The next debate should be an interesting one.
It involves two young running backs who will likely assume the number one job for their respective teams for the first time in their careers. Also, according to Fantasy Calculator, both are being drafted one after the other, which makes this choice a toss up for fantasy owners. So, which hyped running back would you prefer? David Wilson or Lamar Miller?
Making the case for Wilson
From watching Wilson play, there is a lot of C.J. Spiller in him, which may make him my choice by default. Okay, all kidding aside, Wilson showed some flashes towards the end of the 2012 season when Ahmad Bradshaw was down. He had a monster game against the Saints, in which he rushed for 100 yards and two scores. He is an explosive runner out of the backfield, possessing sub 4.5 speed and has the ability to catch balls out of the backfield. Now, with Bradshaw gone, Wilson will handle the majority of the rushing work. Keep in mind. The Giants could have brought Bradshaw back, but they didn’t, proving that they have some faith in their sophomore back. He showed what he could do in limited time last year. In the three contests in which he saw over 10 carries, Wilson averaged over five yards per carry combined. Wilson has breakaway speed and explosiveness, but also isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and drive through opposing linebackers. This kid is exciting, but he does have some concerns with ball security. During his time at Virginia Tech, Wilson fumbled nine times in two seasons, and even landed in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse early in his rookie year for putting the ball on the ground. Still, this kid is too talented not to be this team’s starting back. The Giants appear to be returning to the Thunder and Lightning rushing approach, with Wilson filling in as the lightning and Andre Brown serving as thunder. Brown was impressive in his own right last season, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and scoring eight touchdowns. Of course, all eight of them came inside the five yard line, making it pretty obvious that he will vulture some scores away from Wilson in 2013. I have Wilson ranked 20th among running backs, but if he stays healthy and avoids turning the ball over, he could very well be in line for a breakout sophomore campaign in 2013.
Making the case for Miller
Reggie Bush is off to Detroit, so all signs are pointing towards Miller becoming the Dolphins’ starting running back. Miller is a straight burner, possessing 4.40 speed. If he sees the slightest hole, he will absolutely explode through it. I mean, seriously. Go back and watch some tape of this kid. It’s incredible the burst he has when he sees a hole open up. If you want to talk about breakaway speed, look no further than Miller. He’ll be the Dolphins’ starter come opening day, but many feel that his improvement in pass protection will be a contributing factor to whether or not he maintains that job. The team did select Mike Gillislee (who I love for dynasty) in this year’s draft, and there is no doubt that he is a much better blocker than Miller. However, quarterback Ryan Tannehill has liked what he’s seen out of Miller in camp thus far, telling the Miami Herald that he is “picking up pass protection a lot better.” I may be the odd man out here, but I personally feel like Gillislee may already be an all around better runner than Miller, and could very well cut into his work at some point this season. Daniel Thomas has done nothing but disappoint lately, so I don’t see him as much of a factor. But I am very high on Gillislee and believe he is the most underrated back in this year’s draft class. But still, Miller has boatloads of upside, and now he is something that every fantasy owner wants out of their running backs; opportunity. With a handful of ugly committee situations, Miller has the chance to hang onto a starting job for fantasy owners. He has the athleticism to do so, but Gillislee is breathing down his neck.
Both of these guys have tremendous upside, but if I had to choose one for my fantasy roster, it would be Wilson, but not by much at all. In fact, I have Wilson ranked 20th and Miller 21st. Yeah, it’s that close. After watching tape, I just feel like Wilson is more of a complete back than Miller. Both possess incredible breakaway speed, but Wilson also has lateral quickness and a better cutting ability, which makes him more elusive. Also, I think the Giants offense as a unit will be much, much better than they were last year and I’d prefer it over the Dolphins. One thing is for sure, however. Both of these backs will be fun to watch here in 2013.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.