In the past several years, more teams have been moving to an offense that features multiple running backs as part of their weekly gameplan. This can be a good thing and a bad thing for fantasy owners since it spreads the value to more players, but also makes it harder to predict who will get what share of the workload. One key t0 getting the most out of timeshares is hunting for the back with the better value. This year, the Bengals are continuing their two-back approach and the back with more value coming out of fantasy drafts is Jeremy Hill.
While there is no denying the slash, flash, and sizzle in the potential of Giovani Bernard, Bernard is going in the first round of many fantasy drafts and will cost you a top pick. He is expected to get plenty of touches and will be a threat both in the receiving game and the running game all season. Bernard deserves his high-billing, but many owners have neglected the fact that he’ll be sharing the workload. I would avoid using a first-rounder on him simply based on the fact that he won’t be the sole back the Bengals use on a regular basis.
The other side of the timeshare, Jeremy Hill is going as late as the ninth or tenth round and is actually undrafted in many leagues. He’s a great addition as a sleeper going into the season and should be a flex consideration almost immediately. Part of the reason Hill is so unheralded is that he missed much of this preseason with a shoulder injury. He was able to play in the final exhibition game, though, last Thursday and was impressive. Playing as an every-down back, Hill totaled 26 touches and put up a whopping 160 total yards. He looked good in the passing game hauling in all six targets he received for 70 yards through the air.
Hill’s precise role will probably fluctuate from game-to-game, but new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson definitely is a big fan of the power rushing game he brings and will get him touches and opportunity every week. Hill could be the team’s goal line back, but Bernard has also gotten short-yardage work.
While starting Hill at a flex spot is a risky play in week one, it looks certain that he’ll have great value in the late rounds of your draft. Target him late as you fill out your RB depth in the late rounds and monitor how much work he gets in the early going this season. I have him just outside my top 30 RB headed into the season as one of the top non-starters and a great RB4 pick.