Dontrell Hilliard or D’Onta Foreman Start/Sit Week 14: Are either worth starting?

    Are either D'Onta Foreman or Dontrell Hilliard fantasy starters against the Jaguars this week? It's hard to say, but let's take a look.

    Fantasy managers still paying attention in Week 14 are likely scrambling to set a lineup in which they feel confident. At this point of the year, injuries and byes are taking their toll. This has forced fantasy football players into questions they never thought they’d ask. Choosing between D’Onta Foreman or Dontrell Hilliard in fantasy is one of those questions.

    Should you start D’Onta Foreman or Dontrell Hilliard in fantasy this week?

    Yep, there it is. We’re looking at two players who weren’t even on fantasy radars heading into the 2021 season. These two weren’t even likely on the deepest of dynasty rosters. That’s how crazy this year has been. So let’s dig in.

    D’Onta Foreman’s comeback

    Most fantasy managers probably remember Foreman from his time on the Houston Texans in 2017 and 2018. He played in 10 games in 2017 and was somewhat fantasy-relevant that year. He ran 78 times for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns, but most remember him for an entirely different reason.

    During Week 11 in 2017, Foreman tore his left Achilles tendon, forcing him to miss the rest of the year and putting into question his future as an NFL running back. He returned in 2018 but was a shell of his former self, getting only 7 attempts on the year for a total of -1 yard.

    Tennessee signed Foreman as a free agent in 2020, but again, he barely saw any work behind stud RB Derrick Henry. Cut to 2021 with Henry out for the year, and Foreman has taken full advantage of his new opportunity.

    He’s rushed a total of 42 times for 193 yards so far, with 109 yards coming in Week 12 against the New England Patriots. Foreman appears to be back to his old self, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

    Dontrell Hilliard is making waves as well

    In addition to Foreman’s resurgence, Hilliard has also had a second life in the NFL with the Titans. Hilliard played for the Browns from 2018 through part of 2020, barely seeing the field in 30 career games for Cleveland. He saw 21 carries for 97 yards and was a non-factor on the field.

    In 2020, the Browns released Hilliard, but the Texans claimed him off waivers. Houston then released him prior to the 2021 season before he ever played a snap. The Titans eventually snatched him up a few weeks ago to add to their running back depth after injuries to both Henry and Jeremy McNichols. Hilliard wasn’t on the practice squad long and saw his first action of the season in Week 8 on special teams.

    Hilliard’s first RB snaps came in Week 11 when he ran 7 times for 35 yards, followed by another 12 carries for a whopping 131 yards and a touchdown in Week 12. The Titans showed off their two-headed beast at RB, amassing a total of 240 rushing yards between Hilliard and Foreman. But now the question becomes, which one is worth starting?

    Which Titans running back is worth starting?

    Ultimately, this question is impossible to answer due to the small sample size and the fact that the NFL is somewhat chaotic at the running back position. That being said, let’s at least look at the facts to make an informed choice between the two.

    Titans run offense vs. Jaguars run defense

    For the season, the Titans are third in rush attempts with 379 and fifth in rushing yards with 1,689. However, these numbers are slightly misleading because Henry rushed 219 times for 937 of those yards before getting hurt. Still, this shows that the team wants to run and is built to pass as a backup plan, which was also true in their last game before their bye.

    On the other side of the ball, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense has been bad against the run. They’re 26th in rush attempts and 21st in rushing yards allowed. In a normal situation, this would be a prime matchup, but when it’s likely that the carries and yards will be split between two backs, things get a little tricky.

    Start D’Onta Foreman or Dontrell Hilliard in fantasy this week?

    Looking solely at Week 12 as a guide doesn’t help much, unfortunately. Hilliard played 32 snaps and got 12 carries, while Foreman played 31 snaps and got 19 carries. Foreman managed a solid 5.74 yards per carry against the Patriots, but Hilliard ran for a crazy 10.92 yards per attempt. Hilliard also scored the touchdown, which obviously helped him in fantasy.

    All that being said, this is one of those decisions that you will have to make yourself. It will come down to your gut and the other players you have on your roster. If you’re hurting and have either of these guys, I totally get throwing them in your lineup. If you have both and need to pick between them, I’m leaning on Foreman over Hilliard because he saw more carries and has been on the team longer.

    This doesn’t mean that I think Foreman will definitely outscore Hilliard — far from it. I’m just saying that I trust the longevity and attempts over long runs and touchdowns. Opportunity tends to be the stickiest thing we have in fantasy week to week. Based on the numbers, Foreman has just seen more opportunities in the small sample size we have to look at heading into Week 14. Whatever you decide, good luck out there. I hope you’re right.

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