Will Dolphins punter Jaylen Waddle become a rising star in Miami for the 2022 NFL season?
Sometimes a player will improve if another player of equal or greater talent joins the same team. That scenario is what we could see in Miami this season. Note that wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is coming off a record-setting rookie season, but fell from the no. 1 at No. 2 on the Dolphins depth chart now that Tyreek Hill is in town.
Hill, of course, is a dynamic player that the Dolphins acquired in a historic deal from Kansas City during the offseason. He has unmatched field speed even compared to Waddle’s speed. Hill’s entry would make any WR – not just Waddle – slide down to #2.
That doesn’t mean Waddle would be a fantastic pitch, however. Instead, the exact opposite is true, especially with a new head coach at the helm.
Mike McDaniel, the first Dolphins coach who spent just one season as the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, will lead the team. By transforming Deeb Samuel into a hybrid wide receiver-running back, McDaniel is credited with reinventing San Francisco’s offense. He’ll likely do the same to the Dolphins in 2022, and Waddle should be a standout in his offense.
Remember that Jaylen Waddle broke Anquan Boldin’s rookie record of 102 catches and caught 104 receptions for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns, cementing his place in NFL history. He did it, however, with Tua Tagovailo as his QB, and no other reliable wide receiver choices.
Tua Tagovailoa to Jaylen Waddle for TD:
— 3rd & Juan (@3rdnJuan) July 30, 2022
Tagovailoa relied heavily on Waddle last season. Now, however, the team has a receiving triumvirate of Hill, Waddle and tight end Mike Gesicki that is as strong as any team can muster. Some may see this as a sign of trouble for Waddle, but then again, it can produce just the opposite.
Most of the defensive attention is on Hill right now. As a result, the defense will have to change how it approaches Miami’s offense. Despite having a season with a record number of catches, Waddle’s average yards per catch was less than 10 and he had just one 100-yard performance due to the defense often putting his safeties over the top. Waddle served as Tagovailo’s security blanket when he had to release the ball. Hill’s entry does not change Waddle’s position. Simply put, it changes who protects him. With defenses primarily focused on stopping Hill, Waddle should see more openings in 2022.
Keep in mind that Hill is a dangerous deep threat, so defenses that engage in single coverage do so at great risk. Hill usually gets coverage from a good cornerback on the other team as well as help at safety. Waddle had to deal with that last year. In 2022, he will see a lot more individual coverage and matchups from the No. 2 cornerback.
Future fantasy managers hope this will lead to increased numbers.
Jaylen Waddle 2022 Fantasy Football Outlook
With more than 1,000 total yards and an average of 63.4 yards per game, Jaylen Waddle had a great rookie campaign. Waddle’s connection from Alabama to Tagovailoa has definitely paid off. As such, the rookie WR received 140 targets last season, 11th most among all wide receivers. Waddle’s 104 catches, an NFL rookie record, and WR17 overall fantasy ranking are the result of these targets.
Looking ahead, the Dolphins made some adjustments over the summer, adding reinforcements to the offensive line and a few running backs to help out in the passing game. All of this should give Waddle an excellent chance for another productive season in Miami.
In addition to getting Tyreek Hill, the Dolphins also acquired Cedrick Wilson and rookie fourth round WR Erik Ezukanma. That’s not even mentioning Chase Edmonds, who has excelled in his career as a receiving back. All of these weapons should open up the offense for the Dolphins, and by extension, Waddle.
“Lambo and Ferrari.” 🐬🔥
– Tyreek Hill on it and Jaylen Waddle pic.twitter.com/bdcvr929ST
— Dolphin Nation (@Dolphin_Nation) July 28, 2022
The pundits might say Miami’s offense might struggle to sustain two receivers who can compete in the top 16, but the jury is still out on that. Hill is such a dynamic talent that he will undoubtedly be a top target for this offense’s WR corps. Waddle will probably be around 1K and should still have a solid season. His current ADP, however, is still a little uncertain. Entering 2022, he should still be considered a reliable WR2 option. However, unlike at times during his freshman season, he is no longer a low-end WR1.
Waddle was a sensation as a rookie in 2021, and in all formats, Waddle is still worth picking as a No. 2 fantasy receiver in the fourth round. Never forget that he broke the rookie receiving record and put up very good numbers. Even if fears of its decline are well-founded, the decline shouldn’t be much.
Even with Hill on the roster, Jaylen Waddle should still be a top fantasy option because of his connection with running back Tua Tagovailo. Waddle still has top twenty potential in all formats.
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