Ito Smith, Brian Hill Updated Fantasy Outlook After Todd Gurley's Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2020

Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill (23) runs the ball against the Carolina Panthers during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. The Falcons won the game 40-20. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)
Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley is injured yet again, this time with a knee injury, leaving fantasy players to question how the backfield snaps and workload will shake out between his backups, Brian Hill and Ito Smith.

Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported Gurley has been ruled out for Sunday's Week 12 game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

So which of those two reserves is the better option for your fantasy team? It's not an easy call with both players taking on limited roles so far.

To this point, Hill has registered 261 rushing yards, 16 receptions for 111 yards and one total score. Smith, meanwhile, has offered 46 rushing yards, seven receptions for 43 yards and no touchdowns. Gurley, who's scored nine times, is clearly the guy in Atlanta. 

History might offer a better clue of which player will offer the bigger upside, however. 

Smith got some run as a rookie in 2018, with 467 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns. He saw less time last year before his season ended in November with a concussion, and it appeared Hill had moved up the depth chart after getting 78 carries for 323 yards and two scores. 

Coming into the season, Hill looked like the player most likely to secure the backup role to Gurley.

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If you have to pick for fantasy purposes, go with Hill. 

But this looks like a muddled backfield, with the possibility that even Qadree Ollison could see touches. This has the feel of a platoon, with none of these players likely to get the steady workload to be a major difference-maker for your team. Atlanta has a good passing game it can lean on. 

So while Hill is your free-agent priority, he's a low-end RB3 or high-end RB4. Smith and Ollison sit firmly in the RB4 range as speculative adds. None are great starting options, with Hill the safest bet if you need a plug-and-play option in your flex for Week 12.