Four Downs: Peyton Hillis the real deal 

September, 27, 2010
A pair of Peytons went off for fantasy football owners Sunday, but only one of them was active in more than a third of ESPN leagues. The one you surely know is Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, delivering the second-highest score among quarterbacks, behind only Michael Vick. The Peyton fantasy owners need to know better is Cleveland Browns bulldozing running back Peyton Hillis, whose time-share buddy, Jerome Harrison, was deemed inactive for Sunday's game. Hillis exploded for 180 total yards and a touchdown, ranking third among running backs in standard fantasy scoring, behind only Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson.

Until Sunday, it seemed Browns coach Eric Mangini wanted Harrison to be the team's top running back. Regardless of Hillis' early production, Mangini told reporters a few weeks ago, in the aftermath of hotshot rookie Montario Hardesty's tearing his ACL, that he expected Harrison to seize the opportunity. In Week 1, Harrison and Hillis split the carries. In Week 2, Harrison got double the touches of Hillis, but did little with them. Leading up to Sunday's game, Harrison was dealing with a thigh injury, missed a few practices, and then on Sunday morning was ruled out for the game.

Peyton Hillis
AP Photo/Gail BurtonPeyton Hillis was third among running backs in standard fantasy scoring in Week 3.
It would have made perfect sense for the Browns to pair Hillis with second-year Clemson product James Davis, who has seemed to be knocking on the proverbial door for months, but that's not how things played out. Hillis earned 22 carries against the Baltimore Ravens' stout defense, and led the team with seven receptions as well. Davis saw four rushes. The Ravens' defense had not allowed a touchdown this season and is generally not easy to run all over, but Hillis single-handedly kept his winless, though competitive, team in the game.