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New Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel says he would start Jaylen Waddle in fantasy football next season


Saying that Mike McDaniel is excited about getting to work with Jaylen Waddle would be a massive understatement. The new Dolphins head coach didn’t wait for the question to fully be asked before he screamed Waddle’s name during a recent interview. 

McDaniel was asked which player — outside of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa — he feels he can get the most out of their talent upon looking over the Dolphins’ roster. 

“Waddle!” McDaniel emphatically declared during an appearance on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. “I just talked with him on Monday, and I think he understands his leadership role on this team. He’s a phenomenal talent, and guess what, the best and easiest way to get yards is give it to a really talented player. 

“The 49ers, the last four or five years, have led the league in YAC. The reason is because we were addicted to getting our skill position players that are good with running the ball the ball. So yes, I would start him in fantasy. Beyond that, I think you should see some jumps in the Miami Dolphins’ offense next year. What those look like will be determined this offseason and the way the players work and attack things moving forward.”

While he’s only 38, McDaniel has already worked with a number of players who enjoyed big statistical seasons. When McDaniel was Washington’s offensive assistant, Robert Griffin III won Rookie of the Year while helping guide Washington to a division title. That season (2012), fellow rookie Alfred Morris rushed for 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns. McDaniel was an offensive assistant during Atlanta’s 2016 Super Bowl run. Matt Ryan won league MVP that season, while running back Devonta Freeman and receiver Julio Jones were each named to the Pro Bowl. 

With McDaniel as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator this past season, Deebo Samuel was tabbed as an All-Pro for the first time after rushing for eight touchdowns while also tallying 1,405 receiving yards and leading the league with an 18.2 yards-per-catch average. Samuel’s success helped the 49ers clinch a playoff berth before upsetting the Cowboys and Packers in the postseason. 

McDaniel clearly sees potential in Waddle, the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. While he averaged less than 10 yards per reception last season, Waddle was a consistent and reliable target for Tagovailoa. He caught 104 of 140 targets for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns while helping the Dolphins finish with a 9-8 record after a 1-7 start. 

Those numbers will likely increase under McDaniel, who has traditionally gotten the most out of his best offensive players. 

“Every player, traditionally, has their career year with us,” McDaniel said. “And I think that’s not correlation, I think it’s causation. Because we’ve had so many different variables and different skill levels at so many different positions, that I feel like I’m very adept at getting the best players the ball in unique ways and then adjusting to their skill set. 

“I think that empowers the quarterback. I think run games empower the quarterback. I think it all relates to each other. So adapting the talent and versatility to do whatever our skillsets necessitate, I think it would probably be my best [approach].” 





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