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Will Fuller

Will Fuller could provide a jolt to the Dolphins offense

The Miami Dolphins have gotten off to a very positive start to the season, having beaten the revamped New England Patriots in Week 1 and ruining Mac Jones’ rookie debut.

 

The Dolphins eked out a win by the slimmest margin, beating the Pats 17-16, with Xavien Howard forcing a turnover to preserve a precious lead.

 

“Every game I feel like I have to make something happen for the team and give the ball to the offense. My mindset was get the ball out,” Howard said after the game. “We needed it and it was crucial. So I made it happen.”

 

Howard led the NFL in forced turnovers last season and wasted no time enhancing his reputation as a threat in the defense. 

 

The Dolphins will play their first game at home against the Buffalo Bills next Sunday and are not favored to win. The NFL lines have them at 7/5 for a victory while the opposition, one of the Super Bowl favorites, have been attached to odds of 5/8.

 

Meanwhile, the Dolphins will be hoping to get maximum output from Will Fuller when he returns. The wide receiver has seen his career stunted by injuries, with various issues causing him to miss spans and also bringing an end to his campaigns prematurely.

 

The player is reported to have an undisclosed injury which could fashion another slow start to 2021. Fuller served out the last match of his six-game suspension for the use of performance-enhancing drugs when his team beat New England and he is eligible to play in the remaining 16 games of the season. However, coach Brian Flores is cautious over playing the WR who has caught 209 passes for 3,110 yards along with 24 touchdowns since he came into the league as a first-round pick five years ago.

 

Flores has noted that the player has been out from most practices since training camp began in July. He also worked out on his own during OTAs in the spring and it could possibly lead to chemistry issues between himself and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who has struggled with his own form at times.

 

“We’ll work him in and see how best to utilize him in the offense and see how things go during practice this week,” the coach said on Monday. “We have a lot of guys in that room.” 

 

Flores seemed to suggest that Fuller wouldn’t simply usurp Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson in the offense.

 

The aforementioned receivers were played quite heavily against the Patriots and they have all spent time working on their chemistry with Tagovaiola over the summer. Miami passed for a total of 202 yards in the first game of the season.

 

“We have an idea of where we want to play him. But at practice we got to get timing,” Flores added. “It’s not putting people on a page as far as drawing something up. Getting timing with the quarterback, getting timing with the run game. You have to practice.”

 

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Fuller did practice for two weeks before he had to take time away from the team due to the suspension he earned for taking a banned supplement while he was on the Houston Texans roster last year.

 

The Dolphins signed him to a one-year deal worth $10.5 million, plus incentives that should add on another $3 million. He joined the team as its biggest summer acquisition and Flores will hope he can give them the same playmaking and athleticism he gave the Texans whenever he was healthy.

 

Parker has gone through similar struggles with fitness and missed most of training camp, as well as pre-season, because of a shoulder injury. He has gotten off to a great start this term, however, making four catches for 81 yards against the Pats. Waddle, the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, also caught four passes, resulting in 61 yards.

 

None of the team’s other receivers had a reception during the game, though.

 

As for Fuller, it remains to be seen whether he will be allowed any action in the Dolphins’ home opener against the Bills and it will also be interesting to see if he has an immediate impact should he play in the team’s second game of the season. 

 

The Dolphins would have to make room on the 53-man squad by either waiving a player and possibly signing him to the practice squad, putting an injured player on the injured reserve, or keep Adam Shaheen remain on the COVID-19 reserve list for an additional week. They announced having cut fullback Carl Tucker from the practice squad on Monday.

 

Shaheen, though, was dealing with a knee injury that would have kept him out for a few weeks anyway. Using his roster spot does seem like the option that makes the most sense.

Will Fuller

Dolphins WR Will Fuller making long-awaited return

It’s been a long time coming. Not since Thanksgiving of last year has veteran wide receiver Will Fuller officially touched an NFL football field. Finally, on Monday, Fuller dressed fully and participated with his new Miami Dolphins teammates in practice.

“I haven’t played a game in a long time – since I guess Thanksgiving.” Fuller said on Monday. “That’s just something I have to work out through practice and shake that rust off. I feel pretty good, though. I’m out here running routes today and I feel pretty good.”

As of now, Fuller is the only wide receiver who hasn’t had much of a chance to work with QB Tua Tagovailoa. They did spend some time together in the offseason, running basic routes and building timing. But all of that was done on their own time. Now, everyone will get a chance to see what Fuller brings to the offense designed specifically for Tagovailoa. The very same offense that already boasts the likes of Albert Wilson, Mike Gesicki, and electrifying rookie Jaylen Waddle, among others.

“This is probably one of the deepest and talented receiving corps that I’ve been a part of, just as far as all of the guys.” Fuller said. “We all can get it done and of course the tight ends as well and the running backs. It’s been fun to watch these guys. I’m excited to get out there with them and put my best out there.”

Now with two consecutive days of practice under his belt, signs point to Fuller finally being healthy. Injuries have been the story of his career so far. His talent is undeniable, and his speed is deadly. Unfortunately, it’s his health that’s the biggest question mark. Since being drafted in the first round by the Houston Texans in 2016, Fuller has missed 27 games in five seasons thanks to nagging injuries.

“Those guys are working hard to get back.” Head coach Brian Flores said on Tuesday. “I wouldn’t say there’s any worry, it’s more they’re working to get back. They’ll be out there today. From that standpoint I know they are doing everything they can and that’s really all we can ask of them. That’s kind of the approach I take. Injuries happen … All that we can ask is that they do everything they can to get back as quickly as they can. All the guys who are dealing with nicks and bruises are doing what they can to get back.”

However, there is a more telling story with Will Fuller. When DeAndre Hopkins was in Houston, Fuller had to share the glory. Hopkins always had the spotlight as a perennial All-Pro wide receiver. Once Hopkins left to Arizona, however, everything changed. Quarterback Deshaun Watson now relied on Fuller to be his top target, and he took advantage of that chance. 2020 was Fuller’s best statistical year yet, as he logged 53 catches for 879 yards and eight touchdowns. The craziest thing of all, is that Fuller only played in 11 games last season. Which means he put those numbers up while still missing five games.

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If Fuller had played the whole season, who knows what he could have done? Now, it’s Tua Tagovailoa who will get the chance to benefit from Fuller’s presence, and he spoke about how happy he was to have the veteran back in practice at last on Wednesday.

“It’s good to have all of our guys back out here, to be able to work some timing and to be able to get some work in with them.” Tagovailoa said. “I think just them being able to get back into the huddle, hear calls, get out, know where they’re lining up at and then executing with them, I think that’s very important.”

The Miami Dolphins offense already looks vastly improved even without Will Fuller on the field. It’s hard to imagine how much better it can look with Fuller added to the equation. Perhaps, if he can stay healthy, Miami may feel compelled to offer him a big extension. Fuller signed a 1-year, almost fully guaranteed $10,625,011 contract with the Dolphins, both cashing in and betting on himself simultaneously.

Will Fuller is betting he can stay healthy. He’s betting that Tua Tagovailoa is ready to make a huge jump in his career and make him look good. If he wins those bets, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Fuller will be a very rich man in 2022 and beyond.

Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for seven years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung

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Which Miami Dolphins to Draft in Fantasy

 

Since I began playing fantasy football in 2012, I have been able to pick up some ironclad rules as to how to draft and operate my fantasy team. Without divulging all my “confidential” information, I can give the one that always hurt me the most: I refused to draft or pick up any Miami Dolphins. The heart and the brain just could never decide how to properly handle sits and starts. Also, any NE Patriot, they truly are a week-to-week team depending on the matchup. Now in 2021 I still have that rule but maybe some of you guys or gals are better than me at this and can handle the emotional roller coaster. Here I am to break down some possible fantasy football options on your 2021 Miami Dolphins.

Myles Gaskin
Myles Gaskin when healthy last season was one of the top 10 most productive RBs when it came to yards from scrimmage and 11th overall player.

 

Finishing the year with 972 in just 10 games played, dealing with covid, and spraining his MCL. If he had produced instead of 97.2 yards from scrimmage per game around 85-87 because of more usage at 16 games, he would have a little under 1400 total scrimmage yards with around 5-6 TDs. Gaskin 2 main obstacles in reaching said numbers in now a 17-game season would be how much teams focus on stopping the run to see if Tua can really beat them with his arm early in the year and also having players like Ahmed, Brown (potential TD vulture) and Gerrid Doaks looming in a potential RBBC but with that said, Gaskin has shown the resiliency needed to always fight his way onto the field as an integral part of the offense and I expect it to continue that way.

William Fuller
Speaking of Tua, his shiny new toy from the off-season is William Vincent Fuller V. A true threat to score from all 3 levels. He brings something that this offseason sorely lacked last season in speed, game-breaking speed to be exact. I won’t sugarcoat it for you though, he’s about the biggest boom or bust player in the entire league.


Every game that Fuller surpassed 100 yards receiving he followed it up with less than 60 yards every single time, with 2 instances of less than 38 yards, but in 2020 with DW he had his most consistent year in terms of playing all 11 games before his suspension as well as being a constant TD machine with 8 In 11 games. If Tua can put it all together, he and Fuller could put up huge fantasy points in a 17-game season.

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Devante Parker
DVP is someone that feels like I always must defend in some sort of fashion, but this is a guy who all his career was put down for missing games for little nagging injuries but quietly performed even while dealing with a QB controversy and an outdated playbook.

In games where Parker saw 9+ more targets he had 10 catches for 110 yards vs Seattle, 6 catches for 61 yards and 1 TD vs the Broncos, 8 catches for 119 yards vs the Jets, and 7 catches for 116 yards vs the Bills. If Tua can find the chemistry that Fitz had with DVP, they both could unlock a dynamic duo with him and Fuller that will leave defenses with pick your poison scenarios every game.

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Jaylen Waddle
Jaylen is the biggest unknown in this offense as he should in theory be looking at the starting slot job, but something about the way the Dolphins like to slowly bring rookies along especially early in the year doesn’t let me foresee him having enough targets to warrant an early draft pick for him. If you can take him late in the draft or through waivers/FA, he would be a great bench stash as he could explode later in the year once he’s adjusted to the speed of the game as well as showing the coaching staff, he can handle what’s required from him on the mental side because we know what kind of electric talent he is with the ball in his hands.

Mike Gesicki
Mike was probably the biggest disappointment in terms of how little they game planned to use him as the weapon that he is. Too many times I would see the game clock and notice it’s the middle of the second quarter and Gesicki was just getting his first target in the game. Mike is one of the few true mismatch TEs in the NFL and when you don’t script 2/3 of the first 15/20 plays to him, what’s the point of even having him on the team?

When you also only get 5.7 targets per game (13th best among TEs) you don’t get a chance to get into a rhythm in the same way WRs and other elite TEs can. If Mike can get more opportunities and be fed early and often he could put up big numbers with Tua as they have already shown the trust needed to perform at elite levels like in the Kansas City game.

Jason Sanders
Jason quietly put together a very strong 2020 finishing as the number 1 overall kicker in fantasy football with 172 points. He was also able to do it at a consistent pace as he beat his projections in 12 of the 17 games he played. If Jason finds himself again with an offense that struggles in the RedZone, he may find himself to finish well in the top 5 in fantasy points for Kickers again in 2021.

Tua?
The biggest wildcard for the entire Miami Dolphins is Tua Tagovailoa because if he doesn’t perform how many expect, the entire offense might take a step back. Let’s not dive too deep into his numbers as they have been looked at from every which way possible enough this offseason. Let’s instead try to project what he could potentially look like with a real offseason, another year post-injury, more time to work on chemistry with WRs, and with the organization giving him their full support for 2021. Tua could potentially be looking at a year with around 3500-3800 yards with 24-28 TDs passing and another 3-5 TDs rushing. Tua has the talent at the skill positions to potentially have a second-year breakout but it’s up to him and the talent put in front of him to go and get it done.

 

 

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Will fuller

Five Takeaways from the Dolphins first week of free agency

The first week of free agency is officially in the books, and the Miami Dolphins have made several key acquisitions to improve in 2021 and beyond.

Here are five things we learned about the Dolphins after the first week of free agency!

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“You can’t always get what you want.”

Maybe we should’ve listened to coach Brian Flores when he openly warned fans and the media that the team would more-than-likely miss out on a few key free agents. He even went as far as to reference the Rolling Stones’ song. And yet, we still failed to heed his warning.

Here were Flores’ exact words during his March 11th press conference:

“This is a very unique year, a very unique year. We do have some money form a cap standpoint that we can spend; but again, it’s an interesting year. I think I’m going to be playing the song ‘you can’t always get what you want,’ on Day 1 in free agency, to be honest with you, because we may get priced out on some guys we’re looking at that we’d like to have. They may just want to go elsewhere. So I think we’re going to try to do the best we can. We’ve had multiple meeting about this; and again, I would say just getting the cap number yesterday kind of sets the stage for us to at least say ‘we’re going to have this; we can do this, this, this and this,’ and kind of forecast and predict said player, we expect him to get this, which I’d say wipes out this amount or whatever percentage of cash we have to spend. I don’t know if that answers your question. You can’t always get what you want. I try to tell my kids that too. (laughter)”

The truth is, most of us will never know what Miami’s plan was in free agency. I’m not even sure some of those within the organization could honestly tell you. But while fans sat and wondered what was happening 48 hours into the legal-tampering period, Flores and general manager Chris Grier remained cool as a cucumber. They had a plan to improve the roster while continuing to use their resources (and money) wisely. CHECK!

Stone Cold Flores is going to continue to do what he wants when he wants. The sooner we all come to that realization, the better.

The Dolphins will leave no stone unturned in finding talent

Acorns may have been Jeff Ireland’s thing, but what we see from the NEW Miami Dolphins since Brian Flores’ arrival has been impressive, to say the least. Sure, the team traded for Isaiah Wilson, a swing-and-a-miss, but do you fault the Dolphins for trying? I don’t. And I don’t blame them for trying to get the most out of Josh Rosen, Mark Walton, Antonio Callaway, or insert player’s name here.

Those are only the misses. We don’t even talk about some of the guys they’ve been able to get the most out of. Players like Zach Sieler, Salvon Ahmed, Mack Hollins, the list goes on and on.

My point? Things are different in Miami. And good football teams will stop at no cost to acquire talent. For years we watched as the Evil Empire in New England followed this mantra. But now, Flores and his staff are starting to forge their own path. This is the way, and the future in Miami is much brighter because of it.

I love Zach Sieler.

Miami’s game-changing running back is in the 2021 NFL Draft

It became clear once Aaron Jones re-signed with the Green Bay Packers that the Miami Dolphins would not be overpaying for a free-agent back this offseason. Instead, the Dolphins chose to sign former LA Rams’ running back Malcolm Brown to a one-year deal. The 27-year-old RB combined for ten touchdowns over the last two seasons and should fill the void left behind by Jordan Howard. I kid, i kid. But Brown does bring the thunder in a way the Dolphins believed Howard could when they inked him last March.

Translation: He is mean AF, and it will be hard for any defensive lineman to stop in short-yard situations. 

Personally, I never wanted the Dolphins to go after Aaron Jones.

Especially when you consider what his contract will cost in comparison to one of this year’s top rookies. Sure, it would’ve filled a void on the roster and allowed the team to use those top draft picks elsewhere. And yes, Jones would’ve been the best RB the Dolphins have had since Ricky Williams himself. But when you think of adding a young talent like Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, or Javonte Williams to Miami’s current stable of running backs. Well, that to me always seemed like the Dolphins’ best, and most likely, option.

May I interest you in a soon-to-be 21-year old Javonte Williams?

Will Fuller is the wide receiver the Dolphins needed

Heading into free agency, three wide receivers were being talked about most among NFL fanbases. It wasn’t until after Curtis Samuel signed with the Washington Football Team that people started to remember Will Fuller V was still available. Some joked that maybe Fuller would reunite with Deshaun Watson, but never for a second did a source or expert mention Fuller as a target–despite his skill-set being everything the Dolphins needed at wide receiver.

Maybe I was blinded by my long-lasting admiration for Curtis Samuel. I don’t know. Whatever the reason may be, Fuller has all the tools to not only take the top off a defense but take Miami’s offense to another stratosphere. Best of all, Fuller has sure hands and has shown the ability to go up and high-point the football. When you slowly start to peel away the layers, it becomes much more clear; William Fuller is everything the Dolphins needed at wide receiver.

The biggest question mark surrounding Fuller and the Dolphins’ wide receivers now, is whether they can stay healthy for a full 17-game season.

In Tua Tagovailoa, We Trust

I can’t sit here and tell you if the Dolphins tiptoed into free agency with one eye focused on a certain Houston quarterback. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. But what we can agree on is that right now, Watson is too toxic to touch. And whether the plan was “Tua Tagovailoa, no matter what!” or “tUa TAgOvAilOa NO mAtTer WhAt,” the Left Arm of God is the Miami Dolphins franchise quarterback NOW and for the immediate future.

Obviously, things can change at the drop of a hat. But what we’re seeing is a Dolphins team-building around their 23-year-old signal-caller, as they should. They brought in Matt Skura to slightly upgrade the offensive line. And as we discussed previously, they added a playmaking wide receiver that does everything the team needed in 2020. Last year, we all knew Ryan Fitzpatrick would start and eventually hand the reigns over to Tagovailoa.

This year it is Tagovailoa’s team. And with a full offseason to get bigger, faster, and stronger, you can bet your ass we’re going to see the same Tagovailoa we all fell in love with at Tuscaloosa.

This article was written by me, Josh Houtz. Follow me on Twitter