Today, I kid you not. A one-hour shopping trip changed my views on Drafting and ADP forever. (Well for today at least!)

But, once again before I go any further and release my inner demons about public mass gatherings and fast-food chains, please remember that the articles I will bring to you are based on the Pros and Cons of players the Fantasy Football community has split ideas on. This week is no exception.

I hate shopping. It’s the worst. An ordeal. If it’s not the trying to find parking debacle then it’s walking behind someone that’s slower than a wet week. And if Malls aren’t bad enough then it’s the idea of dodging 87 perfume sales reps trying to blind me with a bad spray and giving me the mother of all headaches. And hey I respect their hustle don’t get me wrong but there is a reason why I Madden juke and hurdle over everyone. Anyway. I bite the bullet and continue my mission. I needed a new backpack, I broke the zipper on my last one and if something so tedious ever could exist then I haven’t heard of it.

So I go into a brand generic Store A, different brands and products – it was a bit of a mess. I see an ADIDAS backpack and it’s $60. For a backpack? You’re kidding me!? I mean I bounced from school in 2002 and for the life of me, I don’t remember paying that much for a backpack. But it seems fine and I’m ok to settle on it. The kid (because he is, must be 19 at best) running sales is giving it his best go. But I hesitate and I think I can do better. So I move on.

So I head into Store B, which also happened to be the store of the brand of the backpack (for what it’s worth, it was ADIDAS) I wanted. There was a newer and better version of the backpack but it’s $20 more expensive. I grab it. A better ADIDAS product from an actual ADIDAS store BUT for a higher price. Now I feel even with a $20 increase I have the brand safety. I have a warranty that guarantees that if something goes wrong I’ll be ok and hey, it’s only $20 for pretty much a newer version of the same or similar product. I’m about to buy it. But I stop. I can feel myself rationalizing overpaying for something that I know I ultimately need but can get close to the same thing elsewhere for a cheaper price.

And at that moment all I can think about right then and there is Lamar Miller, sort of. I mean lately, I have been seeing secondary or later round value in everything. Groceries. Furniture. Gas prices, hey maybe I can get a few extra miles and maybe the price will be lower! And because of that, and whats become abundantly clear in my life is that I have developed a nous for finding and relating ADP in nearly everything in life; so because of this, Lamar Miller became this week’s Pros and Cons focus.

For starters, what the hell is wrong with me?! I can’t buy a backpack without thinking about Lamar Miller, ADP, and Value? Maybe I have issues but for right now that’s beside the point. Logic comes to me. Why am I overpaying for nearly the same damn product again? This is stupid. Back I go to Store A, grab that sucker for $60, shake my head and bounce. Why? It wasn’t my first time in Store A. I’d bought things from there before, been relatively happy with the service and their products have always had a good shelf life. No complaints. Just never somewhere I get excited to go to. But there’s a buyers trust and a fallback place to go if I can’t find anything else. But over-paying for the same product when my initial feeling was right? 

Lamar Miller is my backpack. I’m not going to overpay for him like I may others and if he doesn’t fall to me then I won’t lose sleep – like my backpack there are plenty like him available. There are brand new Running Backs from the Draft in the market and some are returning from injury and these are good enough reasons as to why Miller has been dropping in ADP. However, why overpay for an unknown quantity or a player with risks when I know what I am getting from Miller? Why miss out on elite players at say the Wide Receiver position when I can get production from Miller that may replicate that of someone going at the back end of second or third Rounds like a Jerick McKinnon or Christian McCaffrey when I can find another player in a similar range (Marshawn Lynch or Alex Collins anyone?) like Miller at an even later value or round. 

Do you know:

  • Lamar Miller’s current ranking is at times that of a late RB2 and can fall as late as far (depending on your draft format) as an RB4? He is currently ranked as the RB21 in Standard Scoring and RB22 in Half PPR – behind Jerick McKinnon (in a new team and system), Christian McCaffrey (who still has Cam Newton and C.J. Anderson taking carries away from him), Derrick Henry (who saw Dion Lewis arrive in what looks to be more of a ‘pass-first’ offense) and Jay Ajayi (who no one knows what to make of due to being in a Running Back By Committee (RBBC) and at times is underused). 
  • Miller is also being drafted behind a few Rookies (all but Saquon Barkley is in an RBBC) He currently sits with an ADP of 4.01 in Standard Scoring and 4.04 in PPR. But if you are seeing what I’m seeing then you can get him as late as the 5th or 6th Round or later in mock drafts. He isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
  • In the last 2 years with Houston, he has never finished outside of RB17 in Standard Scoring or RB19 in PPR. He has also has averaged 1238 combined yards and 6 TDs. 

Lamar Miller is just a backpack and he’s going to serve his purpose. I’m going to use him when I have to and I am more than fine with him being my second RB off the board. The Texans have a relatively soft strength of schedule and Foreman’s health is still somewhat unknown. But if I see a matchup that isn’t in his favor or someone else on my roster has a better shot at production then I am ok moving him back into the Flex or Bench if need be. Am I afraid of drafting him if he falls to me? No. I have more concerns over the other Running Backs and where they have been drafted lately over a veteran who can produce. See where Derrick Henry or a Rookie like Royce Freeman and their current ADP is then I’d possibly feel much more comfortable waiting and taking Miller a slightly later if I can. So, what are……

The Pros – 

Turns out the guy has decent hands…. 

Lamar Miller over the past 2 years he has averaged 42 Targets in the Backfield at about an 80% catch rate each season. Now that works out to be roughly 2 Receptions per game (not great, but he is involved), however, his yards each time gets to about 10 Yards Per Reception. I don’t mind 20 yards in the air each week. I don’t see D’Onta Foreman or Alfred Blue tapping into that side of the game either. He looks to be seen now as the Pass Catching back for the Texans. In 2017 he had 2 fewer Targets and the same amount of Receptions as Devonta Freeman, who is going in the mid to late second Round in redraft. Another example is if you compare him to Jordan Howard, where Miller saw 13 more Targets and Receptions. Howard is also going in the same range as Freeman.

He quietly achieves….

2017 fantasy football Week 4 Wavier Wire
HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 19: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans throws a pass during pre-game warmups at NRG Stadium on August 19, 2017, in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

What was interesting to see was his dynamic on the field with Deshaun Watson. When their young QB was let off the leash, Miller also performed. For example, we all remember the shootout with Seattle last year. Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins blew up, Watson, like his counterpart Russell Wilson scrambled all game and lit the place up – it was amazing. What we forget about that game was that Lamar Miller also had 73 combined yards and 2 TDs. Also, in the 7 game stretch that DeShaun Watson played before succumbing to an ACL tear, Lamar Miller finished each week as an RB2 or higher – Watson is expected to be ready for Week 1. 

 Survival of the fittest….

D’Onta Foreman has been placed on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list and I can’t imagine he will have the same dynamic power straight away. So at best he may get eased in as the season goes on. His best game and usage wasn’t until Week 10 when he ultimately went down for the rest of the year. So with this in mind, I think it should not hinder Miller’s initial or final total production. The only other Running Back on the Texans roster with any significance as I said earlier is Alfred Blue. This is the equivalent of me, taking over from Neymar at the World Cup. I’m not Brazilian or talented. But a guy can dream, right? Right! And so can Alfred Blue.

And of course…..

The Cons –  

The numbers don’t lie….

And neither will I, I can’t tell you the numbers are pretty. Last year his YPC was 3.73 – the lowest of his career. And in the past 3 years alone his numbers have dropped from 4.0 YPC in 2016, 4.49 YPC in 2015 and 5.09 YPC in 2014. What’s even more worrying is that he isn’t really seeing more than the above mentioned 17 attempts a game (63 yards give or take rushing without reception numbers). This feels and looks like a lot of hard work for little reward. But that isn’t even the bigger issue here. In 7 games with Watson, only TWICE did he go over 4.0 YPC (4.0 and 4.93). The two weeks after Watson went down, Miller hit 5.70 and 5.45 YPC in back-to-back games and had 2 more games above the 4.0 YPC. Considering he was the only real Running Back on the roster from Week 11 on I would say that this isn’t very reassuring. Being nice, his numbers for a ‘lead’ back fluctuate was too much. Being harsh, at times you can’t trust what he may or may not give you.

He held the kid off once, can he do it again….

The last time we saw D’Onta Foreman he had 10 carries at a 6.5 YPC and a TD. At that point in the year, he was a threat to be their leading man. However, he tore his Achilles as mentioned on his last play which was also a brilliant TD run. In the same game, Lamar Miller had his equal most Targets and most Carries in a game too. They looked in this one game alone like DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry at Tennessee, it just took Bill O’Brien a while to figure that out. And if that is the case then are we now looking at drafting a guy in the 4th to 6th round that could end up eventually being the second fiddle of an RBBC? 

Do the Texans need him going forward….

So I have spoken about his YPC and his competition for work and what is scary (not scary, scary but more ‘unbelievable I can’t believe’ scary…maybe shocking is a better word…no I’m staying with scary…) about all this is two things.

  1. Houston had minimal draft picks this year after trading up last year and giving capital away to acquire Deshaun Watson; I firmly believe they may have added depth at Running Back had they had the average amount of draft picks at their disposal. Could you imagine a Derrius Guice (I know, I know he is done for the year with an ACL tear, but just imagine…) or Royce Freeman in this lineup? But they added what they had greater needs for and at worse, can add a veteran like Orleans Darkwa or Jamaal Charles into their organization – which would be brutal for all involved.
  2. He is the 5th highest paid Running Back in 2018 and they won’t cut bait with someone they have to pay up for by releasing him. I would heavily suggest he is a huge ‘cut candidate’ next year and if that is the case he is competing with guys like Tevin Coleman on the open market. Which gives you the feeling that he is on borrowed time in Houston which also doesn’t give you a lot of confidence that he lands in an optimal role or team next year if he doesn’t perform – so Dynasty and Keeper League owners take notice – he may be a sell high if he starts the year off hot.

2018 Prediction

Carries

Yards

YPC

TARGETS

RECEPTIONS

YARDS

YPR

TOTAL YARDS

TOTAL TDS

272

984.64

3.62

42

28

169.12

6.04

1153.76

7

 

Here are my final thoughts on Lamar Miller:

It seems interesting to me that a guy who had a stack of hype between his last year in Miami and his first year in Houston could fall off everyone’s radar. Maybe he has disappointed drafters one too many times so it’s absolutely fair to say that he may have not particularly lived up to his hype when he was given the lead back role. However, it is also equally fair to say that he is what he is; a 17 touch-per-game Running Back who has reasonable Yards Per Game at an average of 4.28 Yards Per Carry (YPC) over 91 games; and will likely get you 5-8 TDs a year, while consolidating himself as a clear and competent Running Back each year too.

I like the Texans offense as a whole – and as active as Miller may be he is absolutely not the focal point of what they are trying to be and that’s ok. My projection is generous. Too generous. But with no clear competition for work right now (and what is probably his last season in Houston) how can you discount what he can do with a full season if the Texans run him into the ground and with Watson in command under center. 

Lamar Miller will be an RB2 at best and if he can get going early then he may be a bargain where he is going. 

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read and embrace my inner monologue. You can find more of my work and converse with me about anything on Twitter @TheBLeagueSays.

Enjoy!

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