Few players outside of the first three rounds offer the potential championship-winning upside that Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt provides. Hunt’s mid-fifth-round ADP presents one of the best values an owner can find on draft day. Between head coaching changes, scoring upside, and standalone value, there are several factors as to why you need to target Hunt in fantasy football drafts in 2020.
You need to be excited about what Kevin Stefanski brings to Cleveland
When we look back on the 2019 stats, we need to use some context as this is not the same team. The team moved on from Freddie Kitchens and his attempt to build a spread offense centered around Baker Mayfield. In his place, run-focused Kevin Stefanki steps in as the new head coach. I believe this is a great sign for all players involved, primarily Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
By looking back on the 2019 Minnesota Vikings under Stefanski as offensive coordinator, we can start to find some clues on how Cleveland will operate in 2020. Last year, running backs for the Vikings averaged 30 touches per game and as a team was fourth in the NFL in rushing attempts on the season. So long as they were not playing catchup, the offense focused on establishing the running game as Stefanski’s 2019 Vikings offense ran the ball 55.46 percent of the time while tied or leading.
Kareem Hunt has standalone fantasy value in 2020
Chubb is going to be the primary back, that much is undeniable. After coming up only 47 yards short of the rushing title, it would be foolish to pivot away completely. However, the notion that Hunt only has value if Chubb misses time is false.
We can easily see Hunt average 12 rushes per game in this offense. On a per 16 pace, that’s 192 rushing attempts for a running back who would be a weekly top five play if he was the lead in a backfield. Nearly 200 rushes for a player who has a 4.7 yards per carry average for his career makes Hunt a fantastic fantasy target in the fifth to sixth rounds of 2020.
We haven’t even brought up that Hunt is one of the most talented pass-catching running backs in the NFL either. In 2019, he was on pace for 74 receptions. That’s the same as James White had last year. Production like this is not an aberration as Hunt had 98 targets in his one and half seasons playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. The passing attempts certainly won’t go to Chubb, seeing as in the ten games in which Hunt didn’t play, he only saw 27 targets. There have been several reports that the Browns could choose to slide him out into the slot, making a lot of sense when looking at the depth chart.
Beyond Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, the Browns don’t have a proven WR3. While they did draft an uber-athletic sleeper in Donovan Peoples-Jones, it is hard to put faith in a rookie wide receiver without having a “normal” offseason. Moving Hunt out to get both him and Chubb on the field simultaneously makes a lot of sense and raises Hunt’s floor for those who play in 0.5 or full-point PPR leagues.
Hunt has proven he is an elite option you can draft at a value
When looking at potential options around Hunt’s ADP, he feels like one of the best selections you can make in 2020. Players such as Devin Singletary, Stefon Diggs, or Josh Allen are going right around this area, but they don’t have the upside that Hunt does for various reasons.
The late fifth and into the sixth round is where running backs start to become sparse. Right now on MyFantasyLeague’s ADP, guys like J.K. Dobbins, Ronald Jones, James White, Jordan Howard, and Tarik Cohen would be the next available options. Not a single one of those players offer a league winning upside. There is a vast difference between depth and RB1 potential.
When all of your 2020 fantasy drafts are over, make sure you have at least one share of Kareem Hunt. You will be grateful that you did.
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Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.