NFL fantasy football: Peyton Hillis not just a handcuff

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After losing star running back Jamaal Charles to an ACL injury in 2011, the Kansas City Chiefs were forced to turn to a three-headed rushing attack that included Thomas Jones, Jackie Battle and Dexter McCluster. Though the trio racked up 1,591 total yards, they could only post three touchdowns on the season. In response to their red-zone woes, the Chiefs signed Peyton Hillis this offseason with the hopes he could reclaim his 2010 swagger after an injury-riddled 2011. So far, it looks like they made a good decision. In just two preseason games, Hillis has rushed nine times for 52 yards and a touchdown to go along with one reception for an 11-yard score. Jamaal Charles will still be the featured back this year, but with the way Hillis is performing, he could see a heavier workload than expected.

Hillis is not only a must-handcuff for fantasy football owners, he could serve as a worthy flex player. In 2010, Thomas Jones carried the ball 245 times for 896 yards and six touchdowns. He finished 24th among all fantasy backs with 135.80 fantasy points, while Charles finished third on the list with 237.50 points of his own. There’s no reason to believe a similar result won’t be possible now that Hillis will be playing the “bruiser” role. Not only is it possible, he has the potential to surpass expectations. Thomas was in his 11th season in 2010, and Hillis will be entering only his fifth year with a fraction of the mileage. With an ADP of 112.48, Hillis can be selected in the later-rounds of drafts. If he can replicate Jones’ success and finish among the top 25 fantasy backs, he could be one of the better sleeper picks of 2012.

Follow Adrian Mojica on Twitter @FFFdaily

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