Cleveland Browns fans and fantasy football owners alike rejoiced on Friday when the news of Carlos Hyde’s trade came to light. The Browns’ decision to move Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars opens the door for electrifying rookie Nick Chubb, who’s flashed major upside in limited action this season.
Chubb will almost certainly get the nod as the starter while giving up much of the passing-down work to Duke Johnson. Even still, the former Georgia running back has shown the potential to score from virtually anywhere on the field and has fantasy owners excited ahead of Week 7. On the surface, the decision on whether to start or sit Chubb seems simple enough, but there can often be more than meets the eye.
Let’s take the deep dive into the start-sit debate for Cleveland’s young running back who draws a matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Key Stats and Nick Chubb’s Fantasy Outlook
I’ll break down the matchup, recent production and a few other key stats that jump off the page for Chubb in Week 7. All information on fantasy points and statistics for defense vs. position are from ESPN.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. running backs in 2018: 96 attempts, 333 yards, 31 receptions, 333 receiving yards, eight total touchdowns (No. 7 most fantasy points per game)
- Carlos Hyde played 35 percent of the snaps in Week 5 and 43 percent in Week 6, per Football Outsiders. Most of those snaps are expected to go to Chubb.
- Chubb has rushed just 16 times this season but averages 10.8 yards per carry, mostly thanks to a three-rush, 105-yard game against the Raiders
This situation is actually pretty interesting, as the Buccaneers haven’t been destroyed by opposing running backs on the ground. Fortunately for Chubb and fantasy owners, they have given up five touchdowns which makes his chances of finding the end zone fairly solid. Tampa Bay also hasn’t been tested as much as many teams, as the 96 attempts are fifth-fewest in the NFL.
Should You Start or Sit Nick Chubb?
Chubb hasn’t caught a single pass this year, so you’ll likely be relying on him in the exact role Hyde held prior to the trade. Fortunately, that amount of work should be more than enough to make him a solid RB2 or flex play in 12-team leagues or larger. While Chubb has shown flashes of upside, he’s yet to see more than three carries in a game.
The main thing that makes him such an attractive play is Hyde’s workload which is now completely up or grabs. The team’s former starter received at least 14 carries in every game, while totaling 22 or more in three of six games. If Chubb is given 16-18 carries, he should easily flirt with 100 yards and find the end zone once against the Buccaneers.
He’s a fine play in all formats for 12-team leagues or above, and I’d even be fine dipping down to 10-team leagues if you need a flex play or bye-week filler.