Monday night brought one of the hardest things we have to see as football fans: serious injuries. When Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb was carted off the field with a season-ending knee injury that was too grotesque to show on television, it left a void in the team’s offense.
With Chubb out, Jerome Ford took the bulk of the carries for the rest of the game. But will that be the same going forward or will the return of Kareem Hunt be the top option for the Browns now? Alright fantasy football managers, et’s figure out what is going on in the Cleveland backfield.
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Kareem Hunt Fantasy Outlook This Week
Just days after Chubb’s season-ending injury, the Browns hit free agency to bring back an old face in Hunt. After not finding a new home in the offseason, Hunt was one of the more obvious options for the Browns to turn to in their situation.
The reason why Hunt was still a free agent is what worries me — he wasn’t exactly a great running back in 2022 for the Browns. Totaling just 678 yards on 158 total touches last year, Hunt looked like a shell of the running back he once was in the NFL.
But Hunt does bring a veteran presence to Cleveland’s backfield that is certainly needed. Jerome Ford is only in his second year in the NFL and putting the entire running game in a second-year player’s hands isn’t always the best move.
While Hunt could get involved in the offense once again in Cleveland, he is just getting back to NFL speed this week. Hunt hasn’t practiced with an NFL team since last season. I don’t anticipate he is going to be a large part of the Browns’ game plan in Week 3.
Jerome Ford Fantasy Outlook This Week
While the Chubb injury was devastating, Ford was able to relieve some of the pain for Cleveland fans. After Chubb exited, Ford carried the ball 16 times on Monday night for 106 yards. He added another 25 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Ford’s totals were good enough for RB6 on the week in 0.5 PPR formats. The total could have been even higher if his elbow hadn’t hit down inches before the goal line on a 69-yard rush in the third quarter. RB Pierre Strong was able to snipe the touchdown a few plays later while Ford caught his breath on the sideline.
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The breakout game gives fantasy managers everywhere hope that Ford may be a viable option for their team for the rest of 2023. Having a performance like he did on Monday night, there is certainly excitement to be had. But does the signing of Hunt dampen these expectations?
Which of the Cleveland Browns RBs Should You Start?
If you happen to be rostering both Browns running backs, there is no doubt that you should be starting Ford in Week 3. After a 131-yard performance with a touchdown, Ford is someone you have to have in your lineup this week.
While the prospect of Hunt is something to keep an eye on, he is just getting back to NFL form. I doubt the Browns would want to stick him in for a bunch of carries this weekend — even if they didn’t have another back who played well in Week 2, which they certainly did.
All of this is shaping up to be a very clear pick. Ford was exceptional in Week 2. The Browns need offensive firepower and have to keep giving it to the hot hand. Until Ford slows down and Hunt fully gears up for NFL action, Ford is the guy in Cleveland.