Ronnie Hillman struggles while battling Montee Ball for fantasy value

Otto Greule Jr

The running back debate continues in Denver, as Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball compete for the starting job. We break down the fantasy implications.

Ronnie Hillman was the starter in the Broncos backfield on Saturday night against the Seahawks, but he didn't make much of a case to retain that role. Hillman rushed for 34 yards on 13 carries, and he fumbled at the goal line in the second quarter, resulting in a 106-yard return touchdown for Brandon Browner.

Montee Ball finished with 28 yards on six carries. He played in seven fewer snaps than Hillman, but looked like the better runner on the night.

Fantasy impact: Pass protection will likely determine Ball's usage going forward. He completely missed on one occasion, which led to Peyton Manning taking a sack.

John Fox has a reputation that says he won't lean on rookie running backs. However, when you look at his history, Fox has had talented backs in place already before draft a rookie runner. Jonathan Stewart was his most successful rookie, as he rushed for 836 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008.

If Hillman continues to struggle, Ball will see an expanded role. He has the chance to step up in next week's dress rehearsal against the Rams.

More from SB Nation:

Fantasy War Room

2013 fantasy football QB rankings

2013 fantasy football RB rankings

2013 fantasy football WR rankings

2013 fantasy football TE rankings

Strategy for drafting team defense

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