If not for final rosters being released, this article may be titled differently. Why, you ask? In the case of rookie RB Jeremy Hill, it’s because the Cincinnati Bengals released BenJarvus Green-Ellis from the team, letting the rookie move up in the depth chart indefinitely. This is very important because before Green-Ellis’ release, no one was quite sure what to make of the running situation in Cincinnati.
We knew the second-year running back Gio Bernard would be the starter, but the value that their rookie and other veteran backs were muddled. Hill appeared to be the better option, but it still seemed both would only be situation-backs. Of course, the concern was that Green-Ellis’ situation would come at the goal line (adding value with touchdowns). But now with him out of the equation, it appears the Bengals trust Hill to assume that position.
As a rookie whom didn’t start a game last season, Bernard ranked as the 16th best RB option. He and Green-Ellis had a nearly identical touch total (Bernard: 226, Green-Ellis: 224). Bernard should assume a little more responsibility this season, and should see approximately 300 touches like Green-Ellis did the season before Bernard’s arrival.
That being said, a 70/30 split seems about right for Hill — meaning Hill will see about 125 touches. Of course, if he impresses as much as he has this preseason, his percentage of touches could increase significantly (approaching the 50/50 benchmark).
On 41 carries this season, Hill was able to accrue 190 yards on the ground (4.6 yards per carry). That’s quite an accomplishment for any back, and is indicative of what kind of averages he’ll provide throughout the season’s course. He also put up 93 yards on 10 receptions, so he’ll also find success in the flats. So you can expect about six points per game on average from him to begin with, on yards alone.
The biggest asset Hill bring to the table though is his ability to score. At a stout 233 pounds, he was able to punch in 28 TDs over the course of two seasons at LSU. He’ll be lining up in goal line formations this season, and can likely add another 36 points to his name (six TDs).
Depending on the day, Hill could be giving his GMs double-digit points. But what’s most intriguing about Hill is that if Bernard goes down for any length of time, he should be able to assume the role of Bernard in all categories (and Bernard’s points will translate over to Hill).
The great thing about Hill as a handcuff is that he’s a 30th round pick who will give you consistent production even as a backup, but he has great potential to be more than just a backup on the Bengals’s depth chart as well as your fantasy roster. He’s certainly worth investing in this season.