KFFL's Tim Heaney sees positive things happening with the new Ryan Tannehill-Mike Wallace connection in South Beach, but I am more intrigued by sophomore running back Lamar Miller's potential for a huge fantasy season.
Ready to take NFL by storm?
The former Miami Hurricane has sleeper written all over him, and many fantasy owners may not even know his name. Miller is a more solidly built back than his Dolphins predecessor Reggie Bush, but he isn't the same caliber receiver. That is just fine, because this offense has new aerial targets and didn't throw to the back all that much to begin with.
Miller, 5-foot-10, 218 pounds, was at his best in 2012 running between the tackles. He has the ability to bounce it outside and take the ball off-tackle, too. The improved passing game should open running lanes for him, which makes me think replicating his 4.9-yards-per-carry average of a year ago is within reach.
Daniel Thomas may think he has a chance at winning the job, but it appears to be Miller's to lose. Thomas has injury concerns and seemed to be in the dog house at times last year. Meanwhile, Miller has worked hard this offseason with former Hurricanes star Frank Gore to learn the ropes of being an NFL starting running back. Bonus!
Some questions remain with Miami's offensive tackles, although I am not terribly worried since Miller is at his best between them. Newcomer Tyson Clabo is a veteran right tackle and was integral in Michael Turner's success with the Atlanta Falcons. Jonathan Martin slides over to the left side to replace Jake Long, which is a tall task (no pun intended). Nevertheless, I have confidence in the 2012 second-rounder because of Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey being on his side of the field. Furthermore, offensive line coach Jim Turner may be a fresh face in the NFL with only one year of experience, but he was largely responsible for coaching one of the best units in college football at Texas A&M.
Miami has a fairly favorable schedule for the running back position. As long as Tannehill can keep defenses honest, Miller should put up respectable fantasy numbers. He could be inconsistent, though, which should be your primary concern. Miller has low-end RB1 potential that you can pay the price of a No. 2 or even third for, depending on your league size and league mates' savvy. I like him around the late fourth round, although I have drafted him in the late third already this year.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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