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Zach Miller still on the fantasy radar
Before Zach Miller arrived in Seattle, he was considered one of the better tight ends in Fantasy Football. As an Oakland Raider, Miller caught a total of 126 passes for 1,490 yards and eight touchdowns in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Miller has become less of a featured pass-catcher in his first two years with the Seahawks, as he has been a big part of the team’s running success as a blocker. Yet we saw reasons to believe Miller can still be a Fantasy factor late last year, and he cannot be fully forgotten in 2013.
Miller caught touchdown passes in Weeks 14 and 15 last season, and then we saw him truly come on as a pass-catcher again during the postseason. As Russell Wilson looked for a dependable target in the higher pressure atmosphere of the playoffs, he started to find Miller more frequently. Miller caught six passes for 48 yards in the Wild Card Round against the Redskins. Then he truly flashed his best form in the Divisional Round against the Falcons, hauling in nine passes for 142 yards and a TD.
The latter performance has regenerated some interest among Fantasy players regarding Miller as a second tight end choice in the later rounds. TE is the thinnest position in Fantasy Football, and the promise Miller showed again in the playoffs certainly makes him worth late round consideration or as a free agent addition early in the regular season if he comes out of the gate with more solid statistical outings. Miller’s current Average Draft Position in NFL.com Fantasy leagues is 149.89, putting him in the 15th round.
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John Carlson had an impressive rookie season in 2009, as he caught 51 passes and scored seven touchdowns.
Miller has been dealing with a foot issue since the 2012 postseason, but he came off the PUP list in mid-August and all signs point to him being a key cog in the offense again, especially as a blocker. Wilson does spread the ball around a lot and likely will not forget Miller as an important target when he needs to keep the chains moving. At his best, Miller does a terrific job of finding soft spots in defenses, and last year’s playoffs showed he still can potentially contribute in Fantasy Football.
I would certainly consider Miller as a Fantasy backup to a top tight end such as Jimmy Graham or Jason Witten. If he continues to be a frequent target early in the season, you’ll feel comfortable using him when your No. 1 guy has a bye week. In larger leagues that go beyond 16 rounds in the draft, Miller certainly makes a lot of sense as a TE2.
Graham is the undisputed king of the position this year, especially with Rob Gronkowski’s uncertain outlook for the beginning of the season. Drafting Graham can give you an instant advantage over the rest of the league in just about every matchup this season. His current ADP is 21.51, and you will see him go even a bit earlier in some other leagues. It’s absolutely recommended to consider him early in the second round of your drafts.
Gronkowski is the second TE off the board on average in NFL.com drafts, but he is recovering from back surgery and his availability for the early part of the schedule is unclear. You’ll have to strongly consider a plug-in for the first few weeks if you draft Gronkowski. Witten should be drafted before Gronkowski in PPR formats, because even though he is not as dominant as the Patriots TE, he is very reliable for receptions and is much more dependable than many other players at the position.
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Tony Gonzalez is back for another season and is a very safe pick again if you don’t land Graham early. Vernon Davis should be featured consistently in the San Francisco passing game this year and pretty much rounds out the Top 5 at the position.
There is a dropoff in terms of reliability and consistency after the Top 5, but Cleveland’s Jordan Cameron has looked very good this preseason and may be the top upside performer at the position. Jared Cook has teased Fantasy owners in the past, yet a move to St. Louis could help him finally reach his potential, as Sam Bradford has always been missing a player with his abilities at the position in the past, and may look his way often. Kyle Rudolph is a regular red zone target for the Vikings and is a quality starter at the position.
Brandon Myers had a breakout season last year and moves to a Giants team that usually makes the TE a valuable option. Owen Daniels and Greg Olsen are solid, yet unspectacular starters. Antonio Gates is no longer in his prime, but he is still worth consideration as a TE1. Jermichael Finley is having a good preseason and has a lot of natural skill to bust out at any time.
Martellus Bennett has moved to Chicago, and may take some time to adjust to his new team. Rookie Tyler Eifert is really one to watch, as he has excellent size and quickness. Look for him to possibly hit big as the one deeper sleepers at TE in 2013.