of these skill position players to be moving a lot before the snap, giving Tua high completion opportunities with dynamic playmakers.

For an in-depth breakdown, check out the Miami coaching breakdown from Adam Pfeifer & Matt Jones.

MIA will run the ball at a significantly higher rate this season under McDaniel/Smith. They brought in three new backs to challenge Myles Gaskin, who is now a trade candidate. Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel and Chase Edmonds all come over from the NFC West, with Mostert having played with McDaniel in SF. Edmonds should slide back into a third-down/passing-back role with Mostert and Michel likely to share the early down work. I know most prefer Mostert, but he is almost 31 and has played nine games in his last two seasons (one last year). I would not be surprised to see Michel to emerge as the “workhorse” back, but it’s Edmonds I am targeting in redraft/best ball. Per our Adam Pfeifer, “According to SIS, Edmonds ranked inside the top-10 in EPA per rush attempt on zone designs last season. He’s also been very productive whenever he’s run the football out of RPO sets.” The Shanahan offense also targets the RB more than the previous regime. SF has been in the top-10 in RB target share, while MIA was bottom-12 (past two seasons). Salvon Ahmed and/or Gerrid Doaks are most likely to be cut, since MIA will carry at least one FB (Alec Ingold). 

There’s lots of talk about Tyreek Hill coming in to play with Tua, with the public focusing on the deep ball as the reason why it doesn’t make sense (6.7% deep ball attempt rate, 50% completion rate in a limited sample size per FTN Data). But Hill has seen his average depth of target decline in three straight years while seeing his yards after the catch rise. His aDOT was 10.36 yards last year, 12.7 in ‘20 and 12.9 in ‘19, while moving into the top-12 in YAC (MIA was 31st in YAC in ‘21).