The Houston Texans have struck a trade with the Cleveland Browns for running back Duke Johnson, bolstering their backfield just days after moving on from D’Onta Foreman. Following the departure of Foreman, it appeared current Texans starter Lamar Miller was primed for a potentially huge workload, but that’s now a bit up in the air.
While Johnson has thrived as a pass-catching back throughout his career, he’s shown glimpses of upside as a runner also. In turn, the deal which resulted in the Texans sending a conditional fourth-round pick (which can become a third, via ESPN’s Adam Schefter), creates an interesting situation for Miller.
Although Miller has posted his fair share of up-and-down results over the years, he has the potential to be a decent fantasy option in many leagues and formats. We’re going to take a deeper dive into the impact of Johnson’s arrival on Miller.
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Lamar Miller’s Fantasy Football Outlook & Value With Duke Johnson
The biggest area of concern for Miller from a fantasy football perspective could be in point-per-reception (PPR) leagues, as Johnson’s pass-catching ability will almost certainly be used often. He’s caught 235 passes over his four-year NFL career, tallying 2,170 yards and eight touchdowns in the process.
While Miller hasn’t posted monster numbers as a receiver with the Texans, he’s caught 31, 36 and 25 balls over the past three years in 44 games. It’s resulted in 678 receiving yards and five touchdowns during that stretch.
One key question becomes how much of the already limited work Miller gets as a pass-catcher will be shifted to Johnson. Beyond that, the 28-year-old has seen a modest number of touches recently in Houston’s high-flying offense led by Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins.
After racking up 268 rushing attempts for 1,073 yards and five touchdowns in 2016, Miller posted marks of 238/888/3 (16 games) and 210/973/5 (14 games) over the past two seasons.
Where to Draft Lamar Miller in Fantasy Football
Heading into the 2019 NFL preseason, Fantasy Pros has Miller listed with an average draft position (ADP) of 69.0. This means he’s coming off the board in the sixth-round typically, which makes sense. The Texans running back isn’t a top-tier fantasy value anymore, as he hasn’t topped the 1,000-yard mark in either of the last two years.
Miller also hasn’t scored more than six combined touchdowns in any of his three seasons with Houston. Considering the addition of Johnson will surely take touches away from Miller, it’s only going to hurt his overall outlook.
It’s still likely that Miller is a sixth or seventh-round pick in 12-team leagues, simply due to the fact that he’ll see the bulk of the groundwork, but Johnson makes him a risky addition to any fantasy roster. It would be wise to find your starting fantasy running backs elsewhere, and rely on Miller more as a flex player or one of the top options off the bench.