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Who to Draft: Lamar Miller vs. Tevin Coleman – T. Kovack

In this new series of articles our writers have to pick between two players with similar ADPs.

by Tom Kovack

It’s early in the sixth round of your Fantasy Football Draft. You have drafted a solid core of players but are now looking to create some solid RB depth for your teams. The next two highest backs on your board are Lamar Miller and Tevin Coleman.

The bell rings and you’re on the clock. One minute to decide. You are biting your nails. Who should I draft? Coleman or Miller?

You want some advice? Here it is:

If you still haven’t made the pick with 55 seconds on the clock, what the heck is wrong with you?

If you are even possibly considering Tevin Coleman over Lamar Miller, then you have not done any homework or are auto-drafting.
Guys, it really shouldn’t be that hard. I get it that San Francisco just acquired Tevin Coleman and have high hopes for him, and his stats in Atlanta have been solid. But what has Coleman really shown you that makes him worth picking over Miller? He was second fiddle in Atlanta to Devonta Freeman and is competing against Jerrick McKinnon, who the Niners gave a monster contract to, and Matt Breida, who is coming off a solid season last year, rushing just under 1,000 yards and averaging 5.3 yards per carry. You also have pro-bowl fullback Kyle Jusczyk who could steal goal-line and short yardage carries away from the other three from time to time.

Coleman will get carries, and he’ll get catches, but he’ll be splitting his time with two others, not to mention he has not proven himself as a number one back and has to adapt to a new offense. Backs that land with new teams tend to not work out more times than do. Atlanta let him explore free agency for a reason. He was “okay” with them with Freeman gone, but he didn’t knock anyone’s socks off and Atlanta didn’t see any reason to re-sign him.

Miller, on the other hand, is still the man in Houston. I get it, D’onta Foreman is healthy now and is pushing Miller for the starting job. But he hasn’t won it yet. Miller is 28, still in the prime of his career for at least another year or two, and has the numbers on his side. He has 37 touchdowns over the last five years and over 1,000 all-purpose yards each of the last five seasons.

You can’t play the “what-if” game in fantasy football. You have to look at what’s in front of you now. Right now, you have a solid number one back in Houston who has been there for four years already and at the very worst will split his carries 50/50. His only competition is a guy who has been hurt his whole career thus far and barely has any experience. On the other side, you have a brand new running back in San Francisco still learning the offense and going up against two other backs who are very experienced, one of which was given a 4-year/$30 million deal (McKinnon). At the very best, he will get 50 to 60% of the team’s carries each game.

In the end, we’re talking about a two-back system vs. a three-back system. The two-back system is the safer play, especially with a proven player. I worry with Coleman that the Niners will want to make it work with McKinnon. I have my doubts on McKinnon, too, coming off the ACL tear, but if he’s fully healthy, the Niners aren’t going to let his $30 million rot on the bench. Coleman was given just a two-year/$10 million deal. In other words, if he doesn’t impress, they won’t feel bad about shoving him to the side. They have more to lose with McKinnon.

Go with Miller. I know the cliche…nothing in fantasy is guaranteed and you can’t predict injuries. But at the same time, you can’t play in fear. You go with the guy who’s been there and done that with that team.

The best way to put it is this…

With Miller, you know what you’re getting.

With Coleman, you don’t.

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