Jerome Ford came into the 2023 NFL season with barely any carries under his belt, but he’s now going to be forced into a much larger role after a catastrophic injury to Nick Chubb on Monday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
What can we expect from the second-year RB in Chubb’s absence, and is he someone that fantasy football managers should pick up off of the waiver wire?
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Should Jerome Ford Be a Fantasy Waiver Wire Add in Week 3?
Due to the gruesome injury that Chubb sustained in Week 2 against the Steelers, Ford is absolutely someone that fantasy managers need to prioritize on the waiver wire. As the clear RB2 in this offense prior to Chubb’s injury, Ford should easily see 15+ touches per week moving forward.
3-yard TD to Jerome Ford puts the @Browns ahead
— NFL (@NFL) September 19, 2023
The question will be how much fantasy managers should spend of their FAAB or waiver wire priority to acquire him. It’s completely unrealistic to expect that Ford will replace Chubb’s production identically…Chubb’s one of the best pure RBs in the NFL.
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However, Ford does have the talent to be a key contributor for fantasy lineups moving forward in one of the league’s most run-heavy offenses. We should see Pierre Strong Jr. become involved as a rotational back, but this will be Ford’s backfield for the time being.
If he sees 15+ touches each week, he has the ability to be a top-20 option for fantasy lineups. He has the top-end speed to be a home-run threat any time he’s given the ball behind this stellar offensive line. Plus, he’s a smooth and natural receiver out of the backfield.
If we knew that Ford was going to be the only option, he’d be a 40-50% FAAB bid going into Week 3. However, there are still plenty of available free agent RBs on the market that easily could find their way into this offense with the expectation that Chubb will not play again in 2023.
It would not be surprising at all to see Kareem Hunt brought back into the fold and be the rotational option alongside Ford for the remainder of the year. Leonard Fournette also could come in as a free agent signing to be the pass-catching complement to Ford’s work on the ground.
Ford will be the top priority RB pickup for the week. He should be viewed as a top-24 option next week against the Titans. However, we need to just be prepared for the potential that Cleveland signs another one of the RBs sitting out there waiting for an opportunity like this one.
Update: Kareem Hunt is nearing a deal with the Cleveland Browns as of Wednesday morning.
If that’s the case, Ford moves to a fantasy asset in a committee approach for an offense that we still have major questions about. I’m willing to spend 20-25% of my FAAB for the upside, but it all depends on how desperately I need a RB.
Above all else, though, we wish Chubb a speedy and quick recovery from an injury that looked brutal. These players are human too, and we need to remember that as we discuss the fallout of these injuries. We can’t wait to see you on the field again soon, Nick.
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