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Fantasy football season is just around the corner, which means drafts have begun, mock drafts are in full effect, and degenerates everywhere are preparing for the season. Every year, there are a few rookies that have fantasy value, not just in dynasty leagues, but in redraft as well. Last year, we saw Le’Veon Bell, Eddie Lacy, and even guys like Cordarrelle Patterson and DeAndre Hopkins contribute in year one. Who will it be this year?
This is part seven of a 32-part series, where one offensive rookie from each team will be analyzed, and their fantasy value will be determined. Each player’s ADP, college statistics, depth chart status, and more will be broken down, and a proper value will be placed on each player.
Without further ado, part seven of Rookie Profiles. Meet Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill.
Weight: 233 pounds
Hill is the definition of a bruiser. At over six feet tall and 230 pounds, he can really wear down defenses for four quarters. In yesterday’s NFL, Hill would have been a top talent (barring off the field issues) and would be a top fantasy back. But, this is the new NFL and passing is more and more dominant. In addition, the Bengals have Giovani Bernard in front of him. Why did the Bengals draft Hill 55th overall? They obviously plan to use him.
At LSU, Hill ran for 2156 yards and 28 touchdowns in two seasons, he only totaled 345 carries in his college career, so he has not been worn down like some other backs who are the feature in college. In addition, he did not fumble one time in his collegiate career, which has to attract the Bengals attention, considering he will likely replace BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the rotation, and BJGE was known for protecting the football.
Currently, Hill sits as second on the depth chart according to ourlads.com, and with Bernard at the top, Hill will definitely see his share of carries. Last season, Green-Ellis carried the ball 220 times to Bernard’s 170. Hill will likely see the bulk of the carries that Green-Ellis saw last season, but expect Bernard’s role to increase in the running game as well. With Hill’s ADP currently at 98.4 as the 39th running back drafted, he possesses some value in redraft leagues. But, there are a lot of ifs when it comes to Hill.
As his off-field issues are well-documented, he has some on-field problems too. Often times he runs high and is tackled easier than you would expect a 230-pound man to be tackled. He lacks agility and breakaway speed, but truly is a bruiser between the tackles. In essence, he is a perfect complementary back to Bernard. The Bengals could have a very talented one-two punch, but in fantasy football that is not exactly what we want in our running backs.
Last year, Green-Ellis totaled 220 carries for 754 yards and seven touchdowns. He is still on the Bengals roster, but will not see the same amount of work this year as the third back. Assume that Hill receives 150 of those 220 carries. If he averaged four yards per carry, and is the goal-line back he could reach 600 yards and five touchdowns. That production would bring him to 90 fantasy points (without receiving statistics) which is not worth a RB3 or higher. For Hill to have great value this year, he will have to be the feature back. With Bernard in the way, that seems like a stretch.
As for owning shares of Hill, he is a great handcuff for those who have Bernard, but if his ADP is in the top 100, that is a tough pick to spend on an insurance policy. It would be wise to look elsewhere around pick 100, considering players like Rueben Randle, Jay Cutler, and Mike Evans will be available.
Projection: 150 carries for 600 yards and five touchdowns, 15 catches for 150 yards and one touchdown.
Statistics via College Football Reference, NFL.com, FantasyFootballCalculator.com, Bengals.com
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