Its been an eventful day in the NFL today.
First, the firing of Mike McCoy in Arizona. Now, we just got wind that Carlos Hyde is being shipped out to Jacksonville. With Leonard Fournette missing four of six games this season with a hamstring injury, this isn’t exactly shocking. However, it does have major fantasy implications for both the Browns and the Jaguars.
Fantasy Breakdown: Carlos Hyde Trade
The Browns have been lugging around three capable running backs all season. So it makes sense for them to dump one off for some draft capital. With the departure of Hyde, it looks like Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson will hold down the rushing attack. This is great news for fantasy owners as Hyde leaves behind a fairly large workload. But which Browns back benefits the most from this trade?
Nick Chubb has yet to see more than three rush attempts in a single game this season. However, he has shown the ability to make big plays and be effective in the run game (see week 4 against OAK). On 16 touches he has 173 and 2 rushing TDs. Those are pretty good numbers. Chubb also has yet to see more than 11 offensive snaps this season. Making those numbers even more impressive. With the lack of playing time, we have yet to see what he can do with a full workload. Regardless, I still believe he jumps right into the mix for lead back duties. Hyde leaves behind a large workload in Cleveland so an increase in work for Chubb in inevitable. Go pick this kid up off your waiver wire if you haven’t already. He can be a difference maker for your fantasy team.
Johnson has been somewhat of an afterthought to the fantasy community but he has been the RB2 for the Browns this season in terms of usage. With Carlos Hyde leaving a massive workload behind, I believe Johnson will see his share of work for the Browns. Above I said that Chubb could be the lead back and I meant that. Where I believe Johnson sees the biggest uptick is in the passing game. Johnson has been a reliable pass catcher for the Browns since being drafted. On the season he has 14 receptions for 164 yards through the air. He also has 19 carries for 111 yards on the ground. Johnson could be vital to Mayfield in short yardage dump off situations in coming games.
If the Browns can play this correctly, they should have an effective Running Back By Committee (RBBC) in both Chubb and Johnson. I expect Chubb and Johnson to split even for the first few weeks following the trade. However, Chubbs ability to flash on the ground will get him more playing time. Duke Johnson is most appealing in PPR formats going forward.
The Jaguars have struggled to get their stud RB, Leonard Fournette, healthy enough to see the field this season. Fournette has missed four of six games in 2018 and he’s already been ruled out for week seven. In his absence, TJ Yeldon has filled in nicely and given fantasy owners some good returns. Yeldon clearly isn’t enough for the Jaguars though because they just traded for a decent in Carlos Hyde. So, what exactly does this mean for the Jacksonville rushing attack?
Hyde is coming to Jacksonville at a great time. He’s playing some decent football and the Jags love to run the rock. in six games in Cleveland, Hyde has racked up 382 yards on 114 carries. He has yet to top 100 yards in a single game this season but has five total touchdowns on the year. Hyde has seen most of his work come on the ground but has been mediocre in the receiving game.
Hyde has finished in the top 24 of fantasy backs all but 2 weeks this season. Jacksonville ranks in the middle of the pack in rushing yards per game but Hyde should be a good boost in Fournettes absence. Because of the sudden nature of the trade, don’t expect Hyde to walk into a full workload right away. He will split time with Yeldon in the coming weeks. Hyde is still a good RB2/FLEX option in leagues once he gets going in Jacksonville.
Yeldon has upheld his duties as the lead back in Fournettes absence. So far this season he has 299 rushing yards and one rushing TD. He’s been useful in the receiving game racking up 25 receptions for 223 and three receiving TDs. Yeldon is also averaging around six targets per game. Although he has been serviceable, it was clear that Fournette left a huge hole in production and Yeldon is not a true workhorse back. Hyde will eat into his production going forward but I do expect Yeldon to retain a lot of his passing down work. Hyde hasn’t been effective in that area this season. Yeldon has proven he can be valuable there. Yeldon is a “wait and see” fantasy option right now. Hyde won’t be playing in week seven so Yeldon will get the starting role. After that, it’ll be a situation to monitor.
I’ll keep this section short and sweet. No team goes and trades for a running back unless they fear something is severely wrong with their current one. I think this spells disaster for Fournette owners. At least for this season. Intuition causes me to believe that the Jaguars have intentions of placing Fournette on Injured Reserve. For fantasy owners, that means he’s likely done for the season for your team. Don’t be surprised if the news drops soon.