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Flashes of his old self
Peyton Hillis has been running like a man possessed during the preseason. He seems to have found the speed and power he lacked a season ago.
He was the personification of overrated heading into last season, and he did not surprise. The Madden 12 cover-boy didn't even show glimpses of his 2010 form, producing nearly one-third of what he did the year prior.
Many predicted he would lose some of his shiny luster, but no one predicted a complete drop from fantasy relevancy. Owners who took him early on, expecting some semblance of his touchdown-posing self were simply asking for trouble and probably found it.
But times have changed.
Hillis got his way and left Cleveland to find the greener pastures of Kansas City. Sure, the Chiefs have a superstar running back named Jamaal Charles ruling the roost, but Hillis has the big factors that help his stock exponentially: Charles is coming off a torn ACL. We all know the "Two-Year Rule" for NFL running backs coming back from ACL surgeries.
The results? They need a full year to rehabilitate and get back to their former selves (if they ever do).
Also, Charles' best season came in '10, two years ago. What happened then? He split time with Thomas Jones. A platoon of sorts. One that drove fantasy owners of both backs crazy.
Jones had 245 carries, totaling 896 yards and six TDs. Charles (who came off the bench predominantly), had 230 carries for an eye-popping 1,467 yards and five TDs. Yes, I know Hillis and Charles are very different backs, but so were Jones and Charles. Both still remained fantasy-relevant to say the least.
The biggest factor into Hillis' upcoming success with Kansas City?
The Chiefs have put together a very formidable offensive line, headlined by veteran right tackle, Eric Winston. You know, the guy who helped Arian Foster tally 2,840 rushing yards over the past two seasons. They also have Jon Asamoah, who was simply terrific at left guard last year and a promising young center in Rodney Hudson.
The Chiefs are a run-heavy, pass-sketchy team. Matt Cassel cannot be depended on, which leaves endless amounts of pressure on the run-game, namely Peyton Hillis to perform. They will be a clock-controlling team that will look to slow down the pace of the game.
Enter Peyton Hillis.
The 'Thunder and Lightning' backfield of Charles and Hillis will speed by and also steamroll through opposing teams' defenses. While Charles is sure to account for the majority of the yards, expect Hillis to vulture a good handful of touchdowns this year.
There is no way Peyton Hillis does not land in the top 30 fantasy backs this season. That is, unless he has another bout with a "scratchy throat".