Kareem Hunt Fantasy Outlook & Injury Update 2022 (Much More Than a Handcuff Option in Browns Offense)
Kareem Hunt looked to be one of the biggest steals of the 2021 fantasy football season early on, ranking as the No. 9 running back in PPR-scoring leagues from Weeks 1 through 6. Calf and ankle issues caused him to miss nine of the last 11 games and finish as the No. 49 RB overall, though.
With that being the case, it's no surprise to see Hunt smack dab in the middle of RB3 range in fantasy football rankings this year. His average draft position (ADP) has him going as the 31st running back off the board and as a mid seventh-round selection.
Kareem Hunt Fantasy Football Outlook
Fantasy managers know that reaching for certain handcuff players can come in handy down the stretch. Kareem Hunt is one of those players. If starter Nick Chubb were to miss any time, Hunt immediately rises into the RB1 conversation on a Browns' offense that posted a 46.0% rushing play percentage in 2021 (No. 6 in NFL). Even if Chubb stays healthy, Hunt proved last season that he has weekly FLEX value given his ability to see double-digit carries and leak out as a receiver, too.
In the first six weeks of the 2021 season, Hunt averaged over 17.0 PPR fantasy points per game and scored a total of five touchdowns. Chubb saw 24 red zone touches during that span, but Hunt was right behind him with 20 red zone touches. The former Toledo standout also played in over 40% of the offensive snaps in five of those six games. Head coach Kevin Stefanski clearly likes to have Hunt on the field as a receiving option. In fact, Hunt ranked sixth among NFL RBs with 1.81 yards per route run last year and averaged a reliable 7.9 yards per catch.
Yes, the emergence of D'Ernest Johnson could cut into Hunt's workload this fall and the reports of him being on the trade block doesn't exactly emit positive vibes. However, this is a player that averages 16.2 PPR fantasy points per game in his career. That's the 24th highest mark of all-time. Snagging that kind of value in the seventh round or later is worth the risk.
Kareem Hunt Injury Update
As mentioned above, Hunt missed nine games for the Browns last season. A calf injury suffered in Week 6 caused him to be placed on the injured reserve and miss Cleveland's next five games. He then made his return and played for two weeks before an ankle injury cost him the rest of the year.
The good news is that Hunt has been experiencing no lasting impacts during training camp this offseason. The 26-year-old told reporters at the end of June that he is 100% healthy and that nothing is bothering him. Hunt enters the fall looking to bounce back on the final year of his current contract.
Kareem Hunt Projections
Projections from the NFL odds on FanDuel Sportsbook expect Hunt's versatility to result in a mixed year. He's 41st to lead the NFL in rushing yards (+10000), which shouldn't come as a major shock considering he hasn't crossed the 850-yard mark on the ground since 2017. Hunt's also 39th to lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns (+7500). Keep in mind he scored five rushing touchdowns in eight games last season. Seeing him hit double-digits in 2022 is not unrealistic. When taking Hunt's averages with the Browns into account (13.0 touches per game, 5.2-yard average), a 1,000-yard from scrimmage season is certainly within reach if he stays healthy.
Is Kareem Hunt a Good Fantasy Football Pick?
When it comes down to it, is Hunt someone to target in the middle rounds? For sure, simply because he has proven to have standalone value. He's the No. 28 running back in The Duel's PPR fantasy football rankings, and could sneak into RB2 range by the end of the season.
While Hunt's true upside will always be capped due to Chubb's workhorse role, his ADP suggests that he is being considered a similar player to Melvin Gordon and Chase Edmonds. His ceiling alone makes him the guy to take in that group.
If you've drafted Hunt this year, or you're a Browns fan, make sure to check out the best Cleveland Browns fantasy football team names for your squad.
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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.