By Tony DelSignore Jr.
Heading into the 2014 season, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller is seemingly a forgotten man in fantasy football circles. No doubt, the 31 year old veteran is coming off a very rough season in Pittsburgh. Some may believe Miller is done when it comes to fantasy production based on his performance last year. But, if you give Miller a pass for clearly being hobbled by his knee injury for much of 2013, you could find yourself with a late round gem at tight end.
Before his knee injury at the very end of the 2012 season, Miller was among the lead leaders in fantasy scoring at the tight end position. In the first year under offensive coordinator Todd Haley, Miller caught 71 passes for 816 yards and 8 touchdowns. Miller was used extensively in the red zone during the 2012 season but his production dropped off dramatically last season. Miller only saw nine red zone targets last season, registering just five receptions and one touchdown. In contrast, Miller’s red zone production in 2012 was 20 targets, 12 receptions and seven touchdowns.
The Steelers passing game has seen a major overhaul this offseason. With red-zone maven Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders both gone, look for a healthy Miller to bounce back in a big way in 2014. Cotchery and Sanders departure have vacated 38 targets and a whopping 15 touchdowns in the Steelers offense. Smaller Lance Moore and Markus Wheaton won’t likely be the main beneficiaries of Cotchery’s red zone absence, I believe Miller will be.
Examining the Steelers roster, it is fairly obvious that Miller is the best red zone threat that the Steelers have entering 2014. He has the size advantage over any of the smaller receivers on the team and has shown to be reliable near the end zone throughout his career. Heath has always been a security blanket for Ben Roethlisberger, expect that to continue this season.
Don’t be surprised at all if we see Miller repeat his 2012 success this season. With only one touchdown in 14 games during the 2013 season, Miller has slipped to pick 13.09 in ADP according to Fantasy Football Calculator, making him a great draft day value. With clear top 10 upside, why not take a chance on the 17th tight end coming off the board? Miller is a tremendous option for your fantasy team because you can target other positions throughout the draft and still get a reliable weekly option as your fantasy tight end at the back end of the draft. I recommend targeting Miller with confidence late in your fantasy drafts, and expect a very solid season from a proven veteran.
My season projections for Heath Miller are: 65 receptions, 760 yards, 8 touchdowns
Follow me on Twitter at @TonyD_12 and @SteelersDepot for more Steelers fantasy analysis and projections throughout the 2014 season.