Will Fuller is off to South Beach on a one-year deal worth a shade over $10 million in 2021. As far as the one-year deals have gone, Fuller — who will turn 27 next month — is making just $4M than aging veterans A.J. Green and Emmanuel Sanders will pull in this season. GM Chris Grier has done a masterful job with the Dolphins rebuild so far and with four picks inside of the top-50 overall in the upcoming draft, Miami is well positioned to greatly improve their offensive line.
With Fuller and DeVante Parker out wide, along with Mike Gesicki playing in the big slot role, the Dolphins have the best pass-catching corps they’ve put together in a very long time. They still need a little more depth, but surrounding Tua Tagovailoa with weapons is paramount.
Now, there is no denying that the Dolphins offense was better with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center than Tua last year. Miami averaged 2.32 points scored per drive with Fitz compared to 2.0 points/drive with Tua as the starter. And, according to SIS, the offense averaged -0.03 EPA/pass with Tua and +0.12/EPA/pass with Fitzpatrick.
Those are significant splits for sure, but some context is obviously needed. Tua was coming off of a major injury and would have benefited greatly from a normal offseason. Plus, it’s not like the Dolphins have the best offensive line talent and Parker was dealing with injuries for most of the season. Tua has only thrown 290 career passes — we don’t know enough to say whether he’s going to be a high-end starter or not.
Adding Fuller is a legitimate game-changer. Need evidence for just how much his separation and speed matters? Just take a look at Deshaun Watson’s career splits with Fuller on the field/without him:
|Split||With Fuller (33 Games)||Without Fuller (21 Games)|
|Yards per game||281.3||249.2|
|TDs per game||2.24||1.43|
|INTs per game||0.76||0.52|
|Attempts per game||32.2||32.6|
|Yards per attempt||8.78||7.62|
|Fantasy points per game||23.0||20.6|
|Passing fantasy points per attempt||0.58||0.45|
(Data from RotoViz’s game-splits app.)
With one of the games premier deep threats, we’ll now get to evaluate just how good Tua’s arm is.
Again, it’s a tiny sample to go off of — but Tua was actually just as aggressive as Fitzpatrick was last year. According to SIS, Fitzpatrick threw deep (15+ yards downfield) on 17.2% of his attempts while Tua did so 16.9% of the time. On that note, Fitzpatrick led the league in tight window throws (22%) according to Next Gen Stats but Tua wasn’t too far behind (20%; sixth-highest rate).
Fuller was one of my ride-or-die picks in the sixth/seventh round last year and I’m going to be back if the public remains unreasonably and unnecessarily low on Tua. Fuller’s early ADP is WR27, in a similar range as Chase Claypool and Tyler Boyd. If Fuller proves his worth and has a massive season, he’s set to cash in big on a long-term contract in 2021. And this is as good a time as any to remind you that being Injury Prone is a Lie.