3. Jeremy Hill, New England Patriots
As a New England Patriots fan, this is more of a personal sleeper pick of my own. But now that Hill is playing for Bill Belichick and company up in Foxborough, there’s a very good chance that he has a breakout season in 2018.
Belichick is well known for the work that he does with no-name running backs on his team. He rarely drafts running backs in the early rounds, and he never, ever shells out big money for the big name free agents. Instead, he selects unknowns in the late rounds of the draft, signs undrafted free agents, or brings in veteran running backs that have been cast off and overlooked by other teams — and he usually turns them into superstars.
For instance, just look at Corey Dillon, or LeGarrette Blount, or Dion Lewis. Belichick brought those guys to New England and completely revitalized their careers.
Hill is still a young player, turning 26 in October. He tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns in 2015 as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. In 2017, however, Joe Mixon eventually took over as Cincinnati’s No. 1 running back, getting twice as many carries as Hill in the first seven games.
It was then a perfect opportunity for Belichick to swoop in and pick up Hill for the 2018 season, who is expected to fill the void of Dion Lewis — the Pats’ lead running back last year — who joined the Tennessee Titans in free agency.
Running backs go to New England to have their careers put back on track, and if Belichick works his magic again, Hill could be of huge fantasy value. Expect him to get plenty of carries on Sunday when the Patriots host the Houston Texans in the season opener.