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Lamar Miller, 2016, Infinity and beyond


Evil G

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16 minutes ago, zftcg said:

I'm not a huge fan of Miller, but he really seems to inspire a level of vitriol among his current/former fantasy owners. It actually makes it harder to properly incorporate others' feedback on him, because I feel like I have to discount the criticism based on the hatred he inspires.

I don't think it's hatred as much as significant disappointment in his performance as a feature back since he arrived in Houston. The guy was a treat to watch in Miami - explosive, fast and had some power. When he got that big money deal from Houston, most pre-season rankings were projecting him as a top 5 fantasy RB.

Fast forward to today, it's not all his fault - outside of when Watson was in there, the QB and OL has done him no favors. And for some unbelievable reason, O'Brien has never really featured him in the passing game when he is best when he is in space. All that said, I don't think anyone can see that he is even remotely the same guy he was in Miami - doesn't run with authority and doesn't even seem to have top end speed anymore (maybe effects of the intense workload early on last year). I think Foreman would also have difficulties without Watson, but I think he would be able to create more on his own than Miller has.

Edited by zamboni
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33 minutes ago, zftcg said:

I'm not a huge fan of Miller, but he really seems to inspire a level of vitriol among his current/former fantasy owners. It actually makes it harder to properly incorporate others' feedback on him, because I feel like I have to discount the criticism based on the hatred he inspires.

Just watch him run and then watch a guy like Alex Collins run. The are both the same size. One guy runs into the back of the OL and falls down, the other guy runs into the back of the OL, bounces it outside and takes it to the house, running over people. That was 2 weeks ago. One guy runs looking for a place to fall down, the other guy runs and if you are in his way, he tries to run you over and does. One guy gets tackled on first touch, the other runs right thru arm tackles.

Many times he has had a hole to run thru but he's already leaning forward (preparing to go down) so much that he just flat out falls down on any arm tackle. Sometimes he just starts stumbling on his own and falls.

I've got Bell, Ingram, Mixon and this bum. This bum is gone next year with my acquired pick #4. I'll try and talk him up for a 2nd round pick to a weak owner. Amazingly enough, he's #16 in our league but that is because some guys have missed time (Chris Thompson) or the full season (David Johnson) or they share carries. This guy gets almost all the carries and can't crack the top 10.

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he wasn't going to suddenly become a different guy with Watson's injury. he was going to be at his worst. the only reason he should be considered is if Watson returns and he holds off Foreman. i'm not sure that BOB doesn't release him in the offseason when his contract makes that more inviting.

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Tell me I'm crazy or not crazy for thinking of this, but here goes.  I'm in a really deep, 18-team dynasty league where we keep 5 offensive players and no more than 2 at any position.  My two WRs are locks with OBJ and Thielen.  Watson and McCoy are going to occupy two of my other keepers spots which brings me to my dilemma.  Bortles, who I won the league with last year, is QB13 in the league and Miller is RB12. 

My thinking lately has been that there is a lot more depth at RB because we use PPR.  An good example was Thompson who was RB10 at the time of his injury.  Not every team has the luxury of having a second QB that's a starter given the size of the league.

Am I crazy for thinking of cutting Miller in favor of keeping Bortles?

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53 minutes ago, BigJonE300 said:

Tell me I'm crazy or not crazy for thinking of this, but here goes.  I'm in a really deep, 18-team dynasty league where we keep 5 offensive players and no more than 2 at any position.  My two WRs are locks with OBJ and Thielen.  Watson and McCoy are going to occupy two of my other keepers spots which brings me to my dilemma.  Bortles, who I won the league with last year, is QB13 in the league and Miller is RB12. 

My thinking lately has been that there is a lot more depth at RB because we use PPR.  An good example was Thompson who was RB10 at the time of his injury.  Not every team has the luxury of having a second QB that's a starter given the size of the league.

Am I crazy for thinking of cutting Miller in favor of keeping Bortles?

If both were thrown back into the draft pool, which would be selected first?  If the answer is Bortles then you have made the correct decision - if not then you might want to rethink.

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46 minutes ago, SCT said:

Does anyone else feel like it’s clear that miller has lost his job to Blue?

not at all. he's a potential cap casualty, for sure, in the offseason but that's a different question. blue is a free agent after this season. i suspect he's being given reps to decide if he's worth bringing back. i expect them to address the position in the offseason.

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49 minutes ago, SCT said:

Does anyone else feel like it’s clear that miller has lost his job to Blue?

Seems clear that the team has soured on him. It would have been Foreman’s backfield by now and likely will be next year. Not sure what the cap hit for Miller is, but wouldn’t be surprised to see him gone.

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  • 1 month later...

John McClain‏ @McClain_on_NFL 2h2 hours ago

I've seen predictions Texans may cut RB Lamar Miller, which is preposterous. They don't need the cap savings. They're going 2B under by more than 70 mil when cap's announced. D'Onta Foreman is recovering from a torn Achilles and they don't know when he'll return. They need an RB

https://twitter.com/McClain_on_NFL/status/968882721706651648

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  • 3 months later...

**Just posting it because I was doing the math anyways.**

Miller’s stats with Watson starting:

Games 6/16, 37.5%

RuYa 361/888, 40.6%, 60.1/g

ReYa 163/327, 49.8%, 27.1/g

Rec 16/36, 44.4%, 2.67/g

TD 4/6, 66.7%, 0.67/g

”IF” season totals: 961.6, 433.6, 42.72, 10.72

”IF” Total PPR points: 246.56

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11 minutes ago, Borden said:

**Just posting it because I was doing the math anyways.**

Miller’s stats with Watson starting:

  Hide contents

 

Games 6/16, 37.5%

RuYa 361/888, 40.6%, 60.1/g

ReYa 163/327, 49.8%, 27.1/g

Rec 16/36, 44.4%, 2.67/g

TD 4/6, 66.7%, 0.67/g

”IF” season totals: 961.6, 433.6, 42.72, 10.72

”IF” Total PPR points: 246.56

 

Of course that would rely on two things that are both major "IFs".

1) Watson continuing the all-time great pace he was on, which seems unlikely.  It's fun to project out 6 games to a whole season for Watson, but keep in mind at the time Watson got injured...

Chris Thompson was on pace to top 1700 total yards.
Kareem Hunt was on pace for almost 3000 yards.
Antonio Brown was on pace for 2000 yards.

Needless to say, Watson slowing down over a full season isn't exactly unlikely.

2) Lamar Miller getting as large a workload as he was at the beginning of last season.

Over the first 6 weeks when Watson played, Miller got 62% of the RB touches.

Over the final 3 weeks of the season, Miller got 33% of the RB touches, and that was with Foreman not even playing. 

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19 minutes ago, Borden said:

**Just posting it because I was doing the math anyways.**

Miller’s stats with Watson starting:

  Hide contents

 

Games 6/16, 37.5%

RuYa 361/888, 40.6%, 60.1/g

ReYa 163/327, 49.8%, 27.1/g

Rec 16/36, 44.4%, 2.67/g

TD 4/6, 66.7%, 0.67/g

”IF” season totals: 961.6, 433.6, 42.72, 10.72

”IF” Total PPR points: 246.56

 

Hmm, interesting.  I pegged Miller as a nice bounceback player this season; went after him in RFA in one league where I needed some RB help.  Good to know.

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2 minutes ago, FreeBaGeL said:

Of course that would rely on two things that are both major "IFs".

1) Watson continuing the all-time great pace he was on, which seems unlikely.  It's fun to project out 6 games to a whole season for Watson, but keep in mind at the time Watson got injured...

Chris Thompson was on pace to top 1700 total yards.
Kareem Hunt was on pace for almost 3000 yards.
Antonio Brown was on pace for 2000 yards.

Needless to say, Watson slowing down over a full season isn't exactly unlikely.

2) Lamar Miller getting as large a workload as he was at the beginning of last season.

Over the first 6 weeks when Watson played, Miller got 62% of the RB touches.

Over the final 3 weeks of the season, Miller got 33% of the RB touches, and that was with Foreman not even playing. 

No doubt. That’s why didn’t really put any opinion in the post. I’m in full best ball mode and RBs are flying off the board so trying to ANYTHING at the RB spot is difficult. The reason that Miller has more appeal there is that if he does have good games you don’t have to worry about the decision to start him over someone else. 

Beyond that, Miller might get the first crack at starting role and I know Houston added 4 new OL (3 FAs, 1 draftee) so I will dig into that a bit too. I know those numbers might seem like a I’m hyping Miller but I’m not. Right now he’s RB 26 (pick 5.07 in PPR on Draft Calc) but I can/have seen him slipping a bit farther as buzz for a few others starts to build. Mostly, this is just due diligence and developing a stronger opinion.

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For the Houston OL:

Last year, they were the worst line in the league according to PFF. Actually thee worst as 32nd ranked OL last year. They added Seantrel Henderson, Senio Kelemete, Zach Fulton and Martinas Rankin in the 3 round of the draft. Ourlads has the starting OL as (PFF grade in brackets)... 

Julien Davenport (47.6), Zach Fulton (68.8), Nick Martin (44.9), **Senio Kelemete (48.3), Seantrel Henderson (69.3) **PFF is projecting that the rookie Rankin takes Kelemete’s spot.

Pretty bleak. A couple of positive notes; Davenport was a rookie last year. So, it isn’t unreasonable to expect improvement. Su’a-Filo and his 35.8 grade is gone. So is Breno Giacomini and his 32.7 grade. Kendall Lamm is still around and had better grade at 53.6 than most that unit. Lamm had limited starts but he might be enough to fill in for injuries. I know it’s the offseason and everyone is hopeful still but there is at least signs of life with this new group. Again though, they are going from the actual worst to below average.

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That collective sigh you just heard was from the entire fantasy football community. "Another Lamar Miller hype piece?!"

Over the last two years in Houston, Lamar Miller has been a boring fantasy RB2 and has significantly underwhelmed as a runner In his career as a Texan, Miller finished 11th in total touches and 16th in PPR points last season after finishing 11th in touches and 19th in fantasy points in his opening season in H-Town. That's a lot of empty calories for a sizable workload. 

Not only has Miller failed to crack the top-12 fantasy backs, but he's also really struggled to generate yards after contact, missed tackles, and explosive runs.

Over the past two seasons, Miller has averaged a lowly 2.16 yards after contact (average is 2.50), he's forced at least one missed tackle on just 8.4% of his carries (per PFF; average is 14.5%), and only 27.9% of his career totes in Houston have gained five or more yards (average is 33%).

So, why in the world is Lamar Miller undervalued?

Early best ball drafters are sick of Lamar Miller. His DRAFT cost is a mere RB25 (mid-fifth round) while he's My Fantasy League's RB29 in average draft position (late-fifth/early-sixth round).

While Miller has supremely struggled as a bell-cow... he still is a bell-cow. D'Onta Foreman is coming off of a mid-season Achilles' tear and could start the year on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list. The Texans did not draft a running back from the 2018 crop while tiny Tyler Ervin and JAG Alfred Blue fill the rest of Houston's running back depth chart.

Miller's poor efficiency as a runner could eventually impact his snaps if he continues to struggle, but at least for now, the Texans appear to be fine rolling into 2018 with Miller as their unquestioned starter. 

While Miller's 2.16 yards after contact over the past two years is worse than now 35-year-old Frank Gore (2.29) in that same timeframe, he has two enormous positive pieces in his corner: Volume and QB Deshaun Watson. You see, Miller hasn't been a very good running back for NFL standards, but he's dominated the Texans backfield.

Over the past two combined seasons, Lamar Miller is top-ten in both snaps and touches per game among all running backs

Not only is Miller seventh in both touches (19.1) and snaps played (45.8) per game among all rushers in 2016-17, he was a far more effective player with Deshaun Watson starting last season. Granted, it's a small sample of just six starts and Houston's offense is bound for touchdown regression (we'll save that for another article) -- but perhaps the single-most encouraging data point in Miller's corner is how useful he was with Watson under center in 2017.

In Watson's starts last year, Lamar Miller averaged 15.4 PPR FPG, which would have been good enough for the RB12 finish on the season. In fact, Miller finished as a top-24 weekly scorer in five of Watson's six full contests, including two top-5 finishes. For reference, Miller has averaged a paltry 12.3 FPG (RB19) and had only one other top-five weekly finish in 24 non-Watson starts in his Texans' career.

Last year alone, Lamar Miller averaged 20.2 opportunities (attempts plus targets) and 87.3 yards from scrimmage per game in Watson's six starts versus 16.2 opportunities and 69.1 YSM in ten games when the rookie QB was out. Not only was Miller more productive with Watson under center, he saw four more attempts and targets per game, too.

Miller's jump in output makes perfect sense once you consider Houston's team-level data spiked with Watson at the helm as a rookie. Last year, the Texans averaged 2.20 offensive points per drive with Deshaun Watson (seventh-best) and a putrid 1.10 points per series without him, the worst scoring clip in the league. In Weeks 2-8, Houston averaged 5.97 yards per play (fourth-best) while averaging just 4.39 yards per snap without Watson (last in the league).

https://www.fantasyguru.com/articles/best-ball-bets-lamar-miller

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  • 1 month later...
Quote

Lamar Miller said he's down to 217 pounds.

Miller is listed at 225 pounds but may have played heavier than that last year. According to Miller, this is the lightest he's been since joining the Texans two years ago. The 27-year-old said he's hoping to improve his explosiveness after averaging a career-worst 3.7 yards per carry last season. With D'Onta Foreman still nursing an Achilles injury, Miller is firmly in the RB2 conversation.

Source: Aaron Wilson on Twitter 

Jul 27 - 1:33 PM

 

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What are people's thoughts on Miller's prospects this year?

All the news is in his favor right now - he's lighter and supposedly more explosive, while Foreman may begin the year on the PUP list and who knows if he'll ever get back to the guy that surely looked like he was going to take over the backfield.

That said, it's hard getting over how poor he's been as a feature back in his two years in Houston - only volume has kept him as a solid fantasy asset. Even Alfred Blue was getting more carries down the stretch last year.

Thoughts?

Edited by zamboni
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he played better with Watson behind center. during week 1-8, he averaged 16 fpg in my ppr league and that put him at around #12 among RBs in the league. he would done better but he only had 4 tds in that stretch but they came in only 2 of those games. he can be better this year because Watson can't sustain those insane numbers from last year over a season. the Texans have to be a little more conventional offensively.

his upside in this offense is obvious to me but especially at his asking price. i'm not worried by Foreman this year but I'd guess that Miller doesn't have much of a future after this season.

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1 hour ago, zamboni said:

What are people's thoughts on Miller's prospects this year?

All the news is in his favor right now - he's lighter and supposedly more explosive, while Foreman may begin the year on the PUP list and who knows if he'll ever get back to the guy that surely looked like he was going to take over the backfield.

That said, it's hard getting over how poor he's been as a feature back in his two years in Houston - only volume has kept him as a solid fantasy asset. Even Alfred Blue was getting more carries down the stretch last year.

Thoughts?

Given his likely workload and reasonable cost, he’s a good buy in redraft leagues. Dynasty value is scant. He’s a good fit if you avoid RB in the early rounds via a WR heavy plan. Looks like he’s got a short term assurance of reasonable volume that merits a round 5ish pick.

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15 hours ago, Tanner9919 said:

you love the volume he'll get.you ride him till he breaks.best to take a shot at Foreman as a b/u plan, but Miller has a lot to give at his ADP

Here's the list of running backs who have successfully come back from an Achilles tear:

1.

Edited by tangfoot
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4 minutes ago, JoeJoe88 said:

You know what list is even shorter?  The one of relevant backs who've suffered an achilles tear.

Mikel LeShoure and Edgar Bennett I believe?

Both more relevant than Foreman.  They were starters.

Bennett took a year off and came back a shadow of himself.  Mikel I don't think really ever got back?

Edited by matuski
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4 minutes ago, matuski said:

Mikel LeShoure and Edgar Bennett I believe?

Both more relevant than Foreman.  They were starters.

Bennett took a year off and came back a shadow of himself.  Mikel I don't think really ever got back?

I don't think Mikel was ever there to get back. 

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4 minutes ago, matuski said:

Mikel LeShoure and Edgar Bennett I believe?

Both more relevant than Foreman.  They were starters.

1)  Leshoure was never that good.  He was overrated coming out of college, and was never an explosive player.  Even still, the year after his achilles injury he had over 1000 total yards and 9 tds, which I would argue is his ceiling with his talent level.  

 

2)  That happened in his 7th season and it was also in 1997.  Modern medicine has come a long, long way since then.

 

 

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1 minute ago, JoeJoe88 said:

1)  Leshoure was never that good.  He was overrated coming out of college, and was never an explosive player.  Even still, the year after his achilles injury he had over 1000 total yards and 9 tds, which I would argue is his ceiling with his talent level.  

 

2)  That happened in his 7th season and it was also in 1997.  Modern medicine has come a long, long way since then.

 

 

I thought I read somewhere its was basically 50/50 for players coming back from that injury over the last ten years.   Half come back and play and half don't,

Foreman is zero threat to miller this season IMO.

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Just now, mozzy84 said:

I thought I read somewhere its was basically 50/50 for players coming back from that injury over the last ten years.   Half come back and play and half don't,

Foreman is zero threat to miller this season IMO.

Crabtree and Demaryius did just fine.

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1 hour ago, JoeJoe88 said:

1)  Leshoure was never that good.  He was overrated coming out of college, and was never an explosive player.  Even still, the year after his achilles injury he had over 1000 total yards and 9 tds, which I would argue is his ceiling with his talent level.  

 

2)  That happened in his 7th season and it was also in 1997.  Modern medicine has come a long, long way since then.

 

 

I wasn't arguing how good they were, but both were certainly more relevant than a backup.

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Just now, JoeJoe88 said:

Go back and watch the Cardinals game when Foreman suffered his injury.  He had already taken Miller's job then.

When one game is your go-to in an argument for a player's relevance.

He hasn't (but might pending the heel) achieved Leshoure's relevance yet.  He has a long way to go to reach Bennett.. if I recall Bennett was pushing for 2k yards from scrimmage one year?

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Lendale White and Kendall Hunter never amounted to anything after their Achilles tears either. Hunter was only a promising backup who may have never amounted to anything anyway, White was already bouncing around the league at that point. DT had a partial tear and it took him a year before he blew up for a great career but he also transformed himself from a vertical speedster into a great route runner. DT had 4.3 speed so even if he lost a step after the tear, he still had plenty of NFL speed. Crabtree had a full tear and came back to catch a bunch of TD's but hasn't exactly lit the world on fire and clearly lost a step averaging well under 3~4 ypr less than he did in the years before his tear. Both DT and Crabtree were premier prospects at WR, Crabtree going in the top 10 and had DT not had a broken foot and missed the combine, he likely would have been in the top 10 too instead of falling to 22 for Denver.

Foreman held out of drills at the combine due to a stress fracture and later ran a 4.45 (hand timed) at 234 lbs at the Texans pro-day but did none of the other agility drills (reported at least) so hard to say what his athletic profile really is. His speed score was very good considering his size (he had a problem with weight in college but appears to have put that behind him), but I don't put much stock in pro-day times. Combined with Foreman's Achilles, and Miller's contract, I fully expect the Texans will be looking for a new starting RB next year (with an extra pick in the 2nd round to boot.) Pure speculation on my part, but they will be one of the top teams in terms of cap space with the only marque player being Clowney currently needing an extension, they may end up being in play for Leveon Bell next year.

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2 hours ago, JoeJoe88 said:

Go back and watch the Cardinals game when Foreman suffered his injury.  He had already taken Miller's job then.

This seems to be a common opinion. I’ve also seen takes that Alfred Blue had beaten Miller out by the end of last year too. For JoeJoe88 or anyone else that thinks Miller has fallen that low on the depth chart, can you explain why the Texans brought him back this season on an above market deal? It’s cheap to sign a new RB and they could have gotten out of Miller’s current contract inexpensively if they felt his level of play was that replaceable.

It seems way more likely to me that the Texas still like Miller, still plan to start Miller at least for this season, and recognize that he’s been swimming upstream for two seasons due to some of the most horrific QB and offensive line play imaginable. People are quick to recognize how compromised Gurley was playing on a bad Rams offense in 2016 but Miller’s situation (minus the Watson games) has been arguably worse yet nobody seems to factor that in or give him even a partial pass.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Miller did look leaner during preseason action and showed good burst on at least one run. It's hard to glean too much from a handful of his carries but what I do feel confident stating is that Blue looks (most definitely is) terrible. The dude is 225 lbs. and gets taken down by arm tackles as if he weighs 185 lbs. If he can't break tackles I don't know what he's good for.

But let's assume Miller once again performs like a replacement level player and Blue somehow sees a relevant amount of touches, given his current price I'm not sure how much will it matter. With key pieces back on defense plus the talent around him Miller is bound to find himself with more positive game scripts this year. Since O'Brien became the HC they've ranked 1st, 6th, 5th and 10th in rushing attempts per game despite going 31-33 in that same time span. I don't even know how they pulled off that ranking while going 4-12 last year.

The piece of this equation that has the greatest effect on the range of outcomes is Foreman. If Foreman starts the season on PUP or doesn't come back right I think Miller easily touches the ball ~300 times and will at the very least offer a safe floor. I am afraid that his ADP is going to start to slowly rise into a territory where I no longer see any value as we approach the start of the season and it becomes more and more apparent that he really doesn't have any competition behind him.

He finished as the RB9 in 2014 (full PPR), RB5 in 2015, RB19 in 2016 and RB16 in 2017. He's currently being drafted as a low-end RB2 (RB22ish) and offers low-end RB1 upside IMO.

 

Summary:

 

Pros

  • O'Brien will run the ball a lot 
  • little to no competition (assuming Foreman isn't the same guy from last year)
  • game flow more likely to work in his favor this year (Vegas win total O/U is 8.5)
  • surrounded by the most offensive talent in his career 
  • slimmed down to 215, may have more burst (this could also be construed as a negative as it pertains to durability)

 

Cons

  • run blocking likely to suck again
  • Foreman could come back and unseat him
  • he's average at best and will likely need to lean on volume to mask inefficiency
  • it's never going to be a sexy pick, you won't feel good about it

 

Edited by SameSongNDance
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hard to get past the coach speak, as the last two years he looked nothing like he did in Miami - only produced on volume. Perhaps the weight loss may bring back some explosiveness, but that may be a pipe dream.

IMO the key is whether Freeman begins the season on the PUP. If so, then Miller may again produce on volume and a potent offense.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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