We know the Cleveland Browns are going to try and run the ball, no matter what. No team has more rush attempts this season than the Browns at 390 — tied with the Baltimore Ravens, but should it be Jerome Ford or Kareem Hunt who fantasy football managers start in Week 14? We will let you know.
Should You Start Jerome Ford or Kareem Hunt This Week?
In the Pro Football Network Start/Sit Optimizer, our Consensus Rankings say that Ford is the player to start. His projected 9.1 points include 91 rushing yards but no receptions. That projected stat line outperforms, but just barely, Hunt’s consensus projection of 7.8 points.
My ranking for these two Browns running backs aligns with the consensus. Ford is coming off a disappointing Week 13 performance, but over the last two months, he has not had back-to-back bad games at running back.
Fantasy Outlook for Ford This Week
We should have known after Week 12 when he averaged a season-high 7.2 yards per carry that Ford was due for a dropoff in Week 13, and his trend of good numbers one week and bad numbers the next continued last week, as he rushed for only 19 yards and averaged a disappointing 2.1 yards per carry.
On the positive side, Ford did catch a touchdown pass, giving him a score in two of his last three games.
So, what’s to be expected this week from Ford? The Browns are coming off a Week 14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams where they finished with their second-lowest rushing total of the season, running for only 87 yards.
But even though the Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the best teams at stopping the run — ranked sixth in opponent rush YPG at 93.1 — the Jaguars did allow a season-high 156 rush yards in Monday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, albeit in overtime.
If you believe in trends, it stands to reason that this is the week to start Ford, who has bounced back from every disappointing effort the following week.
Fantasy Outlook for Hunt This Week
Hunt finished with a season-high in yards per carry last week at 4.0, but he only did that on 12 carries — for 48 yards.
The biggest issues surrounding Hunt this week continue to be the same ones all season: he does not get a lot of time on the field and has not been much of a pass catcher. Last week was the ninth time in his 10 games that Hunt was on the field for less than 40% of the Browns offensive snaps.
Hunt does not provide much versatility, with only 10 total receptions for 59 receiving yards on the season. It also doesn’t help his cause that the touchdown-scoring streak he was on — six touchdowns in a five-game span — appears to be over, as he has not scored a touchdown in three straight weeks.
The PFN Start/Sit Optimizer projects Hunt to finish with 24 rushing yards, three receptions, and 15 yards.
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