Why Browns Peyton Hillis is not a top 15 Fantasy Running Back

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When I put together my early 2011 fantasy football running back rankings Peyton Hillis missed the cut. After 1654 total yards (1177 rushing, 477 receiving) and 13 touchdowns (11 rushing, 2 receiving) there are questions at the validity of my rankings. Well, I’m here to defend my rankings.
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Cleveland Browns GM Tom Heckert admitted that Hillis received too many touches last year. After just 68 carries and 18 catches in his first two seasons, Hillis had 270 carries and 61 catches. His numbers suggest that the heavy workload led to Hillis wearing down. After 11 touchdowns in the first 11 games, he went scoreless in the Browns’ final five games. After averaging 116.6 total yards through the first 13 games, he averaged 46 over the final three games. If that decline doesn’t give you pause, you have more intestinal fortitude than I do.
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Let’s not forget that Montario Hardesty missed all of last year with a knee injury. Hardesty was drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft with the notion that he would challenge for the starting gig. He injured his knee early and the rest is history.
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Reports suggest that  Hardesty’s knee rehab is on schedule and he shouldn’t miss any training camp when and if the lockout is lifted. If he is even close to 100 percent, he’ll cut into Hillis’ carries, which would jive with Heckert’s plans to lessen Peyton’s workload.
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It’s not that I dislike Hillis, but there are a lot of good backs this year. Arian Foster, AP, CJ2K, Jamaal Charles, Turner, Mendenhall, Run DMC, Rice, McCoy, and MJD. That’s ten backs that I think without question should be ranked ahead of Hillis. Throw in veterans Gore and S-Jax and you have 12. Shonn Green is expected to carry a heavier load. J-Stew could be operating with D-Will, which could make him shoot up the draft board. Matt Forte has a better track record of success.
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Maybe Green or Forte could be bumped for Hillis, but they don’t give me a bad feeling like Hillis does. Finally, we have to discuss the elephant in the room. I am generally not a superstitious person, but Hillis is on the Madden cover. While I would not necessarily let that affect my drafting decision, you are tempting fate when you take the bruising running back.

Where do you rank Peyton Hillis?
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Comments

  1. I would say Hillis would still have to be considered top 15, probably the top 5, based on the fact that he will still undoubtedly be the focal point of the offense, even if his touches are reduced. The Browns’ receivers still need time to develop and adjust to the new offense, and I will still think Hillis will get around 25 carries per game. I think it will be a rarity to see Green picked before Hillis, especially since many (including myself) were outraged when Green flopped after being selected in the early rounds of many drafts. I really think if Gore will be expected to get the same amount of touches as Hillis, Gore will be sidelined with injury by week nine or ten. McFadden and McCoy are extremely overrated in my opinion, and I would feel much more comfortable with Hillis. Let’s not also forget that Hillis is the Browns’ number one option inside the ten yard line because of his strength and versatility, meaning he will always be called upon to pick up easy touchdowns on runs of 1-5 yards. AP and CJ2K are honestly the only backs I would 100% pick over Hillis. Foster is as unproven as Hillis is, Charles will not put up the same numbers (yards and touchdowns) unless his carries increase significantly, and the Falcons are gradually becoming a pass first team

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