Jeremy Hill's focus is on helping Bengals win, not helping fantasy teams

Jeremy Hill has yet to help to his own fantasy team this season, or anyone else's for that matter. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill contends that despite enduring some individual early-season struggles, his focus right now is on his team -- the real one.

Hill made headlines earlier this season when he eagerly told ESPN about his fantasy football team that included himself and three other Bengals. But he said Thursday that he isn’t spending much time these days thinking about fantasy lineups; particularly not anyone else's. Chalk that up to a less-than-stellar start that includes a head-scratching 3.0 yards per carry average.

"At the end of the day, if my numbers aren't great or if they're not astonishing or if it's not helping people's fantasy teams, oh well," Hill said. "We're trying to win football games here. That's all that matters at the end of the day."

Hill was reiterating sentiments he expressed moments after his 12-carry, 21-yard outing in last Sunday's win over Baltimore that kept Cincinnati (3-0) undefeated. At that time, Hill said he saw better individual performances coming soon. He added that he didn't really feel so upset about his comparative lackluster play because his team was still winning, even if he wasn't playing his best.

Said Hill on Thursday: "It's football. You take away one thing and you open up another. It's just a chess match. I've just got to keep grinding, keep pounding and keep doing what I'm doing."

Through three games this year, Hill has 123 yards on 41 carries. Fellow Bengals rusher Giovani Bernard, who has effectively replaced Hill in the past two games, has 235 yards rushing on the exact same number of carries.

A pair of second-half fumbles forced Hill to be benched in the Week 2 win over San Diego, and Bernard's better overall production at Baltimore led to Hill having dramatically fewer opportunities in the third and fourth quarters of that game.

Whereas Hill continued to run hard deep into games last year as a rookie, he appears to be hitting a wall at halftime this season.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Hill averaged 4.5 in the second half of games last season. That wasn't much lower than his 5.8 first-half average. This season, he's averaged 4.1 yards per carry in the first and second quarters and just 1.6 in the third and fourth.

Hill's poor overall production has made his fantasy numbers struggle. After amassing 18 points for his fantasy owners in ESPN's standard scoring system, Hill has contributed just one point in the two games since.

Again, he could care less about that.

"At this point, I'm being a team guy," Hill said. "I want the team to continue to be successful and to continue to win football games."