2014 Fantasy Football: RB Ronnie Hillman Overlooked Handcuff
If you plan on adding Montee Ball to your 2014 fantasy football roster, you also have to draft Ronnie Hillman as his handcuff.
In 2013, Hillman was viewed as a sleeper who would at the very least split carries with Ball, and injuries to the rookie running back would mean an increased workload for Hillman. When Ball and Hillman were unable to produce the pass-blocking skills to keep Peyton Manning from hitting the ground, Knowshon Moreno became the starter, and the rest is history.
As a third-round draft pick, the Denver Broncos were obviously optimistic that the organization had drafted a running back who could lead the team into the future. Moreno was originally slated to lead the Broncos as a first-round pick from 2009, but constant injuries and a lack of use had made him a bust. Hillman finished his 2012 rookie season with 324 rushing yards on 87 attempts, but the Broncos did not seem to have confidence in the former third-round pick as Ball was selected in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Now that Moreno is gone and Ball is leading the rushing attack, fantasy players must handcuff Ball if he is on their roster. Ball had several strong performances near the end of the season, but his ability to pass block is going to determine how long he stays on the field. If Manning is being slammed into the ground on a consistent basis, the Broncos will remove him for Hillman or C.J. Anderson.
Anderson played a limited role last season, and he is primarily working with the second-team offense in training camp, while Hillman works with the first team. Hillman is a lighter and quicker back than Anderson, and as long as he can keep defenders away from his quarterback when called upon, he should receive more of a workload than Anderson. It is unknown how Ball will react as the main starter, and he is a risky pick at the end of the first round or start of the second. If you draft him, you must back him up, and the back to do that with is Hillman.
While he has never been fantasy relevant, you still must add Hillman to your roster if you own Ball.