With the fantasy football season just around the corner, it's time to start thinking seriously about which players can come at a steal. For those who haven't drafted, trying to find a high-value player with upside is crucial.
Lamar Miller isn't one of those players despite the hype in the preseason.
Between the new addition of Knowshon Moreno and the disappointing 2013 season, the Miami Dolphins player's actual potential this year is up in the air. In fact, Miller might not even end up with the starting role when the year begins.
What is Miller's value for the 2014 season?
While Dolphins coach Joe Philbin hasn't announced the starter yet, his recent comments on the situation weren't reassuring. Philbin shared his thoughts on the battle, via James Walker of ESPN.com:
"We haven’t released anything,” Philbin said. “We’re still evaluating right up until we name our starter. I thought [Moreno] played well."
Moreno may be the newcomer, but he saw a dramatic improvement last season with 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those statistics were put up in a more run-friendly Denver Broncos scheme, but his strengths also benefit the Dolphins.
After they struggled to protect the passer last year, the Dolphins might implore the talents of Moreno in the backfield. Walker also divulged some of his own opinion of the position battle:
When they released their first official depth chart this summer, Moreno was listed as the fourth running back. ... Moreno, at best, was the No. 2 running back heading into Miami’s third preseason game.
Now, expect a lot of chatter in South Florida about making Moreno the No. 1 running back.
The numbers for Miller, on the other hand, don't look quite as encouraging. Expected to shine for the Dolphins in 2013, Miller posted just 709 yards and two touchdowns.
Those stats weren't only disappointing for Miami, but also for fantasy owners. After holding an average draft position of 3.09 in 2013, he was far from a third-round value.
Ahead of 2014, he now holds an ADP of 6.10, which makes him a much higher value. But as Andrew Abramson of The Palm Beach Post notes, Moreno might be the better value:
Who's going first in your fantasy drafts, Knowshon Moreno or Lamar Miller? From the little I've seen of Moreno, I think he's way better pick— Andrew Abramson (@AbramsonPBP) August 27, 2014
Even if Miller is given the starting role, nothing is promised if he continues to be underwhelming on the field. Heading into his third season, he'll need to remain a consistent offensive weapon to truly make an impact for fantasy owners.
Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel points out what the Dolphins' back needs to do to remain on the field:
If Lamar Miller wants to keep the starting job he's presently in possession of he needs to do a better job running between tackles.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) August 20, 2014
Lamar Miller will be the starter FOR NOW. Knowshon Moreno gets 3rd down role, and certain formations. Formation driven offense folks.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) August 27, 2014
If third-down plays are taken away from Miller, he will have much less opportunity to prove himself. As for Moreno, converting third downs could help him see a dramatic increase in his usage with the new team.
While Kelly has faith that Miller can remain in the backfield and potentially hold the starting job, others don't share those thoughts. Chris Perkins of the Sun-Sentinel shares his observations on the situation:
RB Lamar Miller w/starting offense. Think Miller, Moreno alternate early, then Moreno becomes starter, Miller backup..— Chris Perkins (@chrisperk) August 26, 2014
Moreno possibly being available in the ninth round for owners might be the better bargain. Miller will get his chances early, but he likely won't have quite the same leash as he did last season.
If he can put those past issues behind him and become a reliable back, his stock may rise in fantasy. But with the question marks still surrounding him heading into 2014, taking him in the fifth or sixth round could be costly with other value picks behind him in the draft.
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