The Bengals are going to run the ball more in 2014. That became evident the second they spent a second-round pick on LSU RB Jeremy Hill in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Cincinnati is in win-now mode, and any player they draft that high figures to get significant playing time as a rookie. We saw a glimpse of that in Hill's first preseason game. The Bengals gave him a team-high six carries, and he produced 36 yards (6.0 ypc).
Assuming Giovani Bernard gets the bulk of touches in the regular season, Hill still has the potential to get 10-15 touches per game, as well as goal line carries. That makes him a good late-round fantasy football option, and that's exactly what Jordan Hoover of Number Fire believes.
Mining for mid-round value at running back can be a difficult venture. Most options in this range are not clear-cut starters and/or are accompanied by question marks regarding age, health or ability. But a name that stands out to me is Bengals rookie Jeremy Hill.
Hill's college production was extremely impressive. In his two seasons at LSU, Hill averaged 6.2 yards per carry and had 28 rushing touchdowns playing the majority of his games against SEC defenses.
Hill is currently the RB42 in 12-team PPR leagues, and the 9.11 pick overall according to Fantasy Football Calculator. If Hill does indeed see 200-plus carries this season he should easily outperform his ADP and provide substantial value for fantasy owners.
Adam Pfeifer of Rant Sports believes Hill is a good handcuff to have if you draft Bernard, assuming Hill fills the same role that BenJarvus Green-Ellis had in 2013.
I’d look to handcuff him with Hill, who will likely take the BJGE role from last year. That alone will make Hill fantasy relevant, as last year, Green-Ellis received 30 red zone carries, as well as 19 totes from inside the 10-yard line. Hill isn’t a plodder, either, possessing some deceptive quickness to his game.
Hill has the potential to become an RB1 this year if Bernard were to go down with an injury, something he did several times in his college career. Thankfully for the Bengals, Bernard stayed healthy throughout his rookie season, and he's on the verge of becoming a start if he stays healthy.
Still, spending a late-round pick on Hill is a wise move for anyone who takes Bernard with their first or second-round pick.