As one of the best rookies last season, Miami Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle has become a gem for dynasty fantasy football managers. One of the most explosive receivers in the NFL, Waddle wasted no time cementing his value. Now that the Dolphins have added more target competition, how should fantasy managers value Waddle for the 2022 fantasy and dynasty season?
Jaylen Waddle’s dynasty profile for 2022
It’s hard to downplay how good Waddle was as a rookie. Paired with former Alabama teammate Tua Tagovailoa, their connection carried over from their college days. Playing in 16 games, Waddle received 5 or more targets in every contest.
Totaling 140 targets, Waddle was not only the highest-targeted rookie, but he ranked 10th among all WRs in targets. Thanks to his massive volume (25% team targets and 45% WR targets), Waddle broke Anquan Boldin’s rookie receiving record with 104 receptions.
Amazingly, despite the volume, he eclipsed 100 yards in just one game. Waddle averaged 63.4 yards per game and posted 1,015 yards with 6 touchdowns.
While he ended the season as the WR14 in fantasy, Waddle was the WR8 from Week 6 and on, thanks to 7+ targets in 10 of his last 11 games. From a fantasy aspect, the only drawback was the lack of a ceiling due to the Miami offense. Of Waddle’s targets, 71.7% came either behind the LOS or less than 9 yards down the field.
Miami’s offseason moves will impact Waddle
Miami not only added Cedrick Wilson Jr., but traded for Tyreek Hill in a blockbuster move. While I expect Waddle to have a substantial impact on this offense, you don’t bring in Hill and not expect him to be the No. 1 receiver. As long as Hill is on the team, I doubt we see Waddle match his 140-target rookie campaign.
Dynasty requires a long-term approach to fantasy. We need to consider multiple years when projecting a player or establishing value. Waddle is still a top-12 receiver in dynasty even with Hill’s addition.
Once he gets the ball in space, Waddle is a dynamic player who could turn a 7-yard throw into a touchdown from any distance. He is now playing with the receiver who most closely rembles some of the traits he possesses.
I am still bullish on Waddle in dynasty. If you can get a slight discount from the manager concerned about Hill joining Miami, I would take advantage.
Fantasy projection for Waddle
It’s absolutely fair if you want to be concerned about Waddle. I get it. Hill is one of the top five receivers in the NFL and now gets a chance to prove it without Patrick Mahomes. He is the ultimate game-breaker, but he’ll have a different role than Waddle. While Waddle will work primarily on short to intermediate routes, Hill can go deeper, pushing the limits of the defense and even Tua’s arm.
Given the offense we expect from head coach Mike McDaniel, the Dolphins’ passing game will focus on getting two receivers and a tight end involved more than anything else. We saw this work in San Francisco, with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle having fantasy success. There is little stopping Hill, Waddle, and Mike Gesicki from doing the same.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see Waddle close to Hill in terms of targets. He is the likely safety blanket for Tua. However, with Hill as the deeper target, Waddle is again going to struggle for substantial yardage totals. With that said, his projected volume will offset those concerns in PPR leagues, where every catch accrues fantasy points.
Given it is still early, we have a few months until I will have my projections nailed in. Yet, I still feel comfortable saying Waddle will be in for another great season in 2022 as the No. 2 target for Miami. He will be in the upper range for volume around the league and could also find softer coverage as defenses focus on Hill. Waddle is right on the low-end WR1/high-end WR2 territory for fantasy. He’ll become an even better value for a lucky manager if he slips beyond that.