2013 Fantasy FootballFantasy FootballFront Office

Preaching Patience with Lamar Miller

Fantasy Football Lamar Miller
Photo Credit: TDdaily.com

The “running back by committee” approach in Miami is destined to be short-lived. When push comes to shove, the eye test reveals all: Lamar Miller is the back to own. To quote NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock during the 2012 draft process, Miller’s “burst and acceleration are rare”. His pass blocking, on the other hand, is pedestrian. It’s this vulnerability that kept him on the sidelines for 53% of the snaps in week two. Pro Football Focus has assigned him -1.9 blocking rating, already responsible for a hit, hurry and sack on Ryan Tannehill. Not an optimal way to earn your coach’s trust. Fortunately for Miller, he’s electric and versatile with the pigskin in his grasp.

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His rushing performance through two weeks has been a mixed bag. After gaining eight yards on his opening two carries of 2013 against Cleveland, he… uh… staggered for -5 yards on his next eight attempts. This catastrophe included four consecutive negative runs and six in total. His long rush on the day of a whopping six yards was negated by a holding penalty. The Dolphins offensive line could not hold their own in the trenches against the hyper-aggressive and talented Browns rush D, which utilized consistent eight-man and creeping nine-man fronts. Miller can be criticized for hesitance and “shimmying” behind the line, but it’s not as if he failed to capitalize on glaring opportunities (Daniel Thomas finished with 8/14 and a one-yard score).

Miami at Cleveland
Cleveland 8-man front
Screen Grab: NFL Game Rewind
Miami at Cleveland
Cleveland 9-man front
Screen Grab: NFL Game Rewind

Week two provided a more realistic taste of Miller’s potential, posting a 14/69 line with a ten-yard score at Indianapolis. He ran with patience, allowing his O-line to establish blocks, yet he was decisive and explosive with his cuts. When he spots an opening, he’s already through it. In addition to his calling card speed and quickness, Miller racked up 25 yards after initial contact, putting his solidly packed 216 lb. frame to work and punishing defenders and finishing plays in style. If he runs like the .gif images below on a weekly basis (granted the Colts are from a dictating defense), he will leave the plodding Thomas in the dust.

Lamar Miller
patience+vision+burst
(NFL Rewind)
Lamar Miller
speed to turn the corner
(NFL Rewind)
Lamar Miller
lowering the shoulder
(NFL Rewind)

Pro Football Focus currently has Miller rated 58th out of 58 running backs, with a grade of -6.7 (2.4 below #57). Obviously one abysmal effort has skewed the results in this case, and if this is the consensus opinion in fantasy circles, you know the drill — Buy low. DO NOT sell low. Maybe I’m a sucker for talent, but I will go down with that ship every time.

Miller makes for a stellar RB #2 and excellent FLEX play in the Dolphins home opener versus Atlanta. The Falcons received a free pass against the run in the opener against pass-happy New Orleans, and they had St. Louis in a 21-0 hole in the first quarter last week. They lost stud linebacker, Sean Weatherspoon, to the short-term IR on Tuesday as well.

*Premium Stats provided by ProFootballFocus.com*

Follow Adam on twitter @AdamGaneles for NFL analytics and breakdowns

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