Jeremy Hill is a guy we really like so everyone was probably a little bit bummed out to see him go to the Bengals, a team that already has a young, capable RB in Gio Bernard. Actually though, I think it’s very possible Hill just walked into a really nice value situation where he could immediately be a fantasy relevant player. Here’s why:
1. Gio isn’t a major touch threat: At 207 pounds, Bernard is something of an undersized back, and between only giving him 170 carries his rookie year and then using a second round pick on a 230 pound RB in Hill, the Bengals are signaling that they don’t view Gio as a 300+ touch guy going forward. The past four seasons the Bengals have averaged around 380 carries a season, so even if Hill only gets half the rushing pie (and here it’s probably worth noting we don’t love Gio as a rusher anyway) 190 carries should be enough to get him to the 800-850 yard range.
2. Law Firm should be done: “But what about BenJarvus Green-Ellis?” you ask, presumably because you are his mom or significant other. Well, the short answer is BJGE totally sucks.1 The slightly longer answer is Green-Ellis will be a 29 year old back next year who hasn’t topped 4.0 yards/carry in three years and contributes absolutely nothing in the passing game. He also hasn’t scored a touchdown over 6 yards in two seasons. By the way, this is probably a good time to point out Hill projects as one of, if not the best, short yardage backs in the draft so between the possibility of taking Green-Ellis’ touchdowns, adding a couple more short yardage TD’s due to increased efficiency and adding a couple of slightly longer TDs we could be looking at a 10 touchdown guy.
3. Pass Catching Upside (sort of): Ok, so Hill only had 26 catches in two seasons in college. But he averaged 9.8 yards a catch on that, so its not like the ball just sort of bounced off his head and knocked him over when he was targeted. On top of that, according to PFF, BJGE was 44th in Snaps-In-Route among all RBs in 2013 despite being bottom 5 in Yards/Route Run among all RBs with at least 140 routes each of the past two years. So it’s not that BJGE didn’t have the opportunity to catch 20-30 balls last year, its just that every time the Bengals targeted him the ball just sort of bounced off his head and knocked him over.
The risk with Jeremy Hill in redraft is that the Bengals might not trust him to suck to the degree Green-Ellis has for the past two years so they may let the Law Firm take a significant amount of Hill’s work early on to show him the ropes. The upside is if the Bengals don’t decide to shoot themselves in the foot, Hill will be in line for 200+ carries and 20+ catches, which in the Bengals offense should be enough for him to accumulate around 1000 total yards and double digit touchdowns. Given that he should be just about free in redraft this year, I really like Jeremy Hill’s potential to be a very good RB Zero guy.
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- Sorry, Mrs. Green-Ellis (back)