The Miami Dolphins have not been flush with excellent fantasy options in recent years, but they did show some signs of upside offensively in 2012 with rookie Ryan Tannehill under center. They now face a possible changing of the guard at running back, with Reggie Bush slated to become a free agent and considered unlikely to return.
Bush was able to shake off durability issues from earlier in his career to play 31 of 32 games over the past two seasons for the Dolphins, and he rushed for over 2,000 yards with 78 receptions and 15 total touchdowns (12 rushing) during his time with Miami. So there will be, assuming Bush is indeed in another uniform next season, an opportunity for someone to step into a role that has offered solid production for fantasy football owners.
Daniel Thomas has battled multiple injuries through his first two NFL seasons, and a recent report suggests he is not a candidate to take over the starting job if Bush is gone. Apart from any durability concerns, Thomas has not been overly productive to this point in his career, averaging just over 3.5 yards per carry and scoring five total touchdowns (four rushing).
Among the running backs currently on Miami’s roster, that leaves 2012 fourth-round pick Lamar Miller as the leading candidate to take over as the team’s starting tailback next season. As could be expected, Miller was largely buried on the depth chart as a rookie, totaling just 51 carries in 13 games played. But he did average 4.9 yards per carry and 24 of those carries came over the final four games of the season, highlighted by a 10-carry, 73-yard effort against the Buffalo Bills in Week 16.
Miller is considered a better fit than Bush for the Dolphins’ offense, since he has shown the ability to be an explosive straight-line runner, but concerns about his ability as a pass blocker and production as a pass catcher (just six receptions in 2012) that followed him into the league still remain. At minimum, Miller is still a raw prospect and may just need more work to become a more well-rounded running back.
The Dolphins’ offseason moves at running back will be worth watching, and it would not be surprising to see another back brought aboard via free agency or the draft. That could create a dreaded running back-by-committee situation for fantasy football owners, with Thomas also likely in the mix, which would squash the fantasy upside of all involved. But if I have to choose a Miami running back right now, particularly in dynasty leagues, give me Miller’s potential.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.