Lamar Miller Joins Crowded Pats Backfield
After missing all of the 2019 season with a torn ACL, Lamar Miller has found himself on a new team. Miller spent the last four seasons with the Texans but is now a member of the Patriots after New England signed him to a one-year contract.
With James White, Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, and Damien Harris already on the squad, Miller joins an already very crowded backfield.
So how does this all shake out for fantasy football?
James White is the only Patriots running back with a defined role. With 72 catches in 2019 and 87 receptions in 2018, White is the clear passing down back and that will still be the case even with a new quarterback in Cam Newton under-center and Lamar Miller added to the backfield. Keep in mind, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey caught 107 passes with Cam Newton at quarterback in 2018.
But for Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, and Damien Harris, things get a bit murky with Miller now in the rotation. For starters, Sony Michel is on the PUP list because of a foot injury. Perhaps the signing of Miller is an indication the Patriots don't have faith in Michel's prognosis or ability to start the year on the active roster. As for Burkhead, it seems unlikely he is on the roster bubble even though there are now five tailbacks on the roster. Harris was drafted just last year and could fill a special teams role which would deem him useless for fantasy purposes.
What to expect from Lamar Miller
Entering his eighth season, the 29-year-old running back hasn't had a 1,000 yard season since 2016 and with the crowded backfield in New England won't come close to that mark in 2020. The Patriots may have signed the veteran as a stop-gap replacement while Michel is on the mend. If that's the case he may end up being released once Michel is activated from the PUP list. At best, Miller is an RB5 with a very low floor and ceiling. Drafting him before the double-digit rounds would be ill-advised.
James White is the only running back from New England worth investing in for 2020.
For more on the signing of Lamar Miller and the breakdown of the Patriots backfield, check out what PatriotMaven Devon Clements wrote in a recent article.