by Ray Kuhn
Was the Cleveland Browns signing of Kareem Hunt to a second round tender, and subsequent $3.26 million contract, an embarrassment of riches or a prudent roster decision?
There is no doubt that Nick Chubb is the main option in Cleveland’s backfield as the lead ball carrier and that will not change. Last season, despite Hunt’s presence in the second half of the year, Chubb exploded onto the scene. In his rookie campaign he gained 996 yards on 192 carries, but he took things to the next level last season as he carried the ball 298 times for 1,494 yards while scoring 8 TD in each season.
Where Chubb isn’t as large of a factor is the receiving game. Over the course of two seasons he has a combined 56 receptions for 427 yards with just 10 catches coming while Hunt was active.
So what can we expect from Hunt in 2020 and can Cleveland’s backfield support both running backs?
To say that Hunt emerged on the scene in his rookie season (1,327 rushing yards, 455 receiving yards, and 11 total TD) would be an understatement, and he followed that up with a solid performance in 11 games in 2018 prior to his legal troubles. After returning in Week 10 last season we got a pretty good indication of what we can expect moving forward.
With 43 carries for 179 yards and 2 TD he clearly is in a complementary role as runner with Chubb in the fold, but that doesn’t mean he is without PPR value. It also does work in Hunt’s favor that the skills as a ball carrier are there. In eight games ge was targeted 44 times, an average of 5.5 per game, and he turned that into 37 receptions for 285 yards and a TD.
From a roster construction standpoint I wouldn’t look at Hunt as a true handcuff to Chubb, because there is value for both options. Should the bell cow succumb to injury you likely aren’t going to find a better replacement. With that not being the case, Hunt will remain as a FLEX option in PPR leagues.
Early drafts are showing Hunt with an ADP of 77, as the 31st running back off the board, and despite the FLEX value that price is still too high for me. While it is nice to have certainty regarding his role, there is also a limit to his value and upside. Of course when you get to that range of running backs, there are more questions than answers when it comes to role but there is also more upside present.
At the same time though, even just by nature of giving Chubb a breather Hunt should end up with roughly 30 rushing yards per game. If you couple that with even four receptions for another 30 yards, we are looking at 11 PPR points as a floor without accounting for the weeks in which he finds the end zone. So maybe Hunt does deserve his ADP after all as there is value in that floor.
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 prospect rankings: