With the draft rapidly approaching certain NFL teams that didn’t score some talent during the free agency period will have their eyes set on a top running back prospect. But teams like the Texans, Titans, Jets and Jaguars all took advantage of the free agent running back market. So I figured, why not weigh in on a few of my favorite pickups of the spring and elaborate on why I think Lamar Miller (now with Houston) and DeMarco Murray (now with Tennessee) should benefit greatly from their new situations.
LAMAR MILLER, RB, HOUSTON TEXANS
2015 in review:
- Extremely inconsistent fantasy production last season
- Slow start for first four games
- Strung together five straight games with at least one TD in the middle of the year (Week 6-10)
- Stalled out at the end of the fantasy regular season
- Totaled 1,269 yards from scrimmage
- Scored 10 total touchdowns
- Finished as the RB6 overall
Still young for a running back who already has four years of experience under his belt, Miller will be 25 years old when his first year with the Texans begins.
The Texans finished fifth in the NFL in rushing attempts in 2015 with 472, but finished 28th in the NFL in yards per carry (3.7). Miller will look to change that for Houston this year.
Houston released Arian Foster (Achillies tear rehab) in the offseason. Houston's new-look offense includes Brock Osweiler under center, Miller at running back, and don’t forget about fantasy stud DeAndre Hopkins to open things up downfield.
Miller has a ton of potential for a high-volume workload this season and is currently the sixth running back being drafted on average in MFL10 leagues. His is value should hover there through the summer.
DEMARCO MURRAY, RB, TENNESSEE TITANS
2015 in review:
- Had just one game of 20+ fantasy points
- Not 100% healthy at the beginning of the year
- Averaged 18 rush attempts per game in Weeks 6-12
- Had only one 100-yard rushing game
- Averaged 3.6 yards per carry
- Scored 7 Total TDs
- Totaled 1,021 yards from scrimmage
- Finished as RB17 overall
Head coach Mike Mularkey said the team plans to manage Murray’s workload next season but that they’re going to “use him extensively”.
This comes as no surprise there seeing as the Titans struggled to run the ball last season. The team’s lead rusher, Antonio Andrews, averaged 3.6 yards per carry and finished with just 520 rush yards and three touchdowns. Murray could easily become the Titan's every-down back and is poised for a huge bounce-back in fantasy.
Murray is currently the 20th RB being drafted in MFL10s on average. I think he’s worth more than that, and would rank him ahead of guys like Melvin Gordon and Jeremy Langford, runners who are being drafted ahead of Murray.
As training camp approaches and we begin to see how the Titans plan to use Murray, I think his draft day value will begin to increase and he shouldn’t last past late second round in redraft formats.