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Miami Dolphins

Can Waddle, Hill generate more big plays in 2022?

In Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, the Dolphins have the league’s fastest pair of wide receivers. Now can they get them downfield for some big plays?

Both receivers were used mostly on short routes last year. Waddle averaged only 9.8 yards per catch, generally catching short passes around the line of scrimmage and not doing much with them.

Hill had a handful of huge games but otherwise was similar. Most opponents opted to play off Hill, letting him catch shorter passes but not letting him get deep for long touchdowns. Hill had four monster games, catching 41 passes for 614 yards and 7 TDs against the Eagles, Raiders, Chargers and Browns (in general, teams that tried to leave him in single coverage). But in his other 11 full, healthy games, he was very similar to Waddle – 67 catches for 604 yards and 2 TDs in those 11 games.

So what, I wonder, is Mike McDaniel going to do with these fast receivers? He’s got a short quarterback with limited mobility and arm strength. Tua Tagovailoa isn’t going to scramble around and launch deep strikes. He’s at his best when he’s getting the ball out of his hands quickly on short throws. And if that’s the case, is there anything McDaniel can do to ensure that more of those completions turn into big plays?

McDaniel coached in San Francisco last year, contributing to an offense that also had a quarterback with limited downfield passing ability. But I notice that the 49ers last year averaged 15.3 yards per catch when passing to wide receivers (almost 5 yards more than the Dolphins, who ranked last).

As I understand it, McDaniel’s duties with the 49ers centered more around the running game. But hopefully some of the concepts San Francisco was using will carry over until Miami’s offense.

WIDE RECEIVERS (yards per catch)
TeamNoYardsAvgTD
San Francisco1812,77715.317
Cincinnati2363,55115.025
LA Rams2863,96413.932
New Orleans1552,14113.816
Seattle1912,61113.725
Philadelphia1491,99313.411
Cleveland1411,87313.37
Minnesota2403,18113.329
Denver1712,25713.28
Dallas2553,34713.125
Chicago1852,40813.011
Las Vegas2232,88913.016
Green Bay2403,08612.927
LA Chargers2523,17112.622
Tennessee1942,43512.613
Tampa Bay2823,50312.426
New England1932,39612.412
Indianapolis1772,18412.316
Arizona2503,07312.320
Houston2032,46312.115
Washington1842,21812.110
NY Giants1802,16312.05
NY Jets2222,64911.914
Buffalo2843,29911.622
Kansas City2442,82011.620
Carolina1962,25711.510
Detroit2032,32611.513
Baltimore2162,42011.210
Jacksonville2282,50711.09
Pittsburgh2502,74711.012
Atlanta1591,73610.99
Miami2072,24410.814

—Ian Allan

Fantasy Index