Zach Miller provides an interesting tight end option for fantasy players who are looking for undervalued production at the position. Last year, the Arizona State alum hauled in 66 catches for 805 yards and 3 touchdowns on a surprisingly good Oakland Raiders team. This year the Raiders are primed to do even better after adding high-ceiling offensive linemen Jared Veldheer and Bruce Campbell to protect new quarterback Jason Campbell.
Campbell doesn't really have anyone who looks to be the "go-to guy" on his offense with Darrius Heyward-Bey, however the team could have a sleeper in wide receiver Chaz Schilens. Miller had the most receiving yards on the Raiders last year, and only Louis Murphy scored more touchdowns (4). Still, most rankings exclude him from the top ten list in tight ends and out of the top 100 players.
ADP: 123, 12th Tight End selected
By the numbers:
- Given his ADP, Miller is heaped in with less safe options like Chris Cooley, Dustin Keller, and Heath Miller. Miller might not be the sexiest option at tight end, but if you miss out on all the big names, he is definitely worth a look. He has missed only one game in the past three seasons, so there is no injury history to worry about.
- In the past three seasons, Miller's receptions have increased steadily from 44 in 2007 to 56 in 2008 and 66 in 2009. Subsequently, his yardage totals have jumped from 444 to 778 and to 805 in the same time frame. With exactly 100 targets last year, Miller caught a decent amount of the balls thrown his way. Keep in mind that was with JaMarcus Russell for half of the season.
- With a much more accurate quarterback in Campbell who likes to use his tight ends, it's not going too far out on a limb to expect Miller to become Campbell's safety valve until he finds a wide receiver who can be "the guy." I don't think it is very unreasonable to expect another jump in yardage, and if he finds his way into the end zone more often, it would do wonders for his value.
Summary: Until somebody from the wide receiver group steps up for Oakland, Miller is the primary pass-catcher on this team. Expect quarterback Jason Campbell to bring this team to the end zone far more often than JaMarcus Russell, which should translate to more scores for the often utilized Miller.