With Reggie Bush moving on to the Detroit Lions, there is an opportunity for somebody to pick up that lost production for the Miami Dolphins. Last year, Bush had 262 touches for 1,278 total yards and eight touchdowns.
Daniel Thomas finished second among running backs with 106 touches for 481 total yards and four touchdowns, but Lamar Miller will likely assume the starting job. Miller's improved play in pass protection could help him become a fantasy football force.
According to Rotoworld, Miller only had seven touches on third down last year. With Bush in the way, it only made sense for Miller not to be heavily involved on third down. This year is a different story.
Thomas was taken in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft. At 6’1″ and 233 pounds, Thomas will still see the rock, particularly in goal-line situations.
Miller was taken in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft. At 5’11″ and 218 pounds, he is built more like a prototypical NFL running back. The Dolphins used a fifth-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft to select Mike Gillislee out of the University of Florida, but I don’t expect him to make many waves in his rookie year.
Although his sample size is smaller, Miller has been the more effective runner. In 25 games, Thomas has averaged 3.5 yards per carry. Miller, on the other hand, averaged 4.9 yards per carry. That lofty number is aided by his 4.40 speed.
If the Dolphins can get him in space, he could be off to the race. As we enter training camp, the starting tailback job will be Lamar Miller’s to lose.
The Dolphins figure to be much better offensively in 2013. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is expected to improve in his second season. Mike Wallace and Dustin Keller should help make that happen in the passing game.
Things change from year to year, but the Dolphins face the Buffalo Bills twice, including the fantasy football championship week, the New Orleans Saints, the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Jets twice. That’s six games against teams that finished in the bottom five in run defense last year.
Miller is currently projected as the 21st running back to come off the board, with an average selection at the end of the fourth round. There is some risk there but at a decent value.
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