The Atlanta Falcons are having a season to forget, and will now be without one of their running backs for the remainder of the season. Ito Smith was placed on IR Saturday due to a neck injury, pushing Brian Hill further up on the depth chart behind Devonta Freeman.
There was some buzz around Hill during the preseason as a possible handcuff for Freeman, and that could now come to fruition.
With Smith now out of the picture, Hill will get his chance, albeit in a complimentary role, behind Devonta. A fifth-round pick from 2017, Hill is averaging five yards per carry this season, mostly aided by a 23-yard touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8. He was outcarried by Smith 22-to-8 through eight games and didn't receive his first carry of the season until Week 7.
While Hill makes sense as a handcuff for fantasy purposes, one has to wonder if he can earn a bigger role playing behind Freeman in the Falcons' offense. Smith never exceeded six carries through eight weeks of action, but Freeman has also struggled to the tune of 3.4 yards per carry this season.
If Hill does earn more playing time than Smith was afforded, his Week 10 matchup won't make it matter much. The Atlanta Falcons are facing their division-rival New Orleans Saints, who are allowing the second fewest fantasy points to running backs this season.
Hill makes the most sense as a stash, if Freeman ultimately gets hurt at some point, but will likely remain on the waiver wire until that potentially occurs.
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