Tight end Zach Miller fell off the fantasy football radar upon signing with the Seattle Seahawks, as he had just 25 receptions for 233 yards without a touchdown in his first season with the team in 2011. Not much changed during the early part of the 2012 season, with no more than three catches in any of the the first nine games of the season and just one touchdown in that span.
But as rookie quarterback Russell Wilson upped his level of play, Miller started to become a more prominent part of the passing game. Over the final seven games of the regular season, he had 20 catches and two touchdowns with at least three catches or a touchdown in five of those contests. That is certainly not elite level production, but still an improvement over his first season and a half in a Seahawks’ uniform.
Miller was able to build on that late season momentum during the playoffs, with 12 receptions (on a team-high 15 targets) for 190 yards and a touchdown combined in Seattle’s playoff contests against the Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons. His production against the Falcons, with eight catches for a career-high 142 yards along with a touchdown, is particularly noteworthy due to the fact he suffered a torn plantar fascia in his foot early in the game and missed just one series.
Miller’s foot injury does not look likely to be a long-term concern, and all indications are he will be ready to go when offseason work begins. Prior to landing with the Seahawks, he had at least 44 receptions in each of his first four NFL seasons with the Oakland Raiders, including back-to-back seasons (2009-2010) with at least 60 catches.
The Seahawks do not have a wide receiver group that is flush with elite talent, so there’s no reason Miller can’t enter the 2013 season as a primary option for Wilson. There is also little or no serious competition for him in Seattle’s current tight end crop, so earning the starting job should be a foregone conclusion as long as his foot issue is gone.
Miller has legit sleeper potential as a low-end TE1 in all fantasy football formats next season, though his value in touchdown-heavy leagues is slightly limited since his career-high for touchdowns in a season is five. But there’s still plenty of upside here, particularly considering the minimal investment it will take to get him on draft day.