With the fast track to the starting running back job in Denver, fantasy owners were looking forward to seeing what Ronnie Hillman could do in Denver’s second preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday night. Looking to seize his opportunity, Hillman came out of the gates looking good, dominating the rushing attempts for the Broncos early on.
Hillman’s night took a turn for the worse on Denver’s fourth possession when he contracted a case of fumbilitis. Having already recovered one of his own fumbles earlier in the drive, Hillman was then stripped again at the goal line, leading to an improbable 106 yard fumble return for a Seahawks touchdown.
Hillman’s night was finished right there as head coach John Fox benched him for the promising rookie, Montee Ball. At the end of the night, Hillman managed only 34 yards on 13 carries for a measly 2.6 yards per carry.
While Hillman may have opened the door for his fellow competitor, Ball was just as mediocre for the remainder of the game, but he did manage to hold on to the ball. While he showed a little more burst in his runs, gaining 28 yards on 6 carries, Ball almost got Peyton Manning killed when he whiffed on a block in the first quarter. Given the circumstances, Denver coaches may see this missed block as more unforgivable than Hillman’s fumble.
Either way, both backs for Denver left a lot to be desired on Saturday night. Both seem to be risks in fantasy drafts right now, due to Ball’s high ADP (50) and Hillman losing his grip on the starting job. While many have expected Ball to take over sometime during the season, Denver’s third preseason game may end up deciding Week 1’s starter.