I hate to start speculating too much on underrated players as it normally leads to overthinking and silly drafting… but the case of Peyton Hillis doesn’t make much sense to me. He was around fourth in the league in standard RB scoring last year (ahead of even Chris Johnson in some formats) and was no slouch in PPR leagues (hauling in 61 passes, with his TE background). Puzzlingly, he is being drafted around pick 25-30 in many standard leagues. Not in the top 5-10 as one would expect.
I know there are some injury concerns… but the injury concerns for Maurice Jones-Drew seem much worse to me and he is still going in Round 2, with some first round consideration. Hillis is only 25 and does not have that many miles on the odometer. I also know there will be some competition in the backfield (Montario Hardesty and Brandon Jackson), but that is not really a bad thing either. Hillis obviously wore down late last year and could use a sidekick to give him a break. (Jones-Drew is also facing a tougher bench challenge from Rashad Jennings than Hillis faces in Cleveland.) I also tend to think Colt McCoy, as a young QB, will need to rely on the running game and short passes to RB’s and TE’s. Of course, I also know about the Madden curse…. and I honestly have no rational answer for a hex that strangely appears have some merit.
As always, whatever you do, do not significantly overdraft a player you think might be underrated. If you pay too much, they are not a bargain anymore. If you tend to agree that Hillis is being discounted too much, I’d strongly consider taking a shot at him in the early third round if he is still on the board. I might even look at him at the end of Round 2, though I prefer my top two picks to have clean bills of health and a few years of solid returns. Any higher and you are probably going to be overpaying.