A Possible Fix to Those Who Drafted Lamar Miller
Houston we have a problem! As you all know by now, the Houston Texans have lost their starting running back Lamar Miller to a torn ACL injury this past Saturday. This is extremely bad timing, especially for fantasy managers who had already drafted him prior to Saturday’s incident. Let’s take a look at what running backs are available to pick up on the waiver wire.
If you were someone who decided to select Lamar Miller before his injury, you most likely selected him in the vicinity of the fifth or sixth round of your draft this year. With that said, he is likely either your RB2 or possibly RB3 on your team depending on how many backs you drafted in the earlier rounds.
It’s important to find a suitable replacement for Miller as soon as possible so your team doesn’t fall too far behind. There are some pretty suitable replacement options out there that you can choose when trying to solve this problem.
Houston’s running back depth chart isn’t all too deep. They, of course, have recently acquired Duke Johnson who is a more effective player in a running back-by-committee system like during his days in Cleveland.
Beyond Johnson, they have guys like Buddy Howell and Josh Ferguson, but they have yet to prove they can be a dependable asset in fantasy at the moment. Of course, that can change and I can look very foolish for writing that, but as of now I wouldn’t recommend drafting either one of those guys.
If the Texans manage to sign a running back in free agency that has some value, then you may want to consider that, but for the time being, they have no one reliable enough to handle the workload.
A better option to roll with at this very moment is selecting an undrafted player from your fantasy player pool on the waiver wire.
Tony Pollard is a great example as some of you might already be aware of. The Cowboys still have yet to sign Ezekiel Elliott and there is about a week and a half remaining before the regular season commences. If the two sides fail to get a deal done soon, Pollard is looking like the projected starting running back for Week 1 against the Giants.
At this time Pollard is only owned in slightly over 50% of leagues on Yahoo and just under 40% of leagues on ESPN.
Furthermore, the Cowboys are usually more of a run-first type of team especially since Elliott joined the team in 2016. For the last three seasons, the Cowboys have ranked in the top ten in rushing attempts per game (30.8, 30.0, and 27.5). This type of volume is great for all running backs and should be a fantasy manager’s dream.
Pollard has also been very productive for Dallas’ run game this preseason, averaging 5.0 yards per carry on 15 attempts and a touchdown. It also benefits Pollard that the Cowboys still have one of the most dominant offensive lines in football to help him find openings along the line of scrimmage.
All in all, Pollard would not be a bad idea to pick up if you are looking to replace Lamar Miller. If Zeke’s holdout ceases, then you need to go back to the drawing board and brainstorm your other options.
Justin Jackson could very well be another fine option. Much like the Cowboys, the Chargers are also facing a holdout situation with their star running back Melvin Gordon. Gordon’s holdout appears to be less optimistic, opening the doorway for both Jackson and Austin Ekeler to gain some touches.
While Ekeler is the more popular back of the two, you have a much better chance at picking up Jackson on the waiver wire. Only about 28% of Yahoo fantasy leagues have him drafted and 19% for ESPN.
In 2018 Jackson averaged a little over 4.0 yards per carry, along with 15 catches for about 9.0 yards per reception. For the time being, both Ekeler and Jackson are pretty even in touches per game during the preseason, but it is highly likely that Jackson will be the thunder and run the ball while Ekeler will serve as the lighting and primarily catch passes.
The Chargers will have to figure a way to fairly split the 224 carries that Gordon has averaged per season since entering the league in 2015. Not all of it will be going to Ekeler. A decent amount of touches will go to Jackson, so it is fair to say he may be a strong pick up to fill in for Lamar Miller on your roster.
Lastly, Gordon had the tenth-highest snap share of all running backs in the NFL during the 2018 season at nearly 72.0%. It’s hard to see Ekeler take on the full responsibilities of such a heavy volume of snaps, so Jackson will come in to ease the burden making way for more opportunities.
Both Pollard and Jackson would not be bad options to go with if you are someone who is seeking to replace Lamar Miller.
We can all agree this injury is an unfortunate case that should never happen to any player in the NFL, but it still does. In the event this happens, we as fantasy football managers need to be prepared to take the steps necessary to fix these issues before they get out of hand. Hopefully for the ones who did select Miller in their drafts, that they do find a solution that can benefit them this season.
I hope this brings some clarity to those in this position. Best of luck in your quest to find a viable replacement!
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