With any threat to his lead role now greatly minimized, if not eliminated completely, where does Lamar Miller‘s fantasy upside reside this year?
Over his three seasons with the Houston Texans, it’s been like clockwork for Lamar Miller–over 1,100 yards from scrimmage, precisely six total touchdowns and at least 14 games played. Last year’s numbers (973 rushing yards, 25 catches for 163 yards over 14 games) yielded a RB22 finish in standard fantasy scoring, and based on his per game average he would have been RB17 if he had played all 16 games.
Miller had a mediocre fantasy outlook all offseason, as D’Onta Foreman drew accolades as he got further removed from an Achilles’ injury that ended his 2017 rookie season early and mostly kept him off the field last year and seemed like a serious threat to take touches from Miller. But on Sunday, citing bad work habits and tardiness, the Texans waived Foreman.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle has reported the Texans want to bring in another back to compete for the backup job. Jay Ajayi stands as the most accomplished back available, but head coach Bill O’Brien‘s assertion about adding someone who can play special teams seems to put Ajayi out of the mix for Houston.
The Texans could now consider a trade for Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, and supplant Miller as the starter. But that doesn’t seem to be in the cards, even as Miller enters the final year of his contract.
So let’s assume no notable additions to the Texans’ backfield, and Miller now as the unquestioned workhorse back. What might that look like in terms of his fantasy ceiling for this year?
After averaging a career-low 3.7 yards per carry in 2017, Miller rebounded back to 4.6 yards per carry last year. But that was skewed by a 97-yard run, and remove that run and his yards per carry drops to 4.2 on his other 209 totes. That’s not bad but it’s not excellent either, which serves as an apt description of Miller.
Fantasy Pros ADP has Miller at RB31 and the 70th overall pick, and Fantasy Football Calculator has him at 61st overall (RB28, pick 6.01) in 12-team standard leagues. That’s fifth or sixth-round, RB3 territory with a slight bump down in PPR ADP (72nd overall-Fantasy Pros; 68th overall-Fantasy Football Calculator). With a RB2 floor in 12-team leagues, there’s some draft day value to be had.
Miller’s ADP will naturally trend up now. And as Henry McKenna of For The Win pointed out, the Texans may very well run him into the ground knowing they will not be re-signing him next March. But he is still just a RB2 for fantasy purposes this year, albeit with a bit more upside than he had just two days ago.