Lamar Miller Houston
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A lot of the talk out of the Houston Texans’ camp has been the possibility of a monster season for running back Lamar Miller. The Houston Chronicle suggests that he will have a versatile role with the club in 2016, solidifying Miller as a major three-down back. Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman is saying that Miller is poised for a “season for the ages”.
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Miller ran for 872 yards and eight touchdowns in 2015 with 47 catches for 397 yards and two touchdowns. In 2014 he ran for 1,099 yards and eight touchdowns with 38 catches for 275 yards and a score.
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Miami ranked dead last in rushing attempts last year with 344 while Houston ranked fifth with 472.  In 2014 Miami ranked 22nd with 399 carries while Houston led the league with 551.
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Miller will certainly get his opportunity. Houston trusted Alfred Blue to 183 carries, Chris Polk to 99 more and Jonathan Grimes to 56 of his own. Don’t look for Blue or Grimes to steal much of Miller’s work. His ability to pass protect and catch the ball out of the backfield will help with the touches and add to his fantasy appeal.
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In Houston’s first preseason game he ran for 30 yards on four carries. Don’t expect a heavy workload as we gear up towards the season, but once it’s go time, he will be on full display.
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Miller’s career high in carries is 216. He has averaged 195.7 carries the past three seasons and sports a career yards per carry average of 4.6. If he can get 250 or more carries for the Texans to go along with 30-40 receptions, he should be in line for a massive season.
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Personally, I have Miller just outside the top five, but I do have him slotted as a legit RB1 with major upside.


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The AFC South features three of the top running backs in the league.
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Arian Foster is arguably the top ranked fantasy player in the league. The furthest I could see him tumble, at least at this point, is to three. He racked up 1616 yards and 16 touchdowns. As good as those numbers are, he also caught 66 passes for 604 yards and two more scores. Week in and week out he was one of the top fantasy players in the league. Ben Tate and Derrick Ward will get some carries, but neither threaten the stud running back.
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One of the players (along with Adrian Peterson) that could conceivably go before Foster is Chris Johnson, who was generally the number one pick in last year’s fantasy drafts. Johnson’s “down year” looks like a career year for anybody else. He had 1609 total yards (1364 rushing, 245 receiving) and 12 touchdowns (11 rushing, one receiving). The Titans are going to be more creative next year to get him the ball in space, so CJ2K should be particularly effective in PPR leagues. He doesn’t really have a threat for carries and is a likely top three pick.
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Maurice Jones-Drew keeps turning out big year’s as well. There were concerns about his knee heading into last season, but he responded with a 1641 total yard (1324 rushing, 317 receiving), seven touchdown (five rushing, two receiving) season. Rashard Jennings will get some carries, but isn’t a big threat week-to-week. MoJo will probably be a top five to eight pick depending on your format. Personally, I prefer some of the younger guys like Rahsard Mendenhall and LeSean McCoy.
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Indianapolis is the only stick situation because Joseph Addai is a free agent. He is expected to return to the Colts though, and his knowledge of the system and ability to pick up the blitz will likely keep him as the main back. Donald Brown and rookie Delone Carter will also vie for touches.
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The AFC South made a big splash in the quarterback department in the recent NFL Draft.
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The division continues to be dominated by the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning is consistently among the best fantasy quarterbacks in the league. He never has a shortage of weapons, and even when they break down like Dallas Clark last year, someone else (Jacob Tamme) steps up. One thing that needed more than a temporary fix was their offensive line. The Colts walked away from the draft with tackle Anthony Castonzo and guard Ben Ijalana. With better protection look for Manning to turn in another impressive season. Would you expect anything less?
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Matt Schuab regressed a little statistically, but that can be expected when you have the NFL rushing leader.  He still threw for 4370 yards and 24 touchdowns (12 INTs). With Andre Johnson, one of the more physical receivers in the league, look for Schaub to remain a quality QB1. The team did not give him any new weapons in the NFL Draft, instead using their first five picks on defense.
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In Jacksonville David Garrard will hold down the fort until Blaine Gabbert is ready to take control of the team. Garrard had a solid year throwing for 2734 yards and 23 TDs (15 INTs) while adding another 279 yards and five scores on the ground. The Jags are limited in the playmaker department. Marcedes Lewis scored ten touchdowns, but had just seven scores in four seasons before busting out in a contract year. Mike Sims-Walker is a free agent that will likely have a new home in 2011. Garrard is a quarterback to use during the bye weeks and little more.
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The Titans turned heads by taking Jake Locker with the eight pick in the draft. He will likely start the year on the sidelines while a veteran (possibly Matt Hasselbeck) acts as a bridge. Despite the presence of Kenny Britt, this is not a great quarterback situation. We’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out.
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While the NFL has become a quarterback driven league, fantasy football still remains a running back league. I know, wide receivers and quarterbacks have come a long way, and I do believe the elite ones like Aaron Rodgers and Andre Johnson are first round material, but we’re talking about the first overall pick here. To me, the first few picks are still reserved for the top running backs, and while he came out of nowhere, Arian Foster was easily the top running back last year.
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Foster opened the season with a bang, dismantling the Indianapolis Colts to the tune of 231 yards and three touchdowns. He went on to pile up 2220 yards, 1616 on the ground and 604 through the air. He racked up 18 touchdowns, 16 rushing and two receiving. That’s an average of 138.8 total yards and 1.1 touchdowns per game.
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He did it week in and week out. Aside from two poor outings (Week 5 against the Giants and Week 15 against the Titans), Foster delivered. He did not slow down either, as he recorded his second highest rushing total in Week 17 when he ran for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Jacksonville.
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I know some of you are concerned that last year was a fluke, but keep in mind he ran for 97 yards and a touchdown in Week 16 and 119 yards (with 26 receiving yards) and two touchdowns in Week 17 of 2009. Foster will be just 25 and he has proven to be the perfect back for Houston’s zone blocking scheme.
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He has little competition for carries in Houston. Sure, Ben Tate is returning leg and ankle injuries, but he is the clear backup. After searching for a running back for years, the Texans have a winner in Foster. Don’t expect them to suddenly go away from him. Plus, with Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson there is no concern that opposing defenses will stuff the box to stop the running game. Johnson is far too talented for that. It’s truly a pick your poison situation in Houston.
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Having players go in the Thursday night games gives you a little bit of advantage. If your players do good, you can perhaps be a little more cautions with your team. If your players failed to put up good numbers, perhaps you will want to take a bigger risk, hoping for a bigger reward to make up for it. You also get a feel for your match-up depending on how your opponents players did. Let’s take a look at how fantasy owners will be feeling about their players.
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Top of the World
With the fantasy playoffs on the doorstep, you can’t help but swell with pride based on the numbers these guys dropped.
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Michael Vick – My #1 ranked QB this week did not disappoint. He threw for 302 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. He added 48 yards on the ground. He’s definitely in the MVP hunt (both in fantasy and reality).
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Matt Schaub – Vick did his thing, but Schaub was no slouch. He threw for 337 yards, 2 TDs, and an INT. If you stuck with him (despite my #18 ranking) kudos to you. If you sat him because of me, my apologies.
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Arian Foster - Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow. 109 total yards (83 rushing, 26 receiving) and a score on the ground and through the air. You’ve been counting on  him all year, and he didn’t disappoint.
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LeSean McCoy – Not to be outdone, McCoy accumulated 130 total yards (44 rushing, 86 receiving) as well as a rushing and receiving touchdown. If you own McCoy, you can breath a sigh of relief.
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Andre Johnson –  So he didn’t score a touchdown. His six catches for 149 yards and two carries for ten yards got his owners off to a great start. It wasn’t enough to change your strategy, but it’s certainly a good start. continue reading »


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We had such a good turnout for the Ocho & T.O. contest that SMW Clothing is sponsoring another one. Once again you have a chance to win a awesome shirt that will make you the envy of your league.
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This week’s contest will also revolve around the Thursday night game.Whoever guesses the combined passing and rushing yardage that Michael Vick will have against the Texans on Thursday night without going over wins. No repeat answers.

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So leave a comment with your best guess and be sure to check out SMW Clothing.

Happy Birthday Janelle!

 


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A typical fantasy football league consists of 12 teams nine starters (QB, two RBs, three WRs, TE, K, D) and anywhere from five to seven bench players. If you go with the latter bench allotment, you’re looking at 16 roster spots or 192 draft picks. By that definition, any sleeper should have an average draft position about 180 or lower.

 

Houston WR Jacoby Jones has an ADP of 186 (64th WR) according to Mock Draft Central. His 27 catches for 437 yards last year did not raise any eyebrows, but his 6 touchdown catches did. As did his finish when he caught seven passes for 144 yards and a pair of scores in the final two weeks.

 

He is in a stiff battle with Kevin Walter (53-611-2) for the number two receiver role opposite of Andre Johnson. The Texans will operate in plenty of three-receiver sets so it’s not like the loser will not get their share of targets. Still, whoever wins the battle will have the higher value, which is pretty much a given. Walter has been fairly productive the past three seasons, but Jones has more potential.

 

My assumption is that Jones will take hold of the flanker position, relegating Walter to the slot. Jones will be more productive in standard scoring leagues while Walter will be more productive in PPR leagues. Walter’s ADP is 136 (49th WR), making Jones a significantly better value. I feel both WRs are worthy of making a fantasy roster. Right now I prefer Walter (click to see my WR rankings), especially with his 6’3″, 218 lb. frame as a red zone target, but if Jones can win the starting job, my opinion will change.

 

What are your thoughts on Jacoby Jones? Kevin Walter?

I profiled C.J. Spiller and Arian Foster earlier this summer (click their names to read the articles), suggesting that both RBs would be solid RB3 or flex players. Both RBs had teammates succumb to injuries in recent days that cleared the path to additional carries. The question now is whether or not they have become legitimate RB2s.

 


I’ll start with Spiller, who had not one, but two teammates get hurt. Fred Jackson broke a bone in his hand, an injury that should cost him between 4-6 weeks. If the injury lingers to the high end of the estimated recovery time, Jackson would miss two weeks of the season. Marshawn Lynch suffered a sprained ankle, which could cost him 3-4 weeks, or right before the season opener. Spiller will get the rest of the preseason to take all the first team reps. Given the lofty expectations that come from a top ten pick, Spiller could take hold of the starting job and never let go. With his big play potential, Spiller becomes a legitimate RB2 in my eyes, with a legitimate shot at 1200 total yards.

 


Meanwhile Arian Foster’s job security was bolstered when rookie Ben Tate suffered a season-ending ankle injury of his own. Tate was expected to challenge, and possibly overtake Foster for the role of starting RB. Not only did he lose his primary competition, but Steve Slaton’s fumbling problem resurfaced. Nothing gets you in a coaches doghouse faster than putting the ball on the carpet. Slaton figures to have a significant role in the offense, especially in passing situations, but if the fumbles persist, Foster could get an even heavier workload. With such a potent passing attack, Foster should be able to turn in a productive season and join Spiller in the RB2 ranks.

 

Click here to see my updated RB rankings.

 

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Ben Tate Injured

15 August 2010

The Texans were dealt a blow when rookie RB Ben Tate suffered a significant ankle injury in their preseason opener against Arizona. Tate was expected to part of a rotation with Arian Foster and Steve Slaton. Slaton didn’t do himself any favors as his fumbling issue surfaced during the game. Arian Foster, who was the favorite to start the season as their lead back, not only solidified that role, but improved his fantasy stock. As the unquestioned starting RB in a potent offense, Foster should be considered a low-end RB2.

 

In other news, Green Bay RB Ryan Grant left the Packers’ preseason game with an apparent concussion. While you shouldn’t worry about his Week 1 status, there is t he concern of future concussions. I’m not lowering my expectation for Grant, or his ranking, but I understand if you do.

 

Finally, don’t be alarmed if you don’t see Dallas Clark when the Colts open their preseason today. He is out with a minor leg injury. Its worth mentioning since he is one of the most highly ranked TEs in the game, but nothing to lose sleep over.


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A typical fantasy football league consists of 12 teams nine starters (QB, two RBs, three WRs, TE, K, D) and anywhere from five to seven bench players. If you go with the latter bench allotment, you’re looking at 16 roster spots or 192 draft picks. By that definition, any sleeper should have an average draft position about 180 or lower.

 

Houston RB Arian Foster is going with the 182nd pick according to Mock Draft Central. That is good for the 56th RB selected, meaning he’d be a RB4 or RB5 in 12-team fantasy leagues. He is going behind the likes of LenDale White, Larry Johnson, Tashard Choice, and Glen Coffee to name a few. LenDale doesn’t even have a gig. Foster is even behind teammates Ben Tate (26th RB, 58 overall) and Steve Slaton (39, 95).

 

The problem is, nobody informed Texans Coach Gary Kubiak. He called Foster “mature beyond his years” and hinted that Foster could have a firm grip on the top stop in Houston’s depth chart. Obviously he would split carries with Slaton and Tate, but clearly Foster should be going ahead of unsigned free agents, washed up backup RBs, and backup RBs that don’t figure to have many carries.

 

It’s not like Foster struggled last year. He ran for 257 yards on 54 carries (4.8 ypc) for 3 TDs. He added 8 catches for 93 yards. He did this in very limited playing time. When he got his chance in Week 16 and 17 he combined for 242 total yards (216 rushing) and 3 TDs. His ypc in those two games was 5.5.

 

The second-year back isn’t taking the competition lightly. He is quoted as saying “I wasn’t up at 5:30 (a.m.) this offseason for nothing, so my mentality isn’t, ‘This spot is mine.’ My mentality is, ‘This spot is going to get taken. I am going to take it.’”

 

We’ll have to see how things play out during the next few weeks, but with quotes like that from Foster and Kubiak, I am willing to move Kubiak up my draft board. I would take him as a low-end RB3 or high-end RB4 if he continues to keep Slaton and Tate at bay. Click to see my update 2010 fantasy RB rankings.

 

What are your thoughts on Arian Foster?


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