RB Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
HT: 5-11, WT: 212, Born: 4-25-1991, College: Miami (FL), Drafted: Round 4
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Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]Overall: S Jackson (80), G Tate (81), Lamar Miller (82), S Watkins (83), M Jones-Drew (84)
Position: P Thomas (79-RB30), S Jackson (80-RB31), Lamar Miller (82 - RB32), M Jones-Drew (84-RB33), F Jackson (93-RB34)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: G Olsen (78), B Cooks (79), Lamar Miller (80), S Watkins (81), W Welker (82)
Position: T Richardson (65-RB28), P Thomas (73-RB29), Lamar Miller (80 - RB30), M Jones-Drew (89-RB31), S Ridley (91-RB32)
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Lamar Miller had his shot to take on the full time lead back role, but he doesn't run strong enough consistently, and doesn't play physically enough. This makes it tough for him to run the ball as effectively as he should be able to. While he has talent, Miller just doesn't seem to be able to take full advantage of it. Knowshon Moreno was signed to play a big role in the backfield, but he showed up to OTAs overweight. Miller has a chance to capture more of this backfield if he can outplay Moreno this summer.
|2||at Oakland Raiders|
|3||at New York Giants|
|5||at Dallas Cowboys|
|7||at Pittsburgh Steelers|
|8||at Tennessee Titans|
|11||at Cleveland Browns|
|14||at Jacksonville Jaguars|
|15||at Indianapolis Colts|
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Everyone was excited about Miller this season. His speed and ability to hit the hole in the one-cut zone-blocking scheme seemed like a ready-made match. So, it was a letdown to see him finish the day with those numbers. Another credit to Ray Hortonís defense here; the entire Browns front seven, even the backups spent the entire afternoon blowing up running plays. It was somewhat of a shock, as the Dolphinsí offensive line actually looked good run blocking in the preseason. It was promising for Miller early on, as he didnít yield a snap to backup Daniel Thomas until the last play in the first quarter, despite not finding any room to run. He finished the quarter with 18 snaps, and proceeded to play just 19 snaps the rest of the game, ceding the only goal-line carry and touchdown to Thomas. Additionally, in pass protection, he gave up a few pressures of Tannehill, which is something head coach Joe Philbin has stressed could not happen. While Miller apparently couldnít do enough to separate himself from the slower and less dynamic Thomas in the preseason, This could just be a bump in the road. There has to be worry in the immediate future that Thomas could steal some opportunities, but Miller possesses the game to separate himself from average talents really quickly.
Week 2 - Miller drew the start again in this one, but still ended being the lead back of a timeshare with Daniel Thomas. For much of the first half, Miller saw a ton of time on the field, with Thomas spelling him for a series and on a third down, but in the second half, they essentially split each series. Itís clear Joe Philbin doesnít yet trust his running game, but the run blocking did markedly improve from Week 1. Indianapolis doesnít exactly have a stout run-stopping group, but if Miller can get a few more carries a game and similar holes, heíll end this timeshare. His long run was just 14 yards, but heís hitting holes hard and using his elite burst to, in most cases, get through them. On his 10-yard touchdown run on the Dolphinsí second series of the game, he easily got around the edge and walked into the endzone untouched. Miller could be an asset in the passing game, as he made a nifty move to shake one tackler for a gain of 6 on one of his two catches. However, through two games, Tannehill hasnít needed to check-down very often. The fact that Thomas outsnapped Miller 36-30 is a concern, but Miller will begin to separate himself on a per touch basis. The only thing holding him back may be his pass protection.
Week 3 - It was an odd day for the Dolphins. The Falcons dominated time of possession for the entire day; Miami only saw 16 offensive snaps in the first half. That left very few carries for both Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, but Miller once again looked very good. In the second quarter, he ripped through a big hole and raced downfield for 49 yards, his longest gain of the season. Plenty of credit goes to center Mike Pouncey and right guard John Jerry for sealing off the hole and getting to linebacker Akeem Dent, allowing Miller to run free up the middle. He displayed his downhill vision by making one cut and exploding through the hole. He burst by the Falconsí safeties before being run down by Asante Samuel. Miller did struggle on his other 7 runs, tallying just 13 yards, but that was more due to game flow. The Dolphins didnít have the ball enough for much of the game, so his other runs were mostly made to keep the defense honest and Atlanta swarmed to the ball. The fact is, after his dud in Week 1, the second year back has run up 131 yards on 22 carries. The snap breakdown is still nearly 50-50 with Daniel Thomas, so only Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman know why Miller hasnít seen more time. However, Miller dominated snaps on the game-winning drive, a clear sign that the Dolphins trust him pass protection. He dropped a wheel route that couldíve resulted in a game-winning touchdown, but the arrow still has to be pointing up for Miller.
Week 4 - Miller started yet again and the Dolphins came out looking to run the ball in the first quarter. On the first two drives of the game, Miller saw 6 touches; 5 carries and 1 catch, producing 42 yards. On his longest carry during that time, 20 yards, Miller got downhill incredibly quickly, hitting the hole and picking up yardage. He was the lone bright spot for the Dolphins in a game that got out of hand very quickly, and he still only received just one carry in the second half. He salvaged his fantasy day by getting into the endzone from 5 yards out, untouched. However, the good news for fantasy owners is that he finally outsnapped Daniel Thomas by a significant margin in Week 4. Instead of 50-50 margin, which is what weíve been seeing for the first several weeks, Miller took 34 snaps while Thomas saw 19, with Miller running as the clear starter. One area where the second-year back can improve is the passing game, as he had a few misunderstandings with his quarterback on Monday, which led to a few incompletions. Thomas remains the short yardage back, and will occasionally come in on third downs for Miller, but thereís finally some clear separation between the two, and the Dolphinsí coaching staff knows it now. With the Miami offensive line struggling to protect their quarterback, it wouldnít be shocking to see Miami finally emphasize the run. While thatís probably wishful thinking, we donít know how Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman will react to this loss. But, Millerís value is looking up as they clearly see the talent gap between their top two backs.
Week 5 - First, the good news even though there might be shockingly little in this game on the Lamar Miller front. Miller has taken legitimately taken over as the lead back in the Dolphinsí offense. The former Hurricane played 45 out of 59 snaps as the lead dog, including playing on third downs and in the two-minute drill. Thomas was mixed in some series, but it was merely as a change of pace option. Unfortunately, despite playing in another close game, the Dolphins did fall behind by 10 points in the third quarter, and abandoned the run for the rest of the game. They never really attempted to establish the run against the Ravensí stout front anyway. Miller gained positive yardage for the first time in the game in the second quarter, on his fourth carry. On his long run of the day, 9 yards, he did have a crease to run through. He hit the hole hard and if not for a brilliant arm tackle by Daryl Smith, Miller could have been off to the races. Now that Miller is the clear favorite for snaps in the backfield, the results should start to come. In division, heíll have some plus matchups against the Bills and the Patriots, who are without Vince Wilfork for the season, and two poor matchups against a quality Jets defensive line. Itís on Miamiís coaching staff to establish the run, though. What is a bit of a letdown is the lack of usage in the passing game. Miller didnít see a single target yesterday, despite playing in passing situations. Tannehill has a lot of confidence in his passing ability right now, so targets could be hard to see right now. But, his involvement can only go up.
Week 7 - Miller technically didnít get the start on Sunday, but he still ended up drawing more snaps than Thomas, but it was another lost day for one of the more hyped guys of the 2013 preseason. Miller had one shining moment, when he broke lose for 30 yards, but produced just 17 yards on his other 9 touches. It was a simple zone run to the right, but Miller did what he does best and made the right cut, running behind Richie Incognito, who reached the second level. After dancing through a few tackles, he burst out towards daylight. If not for DaíNorris Searcy, who came very close to committing a horse-collar penalty, Miller wouldíve busted loose for a 60+ yard TD. Miller has a few of those big runs this season, but hasnít been able to hit paydirt on any of them. Had he finished off those runs with six points, he may have seized control of the backfield. Even if he breaks out for a 60 or 70 yarder in the next few weeks, the Miami coaching staff may be content with their running back rotation right now.
Week 8 - Miller started again for the Dolphins, playing 13 of the first 14 snaps and leaving in Daniel Thomas in the dust, in terms of snaps (51 to 27) and touches (21 to 10). It still doesnít seem like Mike Sherman and Joe Philbin really have any plan when using their running backs. This season, weíve seen Miller and Thomas alternate series, Thomas as the third down back, and visa versa. But, Sunday seemed to work out the best. Miller looked like his usual self, getting downhill quickly, hitting the hole hard, and finding running lanes. More than any other game this season, the Dolphins ran more shotgun runs with Miller than they had all season. That allowed him to read his blocks better, in addition to getting around the edge and picking up chunks of yardage. Instead of coming out in the second half and emphasizing the run, the Dolphins threw 5 of their first 7 plays on their first drive in the second half, the Pats started scoring and forcing turnovers, and Miami had to abandon the run. Itís still promising because even though Miller saw just 6 touches in the second half, he had 21 for the game. With a good enough defense to keep them in a lot of games, perhaps Miami is realizing if they can get Miller about 18-20 touches per game, theyíll be better off. Fantasy owners would be better off too.
Week 9 - For the second time in five days, Lamar Miller received over 20 touches and recorded 100+ yards from scrimmage. Truth be told, it couldíve been a much bigger day. The Dolphins were getting some push up front, but Millerís ability to get downhill and pickup at least 4 or 5 yards on nearly every carry is just so natural. Additionally, the Dolphins are running more shotgun draws, which allows Miller to use his jets to get around the edge. Heís one of those special players who can get around the edge and stay in bounds while picking up chunks of yardage. He was also slightly more active in the passing game with Brandon Gibson sidelined. If heís seeing 4-5 targets a game, thatís an extra 20-30 yards, with a chance at a big play. Thatís the good; now, the bad. That 41-yard run that ended with a fumble was such a good run too. Miller came around right end, danced through a few tackles, and burst into open space. Thatís where the run went downhill. Instead of running towards the left pylon and the 52-yard TD scamper, Miller kept running behind his downfield blockers, who were overwhelming Adam Jones. However, that slowed Miller down, and Carlos Dunlap was able to punch the ball out. It was a swing of about 10 fantasy points, as Miller lost a fumble and didnít get the extra 11 yards and the TD. That will be disappointing for fantasy owners, but Miller seems locked into 20 touches. If he can start to see some red zone looks, he may finally get to that high-end RB2 range that many predicted before the season.
Week 10 - Lamar Miller continues to start for the Dolphins and see the lionís share of the looks at running back. However, the Tampa Bay run defense, which was one of the best units in the league last season, finally decided to show up. Coupled with the game-flow, which wasnít conducive to a big workload, it was a dud of a game for Miller. Even the small holes that Miller can hit quickly and pickup an easy 4 or 5 yards were just not there. By the time the Dolphins had gotten back into the game, Mike Sherman had pulled the plug on running the ball. Even though they had the lead late in the third and early in the fourth quarter, their refusal to commit to the running game probably doomed them. When the Bucs had the ball, they were gashing the Dolphins time and again with their second and third string running backs after Mike James left the game early in the first quarter.
A good sign for Miller was his blitz pickup. Although Tannehill was still under pressure, Miller did good things in the protection game. Lining up on the right and picking up blitzers from the left, handling linebackers from up the middle, Miller did it all. Heís playing ahead of Daniel Thomas and should continue to see about a 2-to-1 or 70-30 breakdown in snaps and touches. With his talent and the general lack of running back consistency in fantasy football, he still is on the RB2 radar.
Week 11 - Lamar Miller once again started and out-snapped Daniel Thomas 40-26, but the Miami coaching staff mustíve seen something, and Thomas ended up out-touching Miller 11 to 6. Although Miller had seemingly taken over the committee for good in the last few weeks, itís just another reminder that Mike Sherman is not going to play favorites in the backfield. Miller still produced 37 yards on 6 touches, and that includes a run of -1 yards and catch of -2. So, itís not like he isnít producing on a per touch basis. His ability to get downhill in a one-cut blocking scheme is not matched by anyone on the Miami roster, but unfortunately, he canít get consistent looks in the offense. With a matchup against the Panthers this week, as well as two games with the Jets, even if he was getting consistent carries, he couldnít be trusted as a fantasy option. Miller is certainly one player who could do with a new regime, as they would likely cut their ties with Daniel Thomas.
Week 12 - On the first play of the game, Lamar Miller was met by two Panthers in the backfield for a loss of 2 yards on the ground. He had negative yards on the ground for much of the day, before finishing the game with 8 yards rushing. However, for fantasy owners who had to start Miller in a PPR league with the likes of Marshawn Lynch, Giovani Bernard, LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, and C.J. Spiller out, the second-year back produced 39 yards on 4 catches. It was rough sledding for Miller in the run game all day, as Star Lotulelei and company were overwhelming the undermanned offensive line of the Dolphins, and Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly were cleaning up the scraps. Miller has been prone to these types of performances this season because of the ineptitude of the coaching staff to call some outside zone plays, where Miller can excel by getting laterally, and then hitting the hole, getting north and south. The run blocking from the offensive line has also been horrendous as well. However, Millerís 54 of 67 snaps played was by far a season high. Additionally, Miller tied his season high in catches and had his most yards in the air all season, so that has to be a positive to take from the game. Another ďpositiveĒ is Daniel Thomasí injury status. Thomas injured his ankle and did not return to the game, leaving Lamar Miller to pick up nearly all of the work from the third quarter on. If Thomas is sidelined for any time, itís likely Miller would see at least 75% of the offensive snaps and heíd finally be a lock for at least 15 touches, with the possibility for more if the Dolphins could actually get a run game going. Heíll be tough to trust in the fantasy playoffs, but his outlook is more positive than even just a week ago.
Week 13 - In his first game as the clearcut lead back with Daniel Thomas on the shelf indefinitely, Lamar Miller played 65 out of 82 snaps and saw 23 touches. Backups Mike Gillislee and Marcus Thigpen saw most of their snaps in the last 5 minutes, as the Dolphins were looking to run out the clock. Millerís yards per carry numbers werenít there, but the snap and touch numbers bode well for his value over the rest of the season. No one expected much from Miller against a Jets defensive line that was the best in the league against the run coming into the game. Millerís 85 yards on 23 touches provide hope, if heís seeing 20+ touches over the last few weeks, he will be on the RB2 radar. Sure, Damon Harrison, Sheldon Richardson, and Wilkerson stacked up Miller a handful of times for no gains, but Miller continues to show his knack for producing in the one-cut system. Running up the middle, Miami had no luck, but on stretches right and left, Miller would hit the hole hard, often producing at least 3 or 4 or 5 yards, even if heís hit at the line of scrimmage. Moreover, his ability to beat the linebacker to the edge and get upfield is uncanny. As he figures to see at least 15 carries per game going forward, the chances that he busts a long run grow ever higher. With a favorable slate of matchups down the stretch, fantasy owners who drafted Miller as high as the third round in August might finally see the reward.
Week 14 - Lamar Miller started yet again, but with Daniel Thomas back in the fold, didnít see the complement of snaps that he saw against the Jets. With the Steelers owning much of the possession in the first half, Miller didnít find many opportunities to get going. Just when it looked like he was getting it going early in the second half, he took a nasty, but legal, hit from Ryan Clark and was concussed. Before leaving, Miller was out-snapping Daniel Thomas 20-10, but his status is completely up in the air for Week 15. And surely, Thomas has guaranteed himself more of a look with his breakout performance. Itís looking like a lost season for the second year back.
Week 15 - Coming off a concussion last week against the Steelers, Lamar Miller still drew the start and the majority of snaps and carries for the Dolphins in Week 15. Even though Daniel Thomas played well in Pittsburgh during the second half, it was a vote of confidence in Miller that heís still at least the leader of the committee between he and Thomas. Miller outsnapped his teammate 38-18 and out-touched him 16-6, but Thomas scored the touchdown between the two players and the Dolphinsí coaching staff continues to make a committee work. Although it seems like when they have a lead back, they tend to be more successful, Mike Sherman and Joe Philbin like the mix that Thomas and Miller have. Miller continues to run well, having that knack for picking up 3 or 4 yards, no matter whatís blocked. Of course, that doesnít happen when heís being hit behind the line of scrimmage. With the backs often being asked to help with pass blocking, Millerís role in the passing game has waned. Although itís been a disappointing season for Miller, we donít know what the Miami coaching staff will look like next season. One thingís for sure, upgrades are likely on the offensive line, which can only be seen as positive for Miller.
Week 16 - Despite Daniel Thomas sitting out two days of practice, it was Lamar Miller who was second banana in the Dolphinsí backfield on Sunday against the Bills. It didnít really matter either way, as both backs couldnít get anything going in the cold rain in Buffalo. For the first time when both running backs have been fully healthy, Thomas was preferred over Miller, as the he out-snapped him and out-touched him. When Miller left the Pittsburgh game several weeks ago, Thomas filled in well in adverse conditions, so that probably played a role in the snap disparity between the two. As it has been all season, though, the Miami backfield has been a fantasy quagmire. Neither running back was very good in pass protection, with Miller allowing defensive backs to beat him on blitzes on a few occasions. For folks who picked Lamar Miller as early as the 3rd round in some drafts, itís obviously a disappointment. With no coach or front office member really safe in Miami, there are no real clues as to what the situation in the Dolphins backfield will be next season. With Miller completely flopping this season, there certainly could be some sleeper appeal for him if things break the right way. Current GM Jeff Ireland traded up to snag Daniel Thomas in the second round, so itís possible a new GM would choose to sever ties with the bust.
Week 17 - Whether it had to do with Daniel Thomasí ankle injury or Mike Shermanís game-plan, Lamar Miller played nearly every snap in Sundayís regular season finale against the Jets. Although he didnít post gaudy stat lines, two of Millerís better games during his disappointing 2013 season came against the Jets. One of the better run defenses in the league, Miller ran tough against them in both games. In Week 17 especially, it took awhile for the Dolphins to get the run game on track, but Mike Sherman actually stuck with it for most of the game, only abandoning it later in the fourth quarter because they were down by multiple scores. However, Miller got stronger against the Jets stout front as the game wore on, starting to pickup bigger chunks of yardage in the third and early fourth quarters. Additionally, Ryan Tannehill was able to check out of passes into runs a few times, as the Jets were playing their nickel and dime packages with the lead. This allowed Miller to exploit some soft boxes, something the Dolphins had not been able to really capitalize on much during the season. Thatís certainly an area Miamiís signal caller can work on during the offseason. While it will go down as a very inadequate season for Miller, there will some sort of coaching change in South Florida. Heís certainly flashed the skills to be a lead back, but it remains to be seen what direction the Dolphins will go in, especially with changes on the coaching staff likely coming.