2018 Fantasy Football Impact: Kareem Hunt
By: Troy Breisch @TroyBreisch
Last Friday, the Kansas City Chiefs made the decision to release star running back Kareem Hunt. This decision came after a video was released by TMZ showing Hunt get into a verbal altercation with a woman that turned physical, with Hunt pushing her to the ground and then kicking her. The incident occurred last February at a hotel in Cleveland.
According to the Chiefs organization, both the NFL and the front office were aware of the incident before the video was released. The NFL worked with law enforcement to initiate their own investigation into the issue. The Chiefs’ decision was an easy one according to them, after Hunt was not fully truthful in telling the organization what happened during the altercation.
Hunt later cleared waivers on Monday after no teams showed any interest in claiming the young running back. If Hunt does land on a team, he will not be able to participate in team meetings, practices, or games until he is taken off the commissioner’s exempt list, which Hunt was placed on immediately following his release from Kansas City.
Before his release, Hunt ranked 8th in PPR scoring at the position, with 230.2 points over the course of 11 games.
More information was released about Hunt on Monday that pins him in two other incidents, including a fight at a Kansas City nightclub last January. Per TMZ, the man who was beaten by Hunt and other men, including former NFL running back George Atkinson, suffered a broken rib, broken nose, and multiple contusions. The man did not press charges. The other incident, which occurred at a restaurant in June, was seen as a verbal altercation that was dismissed. The NFL did not investigate the issue.
Hunt, 23, ended the season with 824 rushing yards on 181 carries with seven touchdowns. He also added 378 receiving yards on 26 receptions with seven touchdowns. Spencer Ware will take over the reins as the Chiefs lead running back.
With Hunt not on a current NFL roster anymore, here are some players that could help fill the void left in your fantasy roster in time for the playoffs:
Spencer Ware (KC): With Hunt out of the picture, Ware now figures to lead the team in the backfield. Ware has previous experience in this role, mainly in 2016. That year with the Chiefs, Ware rushed for 921 and three touchdowns on 214 carries and added 447 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 33 receptions.
Rashaad Penny (SEA): Even with Chris Carson as the main starter, Penny has overtaken Mike Davis as the backup, 21% of offensive snaps to 17%, and is beginning to eat into Carson’s workload slightly. Penny rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown on seven carries this past weekend against the 49ers.
Justin Jackson (LAC): With Melvin Gordon tending to an injury, Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler are filling in his place. With Ekeler listed as the backup, it was actually Jackson who paced the backfield in their second contest without Gordon. Jackson had 82 total yards on nine touches and added a score. Ekeler only had 43 total yards on 18 touches against Pittsburgh this past Sunday. Jackson only saw 22% of the team’s offensive snaps, but that number is surely to rise as long as Gordon is inactive.
Jaylen Samuels (PIT): With James Connor out this week against the Raiders, and possibly for another week or two, it looks as if Samuels will have full control of the backfield. Samuels was able to find the endzone on a 10-yard reception last weekend against the Chargers. Samuels is a unique talent for the Steelers, as he actually was listed as a TE during his NFL Combine workout but is now set to head the Pittsburgh ball carrying duties.
Jeff Wilson Jr. (SF): After signing a contract with the 49ers on November 24th, Wilson has now been productive in two straight games. Signed due to a backfield plagued with injuries, Wilson is coming off of a 23 touch performance against the Seahawks that resulted in 134 total yards. Wilson is slated to start in the backfield for San Francisco this weekend against the Broncos with Breida (ankle) out.