The Kansas City Chiefs found their complement (and insurance policy) to Jamaal Charles in the backfield this year, signing Peyton Hillis to a one-year, $3 million dollar deal. For a player who is only 26 years old and one year removed from a 1,600 total yard season, this signing has to be considered as a huge win for the Chiefs. Hillis is arguably the perfect complement to Jamaal Charles.
Both Hillis and Charles are coming off injury plagued seasons, and will be looking to rebound in a big way. Being able to share the load between them should help them both stay fresh and healthy all season. If they’re both anywhere close to their 2010 levels, where they finished first and second overall amongst all running backs in terms of their PFF rating, while being tied for 12th amongst eligible running backs in terms of elusiveness rating, this tandem could easily be the most fearsome combination in the league.
And it’s no surprise that the Chiefs love to run the ball, finishing atop the league in 2010 with 566 attempts, and fifth in 2011 with 487 attempts, despite losing Charles two games into last season with a torn ACL. So with the bruiser, Hillis, on board to join the speedster, Charles, there’s a very good chance that the Chiefs find themselves atop the league in rushing attempts once more this year.
The move puts a serious dent in Jamaal Charles upside, as Hillis is a much better back than Thomas Jones was when he was Charles’ running mate. But with the Chiefs calling run so often (51.7% of the time over the last two seasons), it’s clear that there’s more than enough touches to go around in that backfield.
Peyton Hillis should be able to rebound nicely, landing in arguably one of the most fantasy friendly set-ups in the league for a back with his skill set. With the Chiefs not wanting to overwork Charles, and now not needing to, I’d expect there to be a similar split in the backfield as 2010 between Charles and Thomas Jones. I’m penciling in Hillis for 240 carries for 1013 yards, 35 receptions for 256 yards, and 8 touchdowns, while giving Charles 200 carries for 1149 yards, 40 receptions for 296 yards, and 6 touchdowns.