Lamar Miller feels like the type of running back you settle for instead of covet, and he's only worth drafting as early as Round 5 in most leagues. He should open the season as the starter for the Texans, but D'Onta Foreman could push him for touches now that he's fully healthy after his Achilles' injury in 2017. But if Miller can remain the featured option in Houston's backfield, he should be a borderline starter and definite flex in all formats. He scored at least 11 PPR points in nine of 14 games, and he finished the season as the No. 23 PPR running back. The Texans have a lot of firepower on offense with Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee, which helps Miller. But Houston has a bad offensive line, and Foreman could be a problem. Miller is the type of running back with a limited ceiling but also a safe floor if he stays the starter for the Texans. It's why you settle for him on Draft Day in most leagues.
Miller and D'Onta Foreman will lead the Houston backfield, Deepi Sidhu of the team's official website reports. It felt like an empty promise in February when then-GM Brian Gaine endorsed Miller as the team's lead back, but Gaine subsequently chose not to add any competition in free agency or the draft. It's unclear whether that decision played a role in his recent firing, as there seems to be some frustration with the Texans failing to use their plethora of cap space to procure meaningful offseason upgrades. The result leaves Miller in a good spot to maintain a large share of the carries, but it also means he'll likely be running behind a subpar offensive line for a fourth straight year. Foreman is the wild card in the picture, potentially challenging for the lead job in his second year back from an Achilles tear. The lower portion of the depth chart contains pass-catching specialist Josh Ferguson, two special teams players (Buddy Howell, Taiwan Jones) and two undrafted rookies (Karan Higdon, Damarea Crockett).
General manager Brian Gaine endorsed Miller as the Texans' starting running back for the 2019 season, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. "He's a three-down back," Gaine noted Thursday at the NFL Combine. Houston ranks among the league leaders in cap space this offseason and, probably as a result of which, has been linked to numerous running backs that will soon become available when free agency opens in March. While it's not out of the question for the Texans to add some sort of backfield depth this offseason, it doesn't appear as though Gaine is positioning his team to be in the market for a high-priced veteran such as Le'Veon Bell.
Miller carried five times for 18 yards and caught eight of 10 targets for 63 additional yards during Saturday's 21-7 loss to the Colts. Miller's usage as a rusher suffered with his team trailing for most of the day, leading him to finish with one of his poorest rushing performances of the season. He stepped up as a pass catcher, however, finishing second on the team in both catches and receiving yards. While Miller's season ends on a disappointing note, he still piled up 1,217 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns in 17 appearances, which will go down as one of the best seasons of his NFL career. The possibility remains that Miller's role could diminish next season if the team elects to get D'Onta Foreman or any potential backfield additions more involved in the offense, but he would be a useful fantasy asset if he does retain the top spot in the backfield.
Miller rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown on seven carries and did not gain yardage on two catches during Sunday's 20-3 win over the Jaguars. Miller extended Houston's lead to 13 shortly before halftime, taking the inside handoff and pounding through for a seven-yard score. It was the veteran back's second rushing touchdown in his last three games, but he's averaging just 2.9 yards per carry during that span. Whether this is a blip or a trend will bear monitoring heading into next week's playoff game, most likely against the winner of Sunday night's game between Indianapolis and Tennessee. Miller almost certainly would prefer a rematch with the Titans, against whom he has averaged 8.8 yards per carry this season, as compared to the Colts, against whom he has averaged just 2.9 yards per toe. If the Colts and Titans tie and either or both of Pittsburgh and Baltimore win, then either the Steelers or Ravens could face the Texans next week.
Coach Bill O'Brien said Miller (ankle) is "good to go" for Sunday's game against the Jaguars, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Miller was already upgraded to full practice participation Thursday, but it's nonetheless good to see that carry over to Friday. The 27-year-old should be in line for a full workload against Jacksonville, which features the 18th-ranked rush defense in the NFL (115.7 yards per game) and allows 4.3 yards per carry.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/09||@New Orleans Saints||3||12.44|
|3||09/22||@Los Angeles Chargers||24||20.00|
|6||10/13||@Kansas City Chiefs||31||23.78|
|13||12/02||New England Patriots||8||16.00|
|16||12/22||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||21.25|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||239||978||4||31||226||2||153|