Sneaky pickups entering Week 14 

December, 6, 2013
Several of the running back situations in the AFC East certainly lack clarity at this point. For example, we don’t know if unforgiving New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick will permit his best running back (Stevan Ridley) to dress for Sunday’s game, or any game for that matter. The Buffalo Bills have a pair of potentially intriguing options, but fantasy owners are just guessing if they own them both (C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson) and have to pick just one. The New York Jets should give their main guy more love (Chris Ivory), but his backup is still involved (Bilal Powell). Then there are the Miami Dolphins and Lamar Miller.

[+] EnlargeLamar Miller
Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesLamar Miller's poor November (27 yards in three games) left the door open for Mike Gillislee and Daniel Thomas.
This situation should be clear. After all, Miller has all the tools to succeed and on several occasions this season has done so, including his Week 13 performance against a stout Jets run defense, when he handled a career-high 22 carries Sunday and turned them into an effective 72 yards. Hey, it wasn’t Adrian Peterson running wild, but Miller’s weekly stat line has been a roller coaster ride, and now, well, he seems valuable again. Of course, here in the Friday Sneaky Pickups blog entry, we prefer to consider all options and think outside the box, and Miller does possess considerable downside as well. We’ve seen that on several occasions; in his three games prior to Week 13, he was provided 21 rushing attempts total and turned them into 27 yards. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the Dolphins really believe.

And that’s what keeps me thinking that both rookie Mike Gillislee and seemingly underwhelming third-year fellow Daniel Thomas remain potentially in play for deep-league consideration. Miller is hardly a sure thing. Gillislee, a fifth-round pick from Florida, earned his first six carries of the season in Week 13, gaining 21 yards. It was, frankly, tough to judge him based on such a small sample size, but he should be fresh, at the least. Thomas suffered a left ankle injury in Week 12 that was originally believed would end his season, but he’s rehabbing and the team believes he could return to active duty in a week. Watching Thomas run when healthy isn’t really such a treat, but the Dolphins kept him involved, much to the chagrin of Miller owners. Who’s to say that time-share cannot continue soon?