Kareem Hunt was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round out of the University of Toledo where he put up some significant numbers. Hunt broke out in his freshman year and finished his college career with three straight seasons of 10+ touchdowns. Hunt went into the season as their number two running back but that changed after their starting running back Spencer Ware went down in the pre-season. Hunt was named the starter and never really looked back. Playing in all 16 games, Hunt had 272 rushes for 1,327 yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Hunt added 53 receptions, 455 yards, and three receiving touchdowns.
Things appeared to be moving in the same direction in 2018 with Hunt universally being touted as a top-five running back in the league. However, after 11 games in a video surfaced that showed Hunt engaging in domestic violence against a woman at which point the Kansas City Chiefs cut him from their roster. By that time Hunt had already amassed over 1,000 total yards and 14 touchdowns. After reviewing the video and investigating the incident, the NFL suspended Hunt for the first eight games of 2019 after he signed with the Cleveland Browns in the offseason.
Coming into the mix in week 10, Hunt had an impressive season out of the backfield in tandem with Nick Chubb. Through the Browns’ final eight games, Hunt averaged just about five carries per game and five receptions per game, adding three total touchdowns. From Week 10 through Week 17 Kareem Hunt was RB17 while his backfield mate Nick Chubb was RB15. Hunt is still a breakout candidate as he has shown in seasons past that he can carry a full workload and has been very efficient in every season of his career.
Kareem Hunt will continue to share backfield duties in 2020 with Nick Chubb, who many view as a top-five running back in fantasy. Hunt will remain the pass-catching back and the Browns may have plans to increase that role as there have been some articles noting his involvement with the Browns’ receivers this offseason. Assuming Hunt can continue his impressive hybrid running back style, he should be in line for fantasy points that would put him in the RB2 conversation. Hunt is a clear standalone flex play and would have a massive increase in value if anything were to happen to Nick Chubb. Hunt did not have a game last season with double-digit carries but did make the most of his attempts, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Hunt is a high upside option, especially in PPR formats.
Kareem Hunt is in a great spot for a value increase after the 2020 season when he becomes a free agent. The thought is that Hunt will depart the Browns and venture to a team where he will be the featured running back. I would like to throw some caution to this idea, as Hunt will not have had 250+ carries since 2017. Wherever he winds up may not feel confident he can suddenly shoulder that size of a workload. I would also caution that he could find himself in a poor situation in 2021 with a bad offensive line, we just don’t know. Certainly, some signs point to Hunt returning to prominence again but at age 26, four years removed from a workhorse running back carry total, I would temper expectations just a bit for his first year with his eventual new team.
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