Brian Hill
Is Brian Hill an elite fantasy handcuff? Reports indicate the Falcons will be careful with Todd Gurley’s workload setting up Hill for a larger role. (Rusty Costanza/AP Photo)

When we talk about fantasy handcuffs at the running back position, some are more valuable than others. If Alvin Kamara goes down, give me all the Latavius Murray stock. If Melvin Gordon goes down, Phillip Lindsay is still splitting touches with Royce Freeman. See what I mean? Should we start taking Brian Hill more seriously in fantasy drafts?

An interesting report came out today. How are the Falcons going to use Todd Gurley? It sounds like conservative would be a good way to word it. ESPN Falcons beat writer Vaughn McClure had the following on Gurley’s usage in 2020:

“I think a minimum of 15 touches and a high of [25],” Koetter told ESPN in a phone interview Tuesday. “But you’ve got to realize we’ve got a lot of guys that need touches. You’re going to have 64 plays in a game on average on offense. Depending on where you’re at in the season and wear and tear, I think the low is 15 and maybe the high end 25.

“Some of that depends on score and where you’re at in the game. Are you ahead and running it? Are you getting in four-minute, and how are you running the ball that week? There’s a lot of factors in there. But again, the low end 15 and the high end 25.”

Say what now? Look, maybe I shouldn’t read too far into this. I’m going to take Koetter’s word on it. Are you telling me there are going to be weeks that Todd Gurley gets 15 touches in a game? Big yikes. That means someone like Brian Hill, who is currently the number two running back on the depth chart, could have stand alone value.

Let’s say something happens to Gurley. Hill becomes the number one back in Atlanta. To be fair, he’s probably not alone. Qadree Ollison and Ito Smith are still on the roster. Atlanta also ranked 30th in rushing yard in 2019. Counter point, that was with Devonta Freeman who blows. Counter point, Dirk Koetter running backs historically stink.

I’m not foaming at the mouth to draft Brian Hill but I do think there is a sliver of talent here. The former 5th round pick from Wyoming has averaged 4.7 yards per carry on 109 career attempts in two years. He’s also shown an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Hill is probably the best person to fill that role on the roster.

Brian Hill isn’t a big name but he’s a perfect “who the fuck is that guy” candidate. Someone you won’t draft but could easily be a league winner. Running back breakouts happen all the time. Hill could have stand alone value and could emerge as a sexy handoff if Gurley proves unreliable. Just keep an eye on it because the reports are the Falcons will not run Gurley into the ground. That’s good news for someone like Brian Hill.