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Justice Hill (RB, BAL) - 2019 Fantasy Football Sleeper


BALLER MOVE: Target Around ~150 Overall

Current ADP: ~170

Last year, the Ravens run game was unlocked once Lamar Jackson took over as quarterback, with Gus Edwards rushing for 654 yards and a pair of touchdowns over the final seven games.

Edwards was highly productive over that stretch, but there's a reason he finds himself virtually locked out of the discussion in the Ravens backfield this year: his production was much more about Jackson and the team's offensive scheme than it was about Edwards.

Baltimore's added two backs to the mix this year. Veteran Mark Ingram is likely to fill the role Edwards held as the pure runner. During that whole stretch where Edwards was running for a lot of yards, he was also a non-factor in the passing game, catching just one pass for 13 yards. The Ravens essentially ran an offense where Jackson and Edwards both served as running backs for a good chunk of the time, with Jackson's speed making the defense have to shift the way they defended the run. That worked fine until the playoffs, when the Chargers brought played a quarter defense that got more speed on the field, which helped negate Jackson's rushing advantage and allowed the front of the defense to shut down Edwards, who had eight carries for 23 yards.

Enter Ingram, who is by all accounts a far superior back to Edwards and can make defenses pay for using this defensive back heavy defensive scheme. Ingram will be able to bully teams inside better than Edwards could, which will help the Ravens move the ball down the field.

But wait! This is supposed to be about rookie Justice Hill!

Exactly.

With Ingram forcing defenses to really account for the running back up the middle, room opens up for Hill to be the team's change-of-pace back. Last year, Jackson wasn't quite where he needed to be as a passer to make use of a receiving back, though we saw Kenneth Dixon start to fill that void at the end of the year. But this year, you get the more versatile Hill to fill that role, plus Hill's able to sub in for Ingram on rushing downs too, getting more speed on the field. I'm not saying Ingram/Hill looks like Ingram/Kamara did in New Orleans, because Lamar Jackson will take up a few too many of the carries for Hill to come close to a Kamara-style breakout, but what Hill will do is provide a springy option beside Jackson. Hill can catch passes out of the backfield and can be useful in read option plays with Jackson.

And if the offense they ran last year that was predicated on having that big inside back doesn't work and they need to run something that features a more agile runner, it'll be Hill who steps into that role.


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