After leading the nation in rushing in 2019, Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard struggled in 2020, and his dynasty value took a massive hit. With two polar opposite seasons to view, which player is the reality when selecting Chuba Hubbard in fantasy football and where should be regarded with the rest of the 2021 class as the NFL Draft approaches?
Chuba Hubbard’s dynasty value for 2021
For a while, we thought this was happening last year. Then, Chuba Hubbard surprised us and returned to Oklahoma State for one more season. Usually, guys go back to improve their draft stock based on what an agent is feeding them on the potential range they could be selected. Sometimes it works, and guys end up skyrocketing and going into the first round. However, you have players like Chuba Hubbard, whose value plummeted.
We know the speed is there — that much is certain. Yet, for a multitude of reasons, it never came to fruition in 2020. Because of this, Chuba Hubbard has dropped in dynasty value from going inside the top three of this class to fighting for RB7 thru RB9. Now that we have a landing spot, Hubbard has fallen behind both Michael Carter and Trey Sermon, and now that he is with the Carolina Panthers, we know his touches are severally capped behind Christian McCaffrey. There are very few players who get the workload that McCaffrey sees, which will make it difficult for Hubbard to see any serious volume of snaps. With McCaffrey locked up on a multi-year contract, Hubbard’s dynasty value is severely limited despite this being an explosive offense.
The RB’s up and down career at Oklahoma State
Chuba Hubbard was a former three-star recruit out of Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada. In his final two years of high school football, he rushed for 5,308 yards and 63 touchdowns at Bev Facey Community High School. The football field was not the only place Hubbard found success.
He was arguably a better track star which is saying something. In 2015, he competed in the IAAF World Youth Championships in California, where he to posted a blazing personal-best time of 10.55 in the 100-meter sprint.
After redshirting his first year at Oklahoma State in 2017, Hubbard played in 13 games in 2018 and had 740 rushing yards on 124 carries with 7 touchdowns.
He took over as OSU’s primary running back when Justice Hill was injured during their game against Oklahoma. In his four games as a featured back (at No. 6 Oklahoma, vs. No. 7 West Virginia, at TCU, and vs. No. 23 Missouri in the Liberty Bowl), Hubbard averaged 106.3 rushing yards per contest and 5.4 yards per carry. In those four games, he had three 100-yard games and 5 touchdowns.
Even with minimal work, we saw a glimpse of what he could do if given a full workload. In 2019, Chuba Hubbard took his game and dynasty value to a different level.
Hubbard led the nation in rushing in 2019
Simply put, 2019 was Chuba Hubbard’s year, and we were all just living in it. As a redshirt sophomore, Hubbard played in 13 games where he rushed 328 times for 2,094 yards and scored 21 touchdowns. He also added 232 receptions for 198 yards.
Hubbard was unanimous All-American, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, and one of three national finalists for the Doak Walker Award.
He averaged 161.1 yards per game and rushed for more than 100 yards in each of his last 11 games. Hubbard used his track background to his advantage, leading the FBS with 15 rushes of 30 yards or longer, 7 of those rushes went for over 50 yards. Hubbard rushed for over 100 yards in every contest except in their Week 2 blowout over McNeese State, where he saw only 8 carries.
Chuba Hubbard could have and likely should have come out after this season. What else was there to prove? It was hard to fathom Chuba Hubbard’s NFL Draft and even dynasty value going up from here. Unfortunately, this was accurate as he regressed in 2020, even if not everything is his fault.
Chuba Hubbard struggled to capture 2019’s spark
Coming into the season on the Heisman Watch List, expectations were high for the Canadian Cowboy. Unfortunately, his season was off to a rocky start before it ever began. First, there was the Mike Gundy shirt incident which led to Chuba Hubbard threatening to boycott the season. While Gundy did issue an apology, it’s hard to say if that relationship was truly mended.
Then, the health crisis halted the whole spring season and forced conferences to alter schedules. By the time the season ended, Hubbard had played in seven games and had less than a third of the totals from the year before. He rushed 133 times for 625 yards and scored 5 touchdowns. Hubbard also caught 8 passes for 52 yards and a score.
In fairness, all of Oklahoma State was a disappointment. Even their own fans might have forgotten that at one point they were ranked sixth in the country. In a season where the Big 12 was up for grabs, the Cowboys couldn’t win when it counted.
What can’t be overlooked is the situation that surrounded Hubbard. Oklahoma State played 13 different offensive line combinations last year thanks to injuries and opt-outs. They had no passing attack, with both Spencer Sanders and Tylan Wallace missing games as well.
The Cowboys were 53rd in the nation in passing yards per game, 45th in rushing yards per game, and 52nd in scoring. To put that in perspective, Oklahoma State hasn’t ranked outside of the top 25 in yards per game since 2014.
Where should you draft Hubbard in dynasty rookie mock drafts?
This part is tricky because we have two completely different players. It comes down to which one is the real Hubbard and how you view his value in dynasty, and when is he ever going to see the field. As of right now, Hubbard is in the early to mid-third-round range in 1QB formats.
Hubbard is a one-cut-and-go-style running back. Once he hits the second level, he is gone. No one will catch Hubbard from behind. He has decent vision and can use his athleticism to make it through the line. However, he is not an elusive back. He is also a total liability in pass pro and should never be asked to do it at the next level. Questions surround his physicality, and that could hurt his stock.
Yet, when valuing the dynasty value of Hubbard for 2021, we have to look at what sets him apart from the guys around him. What makes him unique? It comes down to his speed. Hubbard can score a 70-yard touchdown anytime he touches the ball, and that is the appeal. Outside of Travis Travis Etienne, I don’t believe another running back can make that claim. This would be all well and good if now for being stuck behind the best running back in the NFL.
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