Zach Miller had a career resurgence these last few weeks with Brian Hoyer at the helm of the Chicago Bears and has been a great pickup for fantasy football owners who tapped him. This week, however, will be a game where Miller will take a backseat to the remaining tight end options this week. There is too much going against Miller this game to trust putting him into your lineups.[embedit snippet=”jeff-ads”]
First, the other weapons around him. The situation with Alshon Jeffery losing targets is coming to a head, and taking on a Jacksonville team that cannot stop wide receivers would be the perfect cure for what ails the Hoyer-Jeffery connection. Also, Cameron Meredith broke out last week and is likely to continue his strong play this week. Last week Meredith absorbed the Kevin White role to the tune of nine receptions for twelve targets and 130 yards and a score. Last week, Miller took in seven-of-eight targets for 73 yards. Not a bad fantasy day, but the score moved away from him and towards Meredith. There’s also the emergence of rookie running back Jordan Howard to siphon away targets and red zone opportunities.
While Miller’s opponent, the Jaguars, don’t have a particularly great pass defense, one thing they have excelled in this season is shutting down opposing tight ends. Tight end scoring can be misleading depending on the opponent (some teams flat out don’t pass to the tight end), but Jacksonville is top-ten in shutting down tight ends and have stifled Antonio Gates, Dennis Pitta, and Dwayne Allen in their last three games (they get partial credit for Jared Cook). Gates was the only tight end to reach the end zone, and he did it while only amassing 15 yards. Pitta was coming off a nine catch, 102-yard effort going into his matchup with Jacksonville, and Allen had a fifty-yard and a score game the week following his Jacksonville tilt. They were able to shut down productive tight ends, which may have to do with their woeful efforts against wide receivers.
Miller has been the apple of Brian Hoyer’s eye since Hoyer became the Bears’ quarterback, so I fully understand the desire to keep with Miller. However, several forces are conspiring against Miller to make him a questionable option against a Jacksonville squad that has shut down otherwise productive tight ends this season. He is likely to miss out on targets due to Alshon Jeffery becoming the squeaky wheel, miss red zone opportunities to the emergency of Cameron Meredith and Jordan Howard, and even if he gets opportunities, he is taking on a defense that has stymied tight ends pretty thoroughly so far this season. He’s a fade for me if you have better options.