Kareem Hunt is a Brown...What does that mean?

Author: Jair Oglivie

Twitter: @JairOglivieFFA

First of all, welcome back to FFA! We have an offseason of great content for you all ahead of us and we can’t wait to get started. To get us started, we had a bomb dropped on us in the form of former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt. This article will not delve into the moral aspect of the Kareem Hunt situation as we are first and foremost a fantasy football website so the focus here is the fantasy impact of this breaking news.

On Monday the Cleveland Browns signed Kareem Hunt to a one year deal. Even after the year is up, Hunt will become a restricted free agent still under Cleveland control, per Adam Schefter. The immediate question here is how much does this affect Nick Chubb’s fantasy value for 2019?

My answer = not much.

Hear me out.

Kareem Hunt is facing an indefinite suspension from the NFL for his domestic violence incident. At this point we do not know how long that suspension will be, however it is believed to be a 6 game minimum situation, at the very least, and could very easily be longer. Let’s say Hunt is suspended for 8 games, something I believe to be a safe bet. Chubb is your featured back for those 8 games at the very least, in a Kitchens offense that he thrived in last season post-Carlos Hyde trade. Here are Chubb’s numbers as the go to back in Cleveland after Hyde was traded (10 games):

Getty Images

Getty Images

  • 176 carries for 858 yards (4.8 y/a)

  • 6 rushing touchdowns

  • 20 receptions for 149 yards (7.4 average y/r)

  • 2 receiving touchdowns

Those are RB1 numbers through 10 games. Chubb was winning people their weeks as someone most people got for free from waivers. When and if Hunt comes back from suspension, he’s not going to cut into that right away. For one, he will need time to readjust to game pace. Since he’s on the commissioner’s exempt list he can’t practice with the team so he’s going to be worked in slowly. He would come back in, get a few carries, and maybe be a factor in the fantasy playoffs. These are BIG maybes. The most likely situation we could see here is Hunt being a valuable handcuff to Chubb late in the season when and if he does return from suspension.

This also needs to be said: There is a chance that Kareem Hunt does not step on the field for the Browns in 2019. The seriousness of his situation cannot be understated, he very well could be suspended for the entire season. Until we know for sure how long his suspension is I would say Hunt has little to no value being on anyone’s rosters. I know that isn’t a concern for redraft leagues, but for keeper and dynasty leagues be wary. Don’t try to swing a trade for Kareem Hunt in a dynasty league because you think he’ll explode next to Baker next year. It just isn’t likely he’ll play enough to be relevant or even play at all.

Additionally, look at Duke Johnson. John Dorsey said in an interview that the Kareem Hunt signing does not make Duke Johnson expendable…yet. To me that sounds like a non answer because a trade may be in the works. Last season Duke Johnson was a ghost in Cleveland’s offense: 200 yards rushing and 429 yards receiving on 47 catches. Those poor numbers aren’t even completely reliable as a 9 catch outlier game against Kansas City inflates what was 2.5 reception per game average if you exclude it. Freddie Kitchens has yet to show a gameplan that can feature two runningbacks. Under Kitchens, Chubb was the second best running back in the NFL in terms of percentage of team rushing yards (77%) behind only Ezekiel Elliot, per Matthew Berry of ESPN. Additionally, Chubb was only on the field for 58% of the offensive snaps for the Browns but received 80% of the carries for Kitchens and the Browns. Summed up simply, when Chubb is on the field he is getting the football. When he isn’t, the Browns are likely passing.

So, Duke Johnson appears to be on his way out. Kareem Hunt is on his way in, but as stated above, it’s not guaranteed he’ll even play in 2019. So here’s my advice. If you have Nick Chubb in a keeper/dynasty league, hold on to him and stay confident. If you own Kareem Hunt in a keeper/dynasty league, don’t be afraid to hop on an offer to ship him out if someone offers you something decent. For others with neither, maybe you can snatch Chubb from an owner who is skiddish about his value now that Kareem Hunt is in the picture.

Thanks for reading!

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*Article Thumbnail by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Jair Oglivie