With so many injuries at the quarterback position for the Cleveland Browns, the need for a solid run game is imperative more than ever. The good news for the Browns is that they have just that type of run game.
So who should be started among the Browns’ running backs — Kareem Hunt or Jerome Ford? We’ll give you the fantasy football outlook for each player.
Should You Start Kareem Hunt or Jerome Ford This Week?
Editor’s note: Hunt returned to practice in a limited fashion for the Browns on Thursday.
In the Pro Football Network Start/Sit Optimizer, our Consensus Rankings say that Hunt is the player to start. His projected 9.5 points include 29 rushing yards and three receptions for 18 receiving yards. That projected stat line outperforms, but just barely, Ford’s consensus projection of 9.0 points.
However, my rankings suggest that Ford is the better option among the Browns’ running backs to start this week. He’s been on the field for several more snaps than Hunt recently, and the latter’s groin issue may leave him less than 100% for Week 13 if he’s able to play.
Fantasy Outlook for Ford This Week
Ford has really been on a seesaw of production over the last month. Over his last four games, he’s had 44 rushing yards vs. Arizona (2.2 yards per carry), 107 yards vs. Baltimore (6.3), 31 yards vs. Pittsburgh (2.6), and 65 yards last week vs. Denver (7.2).
Ford remains the team’s primary RB, having been on the field for at least 60% of Cleveland’s offensive snaps in three of their last four games. Considering Hunt’s injury issues as well, there’s no reason to expect that to change this week.
Considering how many issues Cleveland has at the QB position — Joe Flacco is now on the roster and could start for the Browns before the season’s done — it’s fortunate to be dominant in the running game.
The Browns are also facing a Los Angeles Rams defense that ranks 28th in average rush EPA allowed at -0.01, so there’s a lot to like about Ford’s chances to have back-to-back solid rushing games.
The PFN Start/Sit Optimizer projects Ford to finish with 90 rushing yards but without a reception.
Fantasy Outlook for Hunt This Week
A groin injury limited Hunt to just seven carries last week. In addition, he did not practice on Wednesday. Even though he returned to practice on Thursday, he did so as a limited participant. If Hunt is available for Sunday, it’s unlikely he’ll be 100%.
Hunt can still score touchdowns — six rushing TDs this season — but he hasn’t been on the field for 50% of the Browns’ offensive snaps in any game this season. When he is on the field, Hunt is only averaging 3.2 yards per carry for the season.
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 and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!