Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt will be one of the more interesting prospects in fantasy football this year as the 2017 NFL rushing leader serves an eight-game suspension and adjusts to working in a two-man backfield with incumbent starter Nick Chubb.
Hunts’ suspension is violating the league’s personal conduct policy, stemming from a disturbing incident where he was caught on video kicking and shoving a woman in a Cleveland hotel.
The Browns gave Hunt a second chance and he has been thankful that general manager John Dorsey — who drafted him in 2017 with the Chiefs — brought him to Cleveland.
“The only way is my actions, so just going to take it day by day,” Hunt told reporters at OTAs. “I got to earn people’s trust back and my actions are going to show.”
Hunt dealt with a groin injury for the start of training camp, but has shown off glimpses of what made him a special talent in Kansas City during the preseason with the Browns.
Kareem Hunt Fantasy Football Projections: Outlook & Preview
Hunt will have to share the backfield, but it doesn’t sound like he’s too worried about how it will go. He likes what he’s seen out of his backfield running mate.
“Chubb is a beast. He’s a freak. The guy runs hard and I respect his game a bunch. I love the way he runs the football,” Hunt said. “I feel like it will definitely be something special. It already is something special. We are a good tandem.”
However, the field, Hunt’s numbers are gaudy. In his first two seasons, the Toledo product racked up 2,151 rushing yards, 833 receiving yards. He made the Pro Bowl in 2017 and was on pace to again before being let go by the Chiefs. He’s the epitome of an every down back and can be valuable in a PPR league as a better pass-catching back than Chubb.
On paper, the Browns have one of the most explosive offensive units in the league. The passing game is led by QB Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, while Chubb and Hunt will hold it down on the ground. There will be plenty of points scored by the guys in the orange and brown this season.
When to Draft Kareem Hunt in 2019 Fantasy Football
With Hunt’s new, more limited role and missing half the season, where exactly to take him in fantasy drafts is a huge question.
On one hand, if you draft him, you’re taking up a roster spot for half the season that will not see any time on the field. On the other hand, you get a guy that has potential to win you your league down the stretch in the right situation, as Hunt will be coming into the season at the halfway mark with fresh legs and a strong track record on the field.
But Chubb just missed out on 1,000 yards rushing last season, totaling 996 yards in just 11 starts. The Browns also took him in the second round in 2018 and have much more loyalty to him than Hunt, who is on a one-year deal with no guaranteed money.
It doesn’t make a ton of sense to draft Hunt high to have him sit on your bench for half the year and when he returns, he’s still not a lock for a high volume of work. Unless fantasy players are eager for a handcuff to Chubb in the case of a serious injury, Hunt should be picked in the 10th round or later in a 12-team, PPR league.