2021 Fantasy Football Undervalued - RB Kareem Hunt
2021 Fantasy Football Undervalued- RB Kareem Hunt
Before you start reading, I want to remind everyone that this an article explaining why a player is undervalued in comparison to either their Average Draft Position (ADP) or Expert Consensus Ranking (ECR). By no means am I encouraging you to draft Kareem Hunt as your team’s RB1.
However, with that being said, Kareem Hunt definitely meets the criteria as a player who is undervalued against his current ECR. Ranked as the RB23, Hunt will be a player who exceeds expectations and provides a solid return on investment for those who draft him in points per reception (PPR) redraft leagues.
Since being drafted 86th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017, Hunt has produced 3 seasons with at least 1,100+ all-purpose yards and 11 TDs.
Last year was Hunt’s first full season playing with the Browns after serving an 8 game suspension to start the 2019 season. As the team’s third-down pass catching back, he has been productive and has proven to be an integral part of the Browns’ offense. In 2020, he rushed for 841 yards and had 6 rushing TDs. He also turned 51 targets into 38 receptions for 304 yards and 5 receiving TDs. Overall, Hunt was the RB7 through the first 8 weeks of the season, and finished as the league’s RB10 (PPR formats). He played in all 16 games and produced a Top 24 RB performance in 9 of those 16 games.
Although Hunt’s success is promising, we cannot ignore the fact that Nick Chubb is still the lead-back in Cleveland. Chubb is considered one of the game’s best RBs, and he caps Hunt’s ceiling from a fantasy perspective. Despite missing 4 games due to injury, Chubb still finished as the overall RB9 and was one of the best statistical RBs in the league.
Moving into the 2021 season, I fully expect Head Coach Kevin Stefanski to utilize a run-heavy offense with a RB1-A, RB1-B backfield. According to FantasyPros, the Browns have the 3rd easiest strength of schedule for opponents defending against the run. Favorable run match-ups added to a two-headed monster in the backfield, should equal a weekly ground and pound game plan for the Brownies (insert Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack conversation). In 2020, 48% of the Browns plays from scrimmage were rushing attempts, and I expect that percentage to increase this year (especially with the expansion of the regular season to 17 games). Plus, the Browns’ defense was overhauled in the offseason which should allow Baker Mayfield to resort to the run and be more of a game manager instead of a points chaser.
Focusing specifically on Hunt, I do expect a slight regression in his total TDs. But, playing behind one of the league’s top ranked offensive lines, I still project enough productive touches for him to be drafted as a flex play with RB2 upside (could finish Top 15). If you compare similar ADPs and ECRs, the RBs in that range are Melvin Gordon II, Chase Edmonds, and James Robinson. Based off of opportunity and upside (especially if there is an injury), I am taking Kareem Hunt every time.