Anthony Miller will be 26-years old on October 9 and was born in Memphis, Tennessee, where he attended a local high school playing both football and running track. He joined the University of Memphis football team as a walk-on and actually redshirted his 2013 season, and unfortunately had to miss all of the 2014 season due to injury.
In 2015 he played in 12 games, catching 47 passes for 694 yards and 5 touchdowns. Then in his final two seasons of Memphis, he broke out, catching 95 passes for 1,434 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2016, and 96 catches for 1,462 yards and 18 touchdowns in his senior season.
At the NFL Combine, he measured 5’11?”, and weighed 201 pounds, but was unable to run the 40-yard dash due to a recent foot injury. At his Pro day, he ran a 4.55 40-yard dash (unknown if he was truly healthy at the time). The Chicago Bears drafted Miller in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and he was the sixth wide receiver off the board. DJ Moore, Calvin Ridley, Courtland Sutton, Dante Pettis, and Christian Kirk went above him.
Miller managed to play in 15 games as a rookie, catching 33 passes for 423 yards and 7 touchdowns. Then in the 2019 season, he played all 16 games catching 52 passes for 656 yards but only 2 scores.
Miller has suffered multiple injuries over the past six years, and they predominantly stem from two different body parts: his shoulder and his foot. A recurrent issue is his shoulder, and he also suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot at the end of his senior season in college, which was surgically repaired.
Miller’s shoulder injury likely has been bothering him through his college and NFL years. The origin is unclear, but I would not be surprised if he probably first suffered a dislocated shoulder when he was a teenager. When this happens to someone who is under 20 years old, there is a significantly high chance that they will suffer another dislocation, well over 80% chance, unless they undergo surgery.
The shoulder is essentially a ball and socket joint, and the ball is held within the cavity by a large piece of cartilage that surrounds it called the labrum. Unfortunately, when you dislocate your shoulder, you traditionally tear some of this labrum, and it can’t heal naturally. With repetitive dislocations, the shoulder continues to have more and more tearing of the cartilage. Additionally, there can be an injury to the surrounding articular cartilage that covers the bone to protect it, and some people can suffer a small fracture of the rim.
He redshirted his 2014 season at Memphis because of a shoulder injury, likely a shoulder dislocation leading to a labral tear. Then early in the 2018 season, Miller dislocated his left shoulder again. Surprisingly he only missed one game, but he would have worn a brace to help prevent the shoulder from dislocating again.
To properly prevent the shoulder from re-dislocating, Miller would’ve had to have season-ending surgery. He ended up having the surgery after the season. Unfortunately, this did not seem to be enough, as he suffered another injury to his left shoulder at the end of the 2019 season.
Miller underwent a second surgery in as many years in January 2020, which was a repeat of the same operation from the year before. These shoulder injuries are prone to re-injury, and that is why it was so easy for him to re-injure it and require a second surgery.
In mid-May, Miller stated that he believes “2020 is going to be his best year yet”, but admitted he was frustrated with the 7 months-long rehab after surgery for his second year in a row. This shoulder injury and subsequent surgery are painful and frustrating because the shoulder is very loose and causes pain as a result.
Miller expects to serve as the WR2 behind Allen Robinson. He was doing quite well in the final six weeks of the 2019 season, as he averaged 5.7 catches and 72 yards per game
Miller’s shoulder injury is quite significant and concerning, but hopefully, he can get past this and learn how to prevent further damage. Miller is at high risk for another injury to the same shoulder as the surgical repair is never as good as initially built. Hopefully, he can play the entire season in 2020 without suffering any reinjury.
Anthony Miller looks to be a 2020 fantasy breakout candidate. It will be his third season, and for many, that is when wide receivers prove their metal. However, looking over his two years, they have not been consistent. His rookie season he had seven touchdowns on 33 receptions, and then followed that up with just two scores but caught 52 balls. Now, he just needs to put it all together. Miller has the tools to do just that.
Miller has looked like star material on several occasions over the last two seasons; he just hasn’t backed it up with consistency. In 2019, he had Week 12 (9-140) and Week 14 (9-118) as big weeks, but in six games, he failed to record more than one reception for 10+ yards. He ended his season as the WR56. In 85 of his targets, nearly half (40) came in three games.
The larger question isn’t the talent of Miller, but the quarterback play of Mitchell Trubisky, and is Nick Foles that much better? Allen Robinson will also have a say in the volume and is clear wide receiver one on the team. Throw in an offense that will hammer the ball through the run, and Miller’s opportunity to shine dries up quickly.
Chicago in the off-season brought in Jimmy Graham, who has some life left in him and drafted tight end Cole Kmet in the second round, and wide receiver Darnell Mooney in the fifth. Ted Ginn comes over from New Orleans to add a deep-ball receiver. None of these players is much of a threat to Miller’s volume-outcome.
The Bears total offense scored 280 points (29th) and put up 4,749 yards (29th). Obviously, not very threatening to defenses. The Bears attempted 580 passes (14th), 3,291 yards (25th), and 20 touchdowns (25th). The efficiency of the passing offense is off. A team should not be in the bottom third in passing while throwing the ball in the upper-half. Yes, Trubisky is that bad.
The Bears offensive line is a top-tier group. Cody Whitehair at left guard and Charles Leno at left tackle have Pro Bowl talent. All five starter returns from last season, therefore the cohesion will be stable. Rashaad Coward is the right guard; also, he is a converted defensive lineman, and James Daniels plays center. The scheme is an inside zone, but will also set the edge.
Sports Injury Predictor calculates that Miller has a 45.2% chance of injury in 2020, which is appropriate as he has only missed one career game.
My injury risk score for Miller is a 6.5 out of 10, predominantly because of this recurrent left shoulder issue.
At his current value, in my opinion, he is a steal as long as Nick Foles takes over at quarterback for the Chicago Bears. Miller has the potential to have a fantastic season if he can just stay healthy.
At this point (July 8), Miller has an ADP of WR51 and an overall of 137. His selection of a WR5 is more due to his obstacles in quarterback than talent. Neither Trubisky nor Foles can properly carry more than one wide receiver, and that is Allen Robinson.
Add into his inconsistencies in the red zone and new additions to the team, and there are a few opportunities left for him to grow. However, there is an excellent ceiling for him to use if he can.
Injury Risk: Moderate. 6.5/10.
|Projected Missed||Probability of injury per game ?||Probablity of injury in the season ?|
|Dec 22, 2019||Shoulder A/C Joint Sprain||Miller suffered a shoulder injury during the game vs. Minnesota. He underwent surgery to address the left shoulder injury|
|Sep 23, 2018||Shoulder Dislocation||Miller missed 1 game with a dislocated left shoulder. He had surgery after the season.|
|Dec 30, 2017||Pedal Foot Fracture||Miller suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot in his final college game. He missed the Senior Bowl and was unable to run at the Combine.|
|Aug 25, 2014||Shoulder||Miller received a medical redshirt in 2014 due to a shoulder injury.|