Player Points - Zach Miller
By Chase Stuart
July 27th, 2010

Zach Miller continues to put up great numbers despite playing for a terrible passing team. In 2009, Miller actually ranked 3rd among all tight ends in receiving yards as a percentage of team receiving yards:

Tight End
Team
Yards
Perc
Vernon Davis
SFO
965
29.3%
Kellen Winslow Jr.
TAM
884
28.2%
Zach Miller
OAK
805
28.0%
Antonio Gates
SDG
1157
25.7%
Dallas Clark
IND
1106
24.0%
Tony Gonzalez
ATL
867
23.5%
Jason Witten
DAL
1030
23.0%
Brent Celek
PHI
971
22.2%
Dustin Keller
NYJ
522
20.1%
Heath Miller
PIT
789
17.5%
Greg Olsen
CHI
612
16.6%
Todd Heap
BAL
593
16.3%
John Carlson
SEA
574
15.2%
Jermichael Finley
GNB
676
15.0%
Marcedes Lewis
JAX
518
14.4%
Bo Scaife
TEN
440
14.2%
Fred Davis
WAS
509
13.4%
Kevin Boss
NYG
567
13.4%
Visanthe Shiancoe
MIN
566
12.9%
Jeremy Shockey
NOR
569
12.7%
Randy McMichael
STL
332
11.2%
Tony Scheffler
DEN
416
10.9%
Owen Daniels
HOU
519
10.8%
Dante Rosario
CAR
313
10.2%
Brandon Pettigrew
DET
352
10.1%
Anthony Fasano
MIA
339
10.0%
Ben Watson
NWE
404
8.9%
Evan Moore
CLE
158
7.0%
Shawn Nelson
BUF
157
5.6%
Leonard Pope
KAN
174
5.5%
Daniel Coats
CIN
150
4.8%
Ben Patrick
ARI
146
3.5%

In each of the last two seasons, Miller has ranked among the top 15 tight ends despite the Raiders ranking among the bottom five in passing yards. But now JaMarcus Russell is gone and Jason Campbell is in. I looked to see when else that's happened before -- a TE ranked among the top 15 fantasy tight ends while playing for a bad passing team, the TE remained the starter for that team, but the team switched quarterbacks. The list, below:

Tight End
Year
Team
Quarterback
Rec-Yd-TD
Rk
TmPassRk
Quarterback N+1
N+1 Rec-Yd-TD
Zach Miler
2009
OAK
JaMarcus Russell
66-805-3
11
29 (4th to last)
Jason Campbell
--------
John Carlson
2008
SEA
Seneca Wallace
55-627-5
8
29 (4th to last)
Matt Hasselbeck
51-574-7
Bo Scaife
2008
TEN
Kerry Collins
58-561-2
13
28 (5th to last)
Vince Young
45-440-1
Vernon Davis
2007
SFO
Alex Smith
52-509-4
12
32 (last)
Shaun Hill
31-358-2
Alge Crumpler
2006
ATL
Michael Vick
56-780-8
3
32 (last)
Joey Harrington
42-444-5
Alge Crumpler
2003
ATL
Doug Johnson
44-552-3
7
31 (2nd to last)
Michael Vick
48-774-6
Desmond Clark
2003
CHI
Kordell Stewart
44-433-2
14
29 (4th to last)
Chad Hutchinson
24-282-1
Kyle Brady
2002
JAX
Mark Brunell
43-461-4
10
30 (3rd to last)
Byron Leftwich
29-281-1
Anthony Becht
2001
NYJ
Vinny Testaverde
36-321-5
14
29 (3rd to last)
Chad Pennington
28-243-5
Wesley Walls
2001
CAR
Chris Weinke
43-452-5
11
27 (5th to last)
Rodney Peete
19-241-4
Jackie Harris
2000
DAL
Troy Aikman
39-306-5
11
27 (5th to last)
Quincy Carter
15-141-2
Dave Moore
1999
TAM
Trent Dilfer
23-276-5
14
30 (2nd to last)
Shaun King
29-288-3
Freddie Jones
1998
SDG
Craig Whelihan
57-602-3
5
26 (5th to last)
Jim Harbaugh
56-670-2
Tony McGee
1993
CIN
David Klingler
44-525-0
13
26 (3rd to last)
Jeff Blake
40-492-1
Howard Cross
1992
NYG
Jeff Hostetler
27-357-2
15
25 (4th to last)
Phil Simms
21-272-5
Ethan Horton
1992
RAI
Jay Schroeder
33-409-2
10
24 (5th to last)
Jeff Hostetler
43-467-1
Eric Green
1990
PIT
Bubby Brister
34-387-7
7
24 (5th to last)
Neil O'Donnell
41-582-6
James Thornton
1989
CHI
Mike Tomczak
24-392-3
10
24 (5th to last)
Jim Harbaugh
19-254-1
Average
42-468-3.8
34-400-3.1

Surprisingly, there wasn't much improvement by the tight ends above. Maybe it was because the team wasn't a good passing team for more reasons than the quarterback; therefore, a switch didn't solve the problem. Maybe it was normal regression to the mean by top tight ends. Or, perhaps, the results don't mean much due to a small sample size.

Or, perhaps, having a bad quarterback isn't so bad for a tight end. Bad quarterbacks don't progress through their reads or have pin-point accuracy; the big tight end over the middle is a dependable target. Weaker quarterbacks and passing games may revolve around the tight end more than some high-octane offenses. For Oakland, it's hard not to view Jason Campbell as a big upgrade for the passing attack. Miller ranked as the 11th best tight end last season in a 0.5 PPR league, and he's got an ADP of TE10 in non-PPR leagues and TE12 in PPR leagues. It seems like most fantasy players aren't ready to bump up Miller just yet. I would have thought they were crazy before I looked into this, but maybe they know something I don't.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to stuart@footballguys.com.

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