Tight end is one of the tougher positions to evaluate for fantasy football. After Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski, there is a steep drop off in production. While there are some intriguing options after that, the upside is not high for many options. Why not wait until the end and try picking up someone who has some true bounce-back potential? One of those players could be Pittsburgh Steelers’ Heath Miller.
Miller has been a stalwart of the Steelers’ offense for the past nine seasons. Entering his 10th year in the NFL, Miller will be 32 years of age. According to a New York Times study by Jonathan Bates, tight ends begin declining statistically at 31 years of age. That is not encouraging for anyone thinking of selecting Miller this season, but he should not fall into the statistically nose-diving group.
Miller is still a main option in the Steelers’ passing game as he and Ben Roethlisberger have a connection very few quarterbacks and tight ends share in the league. In 2013, he did not look like himself, yet still put up respectable stats. He caught 58 of his 78 targets for 593 yards and one touchdown, ranking him around 20th at the position in fantasy. If he had scored his average amount of touchdowns, it would have catapulted him up into 15th at the position.
Miller is looking more and more like he did prior to his knee surgery that caused him to miss the first two games of the season in 2013. This preseason, Miller finished with eight catches, 62 yards and one score. Those are encouraging numbers for a Steelers offense that has very little proven commodities in the passing game after wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Currently, Miller is being selected in the range of the 14-18th tight end off the board, sometimes after players such as Ladarius Green and Zach Ertz, who are going to be working in a tight end committee of sorts throughout most of the season. Miller has a stranglehold on targets at the tight end position, as only 19 passes were attempted to other tight ends on the roster last season by Roethlisberger; a number even more surprising since Miller was not running at 100 percent in 2013.
The combination of where he is going in drafts and the role he will be playing in the Steelers’ offense makes Miller a great late-round target. He has TE1 potential as he is set to play a full 16-game slate this season and is looking healthy. Do not hesitate to take Miller late in drafts, and targeting him as your starter to load up at other positions earlier in the draft could strengthen your team overall.