Kareem Hunt has been a bright spot at running back this year in fantasy football. The position seems to have been even more devastated by injuries than usual. Christian McCaffrey has missed a ton of time, Saquon Barkley was lost for the year, and others like Miles Sanders have also been mostly absent.
In addition, others that have played like Ezekiel Elliott and Josh Jacobs have been mostly underwhelming. While Hunt hasn’t been blowing up stat sheets most weeks, his high floor makes him a player many should target in trades as the deadline approaches. Here is a breakdown of Kareem Hunt’s fantasy value ahead of the trade deadline.
Kareem Hunt Fantasy Value Ahead of Trade Deadline
Outperforming His Draft Spot
Kareem Hunt has undoubtedly been a savior for some fantasy football managers. This year, most of the top-drafted running backs have gone down with injuries. One of those backs was Hunt’s teammate, Nick Chubb, who went down with a knee injury in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys. Prior to that, Chubb was the RB6 in half-PPR leagues.
However, even as the second running back, Hunt was no slouch either, ranking as the RB12 during that same span. With all the extra work during Chubb’s time out, Hunt has been able to ascend to the RB8 spot and is averaging 14.4 points-per-game. For a running back that many got in the middle of their drafts, if not later, the return has been great, so the question is, why would anyone want to trade Hunt?
Return of Nick Chubb
Some might be willing to move Hunt because Chubb was activated from injured reserve and is back at practice this week. Reports are that he looks as good as ever, which might make those with Hunt on their squad a little nervous.
And overall, Hunt hasn’t been jumping off the stat sheet. He has yet to crack 80 yards on the ground or 30 yards receiving. He has seen a relatively safe floor mostly due to his dual-threat ability, but his ceiling games have been when he punches it in for a score.
But Hunt has had a few dud games even with Chubb out of the lineup. In two of the last three games, he hasn’t made it to ten fantasy points. Many fantasy players live by “what can you do for me now?” So, with those two poor fantasy performances in the rearview mirror, and Chubb returning to the 1A role, fantasy owners may be willing to part with Hunt.
Looking Ahead for Hunt
The facts are that even going back to last season, Hunt has shown that he can be a valuable fantasy football player even with Chubb on the field. And the Cleveland Browns are most successful when they can run the ball, which they will need to rely on even more without Odell Beckham Jr. for the rest of the year.
One huge thing to look forward to as the fantasy football season moves into the latter half is the playoffs and championship. Cleveland’s week 14 through 16 opponents are the Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, and then the New York Jets.
The Jets and Giants are bottom tier teams that the Browns will undoubtedly be able to run the ball against. The Ravens will be more of a challenge but Hunt already showed he can put up points against them, totaling 11.4 points in their first matchup week one.
Targeting Hunt in Trades
Hunt will likely be a tough player to trade for. Those who drafted him likely did so for his upside, which has been on display this season. But in trade negotiations, those trying to acquire Hunt will have to try to bank on current fantasy owners believing Hunt’s role will decrease with Chubb back. Those in the market for Hunt would also be smart to bring up the couple of poor fantasy performances by Hunt.
At the same time, don’t count on “winning” this trade. It will really be a case where a top-twelve player may have to be moved to get Hunt. A good trade would be to swap a wide receiver for him. Managers who got value in guys like Terry McLaurin or Will Fuller, and who have two other solid starters at wide receiver, might consider trading one of their receivers to someone who is thin at the position. Otherwise, a two-for-one to help the other team’s depth could also be an option.