To say that Lamar Miller is the next LeSean McCoy is more than a stretch, and fantasy football owners could be in for massive disappointment if they plan to draft the running back for the Miami Dolphins.
Even though I was burned as a Miller owner last season, I still think he is in place for a great year. As we inch closer to the start of the NFL season, however, beat reporters are inflating the value of the 23-year-old back by the day. Even though he is currently a seventh-round pick in many formats, Miller could start to go as early as the fifth round as hype grows and running back scarcity drives value up.
With Knowshon Moreno recovering from a knee surgery, Miller is in line to lead the rushing attack for the Dolphins. I was sure Moreno would be the featured back because of his blocking abilities, but after coming to camp overweight and now with his knee issue, it is hard to see Moreno taking charge of the offense. With several key draft additions brought in to protect Ryan Tannehill and create holes for the rushing attack, Miller should have enough production to outperform the former running back for the Denver Broncos.
With new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, you can expect much less rigidness in the Dolphins’ attack. Lazor was the former quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, and Miller actually met with McCoy to pick up tips on how to find success in Chip Kelly‘s system. You have to appreciate the humbleness of Miller asking another back for advice, and it is a good indication that he does want to improve.
Finally, Miller has reportedly added six to eight pounds of muscle, and it apparently has not decreased his speed. A new offensive coordinator, a lack of competition and desire to get better point to a break-out season for Miller, but calling him the next McCoy is premature and unwarranted.
As fantasy football players, we just do not have enough information on Miller to determine what kind of season he could have. He only saw 51 rushing attempts in his 2012 rookie campaign, and he only received 177 carries last season. Chances are he can outperform his current draft position, but if he becomes a fifth-round pick, is he likely to outperform Chris Johnson, Trent Richardson, Ben Tate, Joique Bell and Ray Rice?
In the seventh round I have no problem drafting Miller, but there is no doubt that his ADP will rise. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, the Dolphins’ back was going near the end of the 12th round in mock drafts at the end of May. Fast forward almost two months later, and Miller is being selected at the start of seventh. I predict he will slid into the sixth round at the beginning of August, and could make a jump into the end of the fifth right before the season starts.
Miller has nice value in the seventh round, but don’t spend a fifth-round pick on him in August expecting McCoy-like numbers.