Five Things We Learned From Thursday Night: Is Miller A RB1, Can Watkins Be Trusted & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Neither quarterback was impressive last night, but did we expect them to be?  Maybe Ryan Tannehill, who wasn’t horrible with 240 yards and 2 TD, though he also lost a fumble and continued to struggle with part of his receiving corps (which we will get to later on).  At this point it’s hard to trust him, outside of deeper two-quarterback formats.

What else did we learn from last night?  Let’s take a look:


1) Is Bryce Brown the best running back in Buffalo?
With Fred Jackson sidelined Brown shared the backfield for Anthony Dixon and was clearly the better option:

  • Dixon – 10 carries for 35 yards, 2 receptions for 13 yards
  • Brown – 6 carries for 14 yards, 7 receptions for 57 yards

Over the past two weeks that’s 13 receptions for 122 yards for Brown.  While Dixon has had a few moments, he’s not a factor in the passing game (5 receptions on the season) and has yet to find the end zone.

While Brown may not be “better” than Fred Jackson, he’s definitely a player to own in PPR formats as he should play the C.J. Spiller role in the offense the rest of the way.  While those results were disappointing, for Spiller at least, it’s because there was a lot expected of him.  He was averaging 72 yards per game over the first four weeks and Brown appears to be even more targeted in the passing game.

Brown may not be a high-level option, but given the status of the RB position he’s well worth considering as a FLEX option in PPR formats.


2) Is a healthy Lamar Miller a RB1 moving forward?
It made sense to be cautious with Miller after he was hardly used in Week 10 and the quick turnaround.  Instead Miller turned out to be the workhorse, taking 15 carries for 86 yards (and 2 receptions for 12 yards).  Daniel Thomas was an afterthought (5 carries) and Damien Williams was targeted only 3 times (2 receptions for 38 yards) and didn’t receive a carry.

There’s no question who the top back is in Miami, and with 10 days to prepare he’s only going to get stronger.  However, keep in mind that the schedule is not favorable (ranking in parenthesis is where the team ranks in points against to opposing RB):

  • Week 12 – at Denver (23rd)
  • Week 13 – at New York Jets (27th)
  • Week 14 – vs. Baltimore (32nd)

That’s going to be tough sledding, so keep your expectations in check and consider him more of a RB2.


3) Can Sammy Watkins be trusted from here on out?
Ankle injury or not, it’s been tough sledding for Watkins recently.  After turning 7 receptions into 3 catches for 32 yards last night he’s combined for 7 receptions (on 17 targets) for 59 yards over the past two weeks.  Neither matchup was an easy one (last week it was against Kansas City) and Watkins now gets a few extra days to get ready in preparation for Week 12.

Remember the last time the Bills faced off against the Jets (the team’s Week 12 opponent) Watkins turned 3 receptions into 157 yards and 1 TD.  While these types of poor performances are discouraging, there is no reason to shy away from him moving forward.  Dial him up as a WR2 for Week 12.


4) Who is the top receiver for Miami?
The easy answer should be Mike Wallace, though the numbers last night don’t tell the same story:

  • Brian Hartline – 3 receptions (4 targets) for 55 yards
  • Jarvis Landry – 5 receptions (5 targets) for 46 yards and 1 TD
  • Mike Wallace – 4 receptions (7 targets) for 38 yards

Wallace has now gone five consecutive games with fewer than 60 yards and over the past four weeks his rapport with Ryan Tannehill has been called back into question (14 receptions on 30 targets).  He has been targeted at least 7 times in all but one game, but the results continue not to be there.

We can’t point to Landry, either, as he too has struggled to reach 60 yards (even though he has TD in two of his past three games).  Hartline?  He’s not a go to option either…

Maybe the problem is Tannehill, but right now the receiving corps for Miami hasn’t been overly impressive.  Wallace remains the player with the highest upside, though he’s going to be hard to trust as anything more than a WR3 (unless there’s a favorable matchup).


5) Has Charles Clay finally returned to health?
Clay had 5 receptions (on 6 targets) for 31 yards last night, his third consecutive game with at least 5 receptions.  Of course he has totaled 17 receptions for just 141 yards and 1 TD over that span as it’s clear his knee is still limiting him.

Could the extended time off help get him healthy?  Maybe, but it’s hard to count on at this point.  Maybe he’s an option if you are desperate, but his upside is clearly limited and there’s little reason to trust him.


Sources – ESPN,

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Buy 'Em or Deny 'Em: Is There Any Sleeper Appeal In Miami's Backfield?

One comment

  1. Joe T says:

    With all the people out there playing ff now, I can’t believe more leagues don’t use any type of advanced scoring. The first few years I played was purely standard scoring, then I got invited to a league that had most scoring options selected, won that league, got screwed out of my money, started my own league and won it for the last two years. It is PPR plus .5 for targets and carries, 6 pts. for every TD and return yards count but separately. I wouldn’t even want to play standard scoring anymore, too lucky TD dependent. I love it, anyway, I thought of all this to say, if your league counts return yds., then, not only is Jarvis Landry the guy to own here, he’s actually inside the top twenty PPR WR ranks.

    Thanks for all the hard work you do, I read everything weekly.

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