"It's an altercation, a melee of mental fiscticuffs; a side scrolling brawler. Contending in disagreement two Sons of Roto will duel to the death for no other reason than pride. It's a noble battle of the minds inside a world of sheer brutality. It's the sport of fantasy kings. It's Beef the Series." - Sir Beefly Wellington
Beef the Series. Episode Two: Peyton Hillis versus DeAngelo Williams
What's beef you may ask? Well in the immortal words of the Notorious B.I.G., "Beef is when I see you. Guaranteed to be in I.C.U.". Immediately after the composite RB rankings were published Eric was caught handing out mean mugs. Mean mugs, while harmless, are a precursor to beef. A few words were exchanged and Beef the Series Episode Two was born. Both Eric and Andrew will present their cases and a reader's poll will decide the outcome. Warning; the content after the jump may be graphic in detail.
Eric's Ranks: Peyton Hillis (No. 23), DeAngelo Williams (No. 14)
Andrew's Ranks: Peyton Hillis (No. 11), DeAngelo Williams (No. 18)
Peyton Hillis' ADP: Y! (29), ESPN (25), FFC (25)
DeAngelo Williams' ADP: Y! (63), ESPN (32), FFC (43)
Vegas Odds: Peyton Hillis -200, DeAngelo Williams +285
Eric strikes first
In the battle between DeAngelo Williams and Peyton Hillis, DeAngelo will prove to be the number one option of the two, while he flushes the big Brown deuce down the rankings.
Hillis was asked to carry the team last season, averaging over twenty touches a game. But it was evident that Hillis’s smash mouth style couldn’t hold up, as he failed to score from Week 13 on, and only eclipsed 85 yards once over that span. He’s already going to have his workload reduced this season, set to lose playing time on passing downs to Brandon Jackson. And the more talented Montario Hardesty will always be waiting in the wings, if he’s able to stay healthy. Hillis will also be a long shot to reach double digit touchdowns again in such a poor offense, but should be able to reach 1200 total yards this season, which makes him a solid option. Just not above DeAngelo.
Williams, on the other hand, was just signed to a mega-deal and is set to carry the load again for Carolina. While I don’t expect Carolina’s offense to be any better than Cleveland’s, it shouldn’t be any worse either. Going into last year, Williams was coming off three straight seasons of averaging five or more yards per carry, something no active running back has ever done. So it’s pretty obvious that DeAngelo has top-tier talent, and could easily be a RB1 this year, while rushing for more yards than Hillis’s total yards. Over a reasonable 250 carries, if Williams can simply rush at his career average clip, he’s looking at over 1250 yards on the ground alone. If he gets 275 carries, that number jumps to over 1375 yards. Take the ferocious Panther if you don’t want your team in the toilet this year.
While DeAngelo may be running behind a superior offensive line he is coming off an injury marred season and he has better competition for touches. The 2010 season ended early for DeAngelo when he suffered a mid-foot sprain in Week 7. He averaged only 4.1 YPC on 14.5 carries per game. Jonathan Stewart is still in the backfield and it wasn't long ago (2009) when both running backs ran for 1,000 yards. Stewart punched in 10 TD that year. Cam Newton will lean heavily on his two backs and the offense may stagnate with stacked boxes and a rookie behind center. The goal line touches may be limited for DeAngelo in a poor offense that has a 235 lb, former 1,000 yard and 10 TD back looking for carries.
The main arguments against Peyton Hillis are the words of limp wristed arm-chair quarterbacks. Hillis is beastly. When he's not mother trucking people he's leaping over their heads. He's a 250 lbs and he's a dual threat out of the backfield. Hillis racked up 1,177 yards on the ground and another 477 yards through the air last season. Even though the offense is changing to a West Coast system under Schurmur, Hillis is still expected to be heavily utilized as a receiver out of the backfield. Montario Hardesty is currently watching from the sidelines and Brandon Jackson is no threat to Hillis' production or goal line touches. I have more faith in Colt McCoy leading a more productive offense than I do Cam Newton, who still hasn't beat out Jimmy Clausen. I know Hillis slowed down towards the end of last season, but he was dealing with a painful rib injury. At least he played though it, DeAngelo couldn't get past Week 7. Hillis is a stronger back, runs behind a solid o-line led by Joe Thomas, will remain the focal point of the attack in a slightly better offense and he has little to no competition for carries.
Ben Roethlisberger vs Matt Ryan
If the price is the same you gotta take Hillis. JStew is far greater competition to compete with than the likes of Hardesty or Jackson. The Browns aren't giving the ball to Brandon Jackson at the goal line either, that will be all Hillis all day. I also love the point MDS makes about Newton being a possible problem at the goal line (if they get there). Much like Vick vultured many a TD from McCoy last year, Newton could do the same to DWill with his skill set. While it's true I think Hillis is a risk from an injury standpoint, I think he has the better year.