Anthony Miller is one of my favorite breakout candidates heading into the 2020 football season. Going into his third year, Anthony Miller is primed to have his best season yet. Anthony Miller's first two seasons were both fairly unproductive, with his best fantasy football finish being the WR56.
There are a few reasons for his lack of production in his first two seasons. As a rookie in 2018, Anthony Miller struggled with a shoulder injury that riddled his rookie season. He only missed one game as a rookie, but the injury cut back his opportunity, playing in less than sixty percent of the Bears offensive snaps. In 2019, Anthony Miller again lacked opportunity, only started in seven games, and played only 66.5% of the offensive snaps. For the 2020 season, Anthony Miller should slot in (literally) as the Bear's WR2 behind Allen Robinson, playing primarily out of the slot for Chicago. Last season Anthony Miller was the WR3 on the depth chart behind both Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel. It may sound a little concerning as he couldn't beat out Taylor Gabriel on the depth chart or demand a higher snap share, but there are some things to consider. To put things into perspective for you, Gabriel had a 79% snap share compared to Miller's 66.5%, but Miller commanded 85 targets while Gabriel only had 48. This shows that when Anthony Miller is on the field, he's not only getting targeted but is also productive, and I'll touch on his production next.
Anthony Miller only has a small sample size of games at the pro level to appropriately examine due to his limited opportunity. However, when you take his games and examine them with perspective and context, you quickly see the potential that Anthony Miller has. I took Anthony Miller's games from 2019, that he had at least a snap share percentage of 70% or at least 6 targets, and evaluated his average yards per game, targets per game, receptions per game, and yards per reception. (I used these parameters because I consider both of these numbers to be achievable each week by a starting WR2 for most teams.) In those games, Anthony Miller averaged 70.42 yards per game, nine targets per game, six receptions per game, and 12.9 yards per reception. If you extrapolate these averages, Anthony Miller's potential ceiling as a starter is 155 targets, 96 receptions, and 1182 receiving yards (I took the average of his YPG and YPR totals). Implying he scores a safe floor of five touchdowns on the season would give you 244 fantasy points. His potential and ceiling make him an absolute steal at his ADP of 143. Even though this is my projected ceiling for Anthony Miller, my realistic projection for him this season is 70 receptions for 850 yards and five touchdowns, which puts him at 185 fantasy points, still greatly outperforming his ADP. My projections safely put him to finish as the WR40, with an ADP outside the top 140, this is the definition of value.
The numbers I provided are from a limited sample size of games (7), so to back up his talent, I'm going to examine his collegiate and athletic profile. Anthony Miller is 5'11" and 201 pounds, his workout metrics tell you he's not the most athletic player, but he gets the job done. We have seen several players comparable to Anthony Miller be successful, such as Victor Cruz and Reggie Wayne. Anthony Miller's college dominator was 39.9% (80th percentile), YPR 15.2 (57th percentile), and a target share of 30.4% (86th percentile). His last two seasons at Memphis, he put up back to back 95 reception and 1400 yard seasons with 14 and 18 touchdowns. Even while playing out of the University of Memphis, these numbers are impressive, and partial to why I'm confident in Anthony Miller's skill. Anthony Miller also impressed in Matt Harmon's Reception Perception, where he breaks down Anthony Miller's success against different coverage types. Per Matt Harmon's Reception Perception, Anthony Miller is a very talented route runner, as he surpassed the NFL average success rate on every route except for the curl. He also posted a 73.3% (83rd percentile) success rate against man coverage and 79.1% (91st percentile) success rate against zone coverage. Anthony Miller also held a 75% contested catch percentage and can break tackles to gain yards after the catch. These numbers clearly show us how talented of a player Anthony Miller is and why you should acquire him.
Finally, here are a few clips showing off some of the things Miller does well.
Anthony Miller demonstrates a beautiful route here, he has quick feet and release off the line, makes great use of his hands to create extra space, and makes a difficult catch for the almost touchdown.
In this clip, Anthony Miller illustrates a short but beautiful route. He's able to stop, cut, and accelerate quickly back to speed very fluidly before catching the ball, giving the defender no chance at making a stop on the catch.
He doesn't get targeted here, but Anthony Miller again shows quick feet at the line, great release, and use of the hands to help create space and separation from the defender. (bottom)
Here's another great example of Anthony Miller's skill set, he uses his great release at the line to freeze the corner, for just long enough to get open for the catch in the end zone for a touchdown.
Before its too late, go buy Anthony Miller. He is a very talented receiver, who's going to see an expanded role in his 3rd season in the NFL. His breakout is imminent and you don't want to miss out.
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