Kareem Hunt Fantasy Waiver Wire: Should I Pick Up the Free Agent RB This Week?

In light of Nick Chubb's season-ending injury, could the Browns look to Kareem Hunt? Should fantasy managers pick him up off the waiver wire?

Two Monday Night Football games down. Two soul-crushing season-ending injuries. In Week 1, the football gods claimed Aaron Rodgers’ Achilles. In Week 2, they determined Nick Chubb’s knee must be sacrificed. Unfortunately, fantasy football presses on, and managers must react. Should managers be preemptively adding Kareem Hunt off the waiver wire?

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Should Kareem Hunt Be a Fantasy Waiver Wire Add in Week 3?

It is no surprise to hear many fantasy managers and football fans alike talk about the prospect of the Cleveland Browns bringing back Hunt to replace Chubb. After all, Hunt was there for four years serving as the lightning to Chubb’s thunder.

Although Hunt looked close to finished last season, he’s still only 28 years old. That’s not exactly young for a running back, but it’s possible he just had a bad year and still has some juice left.

We know the Browns are going to sign someone at the running back position. The question is whether the guy they sign is just a warm body to put at the back of the roster as emergency depth or is a legitimate candidate to play meaningful snaps right away. I would classify Hunt as the latter.

As things currently stand, Jerome Ford is set to be the lead back. He played 49% of the snaps against the Steelers, carrying the ball 16 times for 106 yards while adding three catches on four targets for 25 yards and a touchdown.

Ford really should’ve had two touchdowns, but his 69-yard touchdown scamper was overturned on replay, putting him down at the 1-yard line. He was summarily subbed out for Pierre Strong because he was exhausted.

UpdateKareem Hunt is nearing a deal with the Cleveland Browns as of Wednesday morning.

Second Update: Kareem Hunt officially signed a one-year deal with the Browns.

I was skeptical the Browns would sign Hunt, but it makes sense given his familiarity with the system. However, make no mistake about it, Ford is still going to be the lead back. The question for fantasy managers is whether Hunt purely operates as a breather back, or has a defined role as the passing down back. The latter would negatively impact Ford’s fantasy value. Either way, if you grabbed Ford off waivers, you have a startable RB2 for the remainder of the season.

There is no doubt for me that Ford will start this week, regardless of what the Browns do at running back. With that said, if they do sign Hunt, is only a matter of time before he becomes their RB2, possibly playing enough to be fantasy-relevant.

The speculation surrounding Hunt is completely understandable. If fantasy managers have the roster spot available, by all means, grab Hunt and stash him.

Here’s the thing, though. The Browns could have chosen to re-sign Hunt this offseason. They drafted Ford last year and gave him all of eight carries on the season. Clearly, they saw what they had with Ford in practice.

The Browns chose to keep Ford as their RB2 behind Chubb and let Hunt walk. For that reason, I am skeptical they have any interest in bringing Hunt back.

Since the preseason and extending through the first two weeks of the regular season, every running back injury has been met with speculation that the team might sign Hunt or Leonard Fournette.

It is important to remember that all of these teams had all summer to sign Hunt or Fournette and chose not to. I’m not saying it won’t happen eventually, but there have been a lot of signings that weren’t these two guys.

Of course, money plays a factor. Hunt and Fournette are going to demand larger contracts than guys like Tony Jones or Zonovan Knight. But that matters, too.

MORE: Week 3 Buy Low, Sell High Candidates 

Obviously, the Chubb injury is why Hunt’s name is coming up. There are also 31 other teams that could potentially sign Hunt. I do believe one of them will at some point.

With all that said, roster spots are valuable in fantasy football. Injuries are piling up. Bye weeks are looming. It is very difficult to stash guys that have a 0% chance of breaking out due to not being employed by an NFL team.

Given how fresh the news is on Chubb, if you want to put in a waiver claim for Hunt tonight, stash him, and see what transpires over the next few days, go for it. But if Hunt doesn’t sign by the end of the week, I would drop him for someone who could actually break out this weekend. Overall, I would not be prioritizing Hunt on the Week 3 waiver wire.

Jason Katz is a fantasy football analyst for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Jason’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @jasonkatz13.

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