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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Fantasy Football: 2011 NFC West Running Backs

Frank Gore running
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Frank Gore headlines the running back scene in the NFC West, but he has some pretty serious injury concerns. He has missed nine games over the past three years, and didn’t reach 250 carries in any of those seasons. While he is very active in the receiving game averaging 51 catches per season over the past five years, he only has 32 rushing touchdowns over that stretch. He brings the average just over eight total touchdowns a year over that stretch thanks to his receiving scores, but he is a low end RB1 in non-PPR leagues and a middle of the pack RB1 in PPR leagues. Anthony Dixon and Kendall Hunter will battle for handcuff duties, but neither present much fantasy value as long as Gore remains healthy.
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Fantasy Football: 2011 NFC South Running Back Situations

Michael Turner running
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The NFC South is pretty loaded in the running back department. Atlanta’s Michael Turner leads the way. He ran for 1371 yards and 12 touchdowns last year. He gets a downgrade in PPR leagues as he only caught 12 passes for 85 yards last year, but he’s a solid RB1. Turner has averaged 91.7 rushing yards and 0.91 rushing touchdowns per game over the past three years.

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Fantasy Football: 2011 NFC East Running Back Situations


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About the only stable running back scene in the NFC East belongs to the Philadelphia Eagles. LeSean McCoy ran for 1080 yards and seven touchdowns. He added to his totals with a ridiculous 78 catches for 592 yards and two more scores. Sure, he’ll lose some touchdowns to Michael Vick, but he doesn’t have much competition from other running backs. McCoy is a solid RB1.
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Fantasy Football: 2011 AFC North Running Back Situations

While the AFC East running back landscape is a mess, the AFC North is a goldmine.

Ray Rice is a force, both running and catching the football. He regressed some last year, but still managed 1776 total yards (1220 rushing, 556 receiving) and six touchdowns (five rushing, one receiving). Willis McGahee is up in the air, but it makes sense for him to return to Baltimore next year. Rice is a top five to eight fantasy running back depending on your format.
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Rashard Mendenhall followed up his 1108 yard, seven touchdown season with an even more impressive 1273 yard, 11 touchdown season. Mendy is a clear RB1 and a top eight to ten fantasy running back depending on your format. I actually like him a little better than Ray Rice in non-PPR leagues. He may make some bonehead comments, but he is a fantasy force with little competition for carries.
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