2019 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: What Lamar Miller's torn ACL means for Fantasy drafts

There are few things worse than major injuries that happen in football games that don't matter, and unfortunately, we got a significant one Saturday. Lamar Miller's suffered a knee injury during a preseason game against the Cowboys, and according to multiple reports, the team believes he has suffered a torn ACL. 

The Texans already waived D'Onta Foreman earlier in camp, and though they did trade for Duke Johnson, this injury still leaves them perilously thin at the running back position. Behind Johnson, the Texans' depth chart is made up of names like Damarea Crockett, Josh Ferguson, and Cullen Gillaspia, this is a big blow. 

Johnson's is the first name that comes to mind when thinking about how the Texans will replace Miller. Johnson is an extremely talented back who has done his best work in the passing game. His 4.3 yard average on the ground is impressive but it comes with a couple of caveats: One, he's never carried the ball more than 104 times in a season before; Two, he's often used on passing downs, which makes running the ball just a little bit easier. I would bet against Johnson being used as a true feature back, and I'd bet against him matching his career averages if he does see a massive increase in carries. 

HOU Houston • #26
Age: 28 • Experience: 8 yrs.
2018 Stats

All of that being said, if Johnson is given anything close to a feature role in Miller's absence he would instantly become a must-start running back with top-12 upside. This is a good offense, Johnson is a good back, and his passing game chops paired with a significant role in the passing game could be Fantasy gold. Even a small increase in touches would make him a starter in PPR and a flex in non-PPR. 

One item in Johnson's favor is the Texans' aforementioned running back depth chart. They already cut D'Onta Foreman and their next best running backs are Damarea Crockett and Karan Higdon. Neither of those names inspire confidence, but if we get an indication that one of them is going to handle early-down work they'll become Fantasy relevant. 

One final option to keep in mind is the free agent or trade markets. There aren't a lot of names available right now, but that is going to change in the coming weeks. Someone like Kenneth Dixon or Carlos Hyde could get cut and become exactly what the the Texans need. Or, maybe the Texans use some of their cap space to go after a certain disgruntled running back out in California. 

That doesn't help much for those of you drafting in the next 24 hours, however. We do know it will almost certainly be a season-ending injury, which means Miller is obviously off all draft boards now. Johnson is now worth a speculative pick in the Round 7 or 8 range, especially in PPR. As for everyone else, we'll have to wait on what the Texans tell us and who they do or don't add. 

So which Fantasy Football busts should you avoid in your draft? And which superstar QB isn't a trustworthy QB1 option? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Allen Robinson's disappointing season, and find out.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Heath Cummings is a Senior Fantasy Writer that covers Daily Fantasy Sports of all types. Before coming to CBS Sports he was a staff writer for Footballguys and the host of The Fantasy Football Show on... Full Bio

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