The Cleveland Browns have a very favorable matchup this weekend against the Denver Broncos when it comes to running the ball. The Broncos enter Sunday’s game with the worst rushing defense, and the Browns should be able to run the ball well in this matchup. But should you start Jerome Ford of Kareem Hunt in your fantasy football lineup for this week? We’ll give you the fantasy outlook for each player.
Should You Start Jerome Ford or Kareem Hunt This Week?
In the Pro Football Network Start/Sit Optimizer, our Consensus Rankings say Ford is the player to start. His projected 9.1 points include 91 rushing yards but no receptions. Yet, his projected stat line outperforms the consensus projection for Hunt (8.2 points).
I am going to go against the Optimizer on this one, as Hunt’s ability to run the ball and catch it out of the backfield is what separates him from Ford.
Fantasy Outlook for Hunt This Week
The No. 1 thing you look for in a running back in fantasy football is being able to put the ball in the end zone. Hunt has scored six touchdowns on the year, with all of them coming in Cleveland’s last six games.
While Denver is still the worst rush defense in the NFL, the team is playing much better on both sides of the ball. You can expect the defense to absolutely load the box and force Dorian Thompson-Robinson to beat them through the air.
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I know when you look at Hunt’s stats, they aren’t going to jump off the page. He currently has 264 yards rushing and is averaging only 3.2 yards per carry. With the team struggling at the quarterback position pretty much all year, it has made it tough to run the ball. This is going to be a low-scoring, physical football game on Sunday.
Look for Hunt to get around 80 total yards of offense in this game and to score his seventh touchdown in his last seven games.
Fantasy Outlook for Ford This Week
Ford has actually been held under 50 rushing yards in three of his last four games, so it may appear as if he has been slumping in the backfield recently/
He did have a really good performance two weeks ago against one of the best defenses in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens. Ford carried the ball 17 times for 107 yards. Over his last six games, Ford has averaged 63 rush yards a game and 4.4 yards per carry.
It was a tough week for Ford against the Pittsburgh Steelers, as he was able to rush for only 31 yards.
Despite the added focus from opposing defenses, the Browns rank third in rushing with 142.7 rushing yards per game. While they are third in total yards, there are many teams that are more explosive on the ground. Cleveland is tied for 14th with Atlanta in terms of yards per carry (4.2).
So, they should be able to run on any defense, especially the Broncos. In the two games since their bye week, Denver has allowed 192 rushing yards to the Buffalo Bills and 175 to the Minnesota Vikings.
Both running backs could have some big games in this matchup, but look for Hunt’s ability to score touchdowns to be the difference.
Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!