A few months ago I wrote an article on the Browns backfield and I was pretty harsh on Nick Chubb. I had my reasons though, as at that time Nick Chubb was going in the mid-late first round, a value I didn't like. However I gave both sides to his outlook and stated that I wouldn't blame anybody for taking him in the first round. Recently we have seen a big drop in ADP as the community is becoming much more aware of Kareem Hunt's presence in that backfield. When I wrote the article a few months back Chubb was going at the 1.11 as the RB8. His ADP has fallen to the 2.05 and the RB12 a much more reasonable value for Chubb. I have seen him fall as far as the 2.09 in one of my followers leagues. I don't care what you think of him this year, that's amazing value. I have had a complete change of heart over the past few weeks about Nick Chubb. Let's get into why!
The Polarizing Presence of Kareem Hunt
Kareem Hunt is one of my most targeted players in fantasy football drafts. He is going to have a significant role in this offense and he is the main reason that Nick Chubb has fallen in ADP. I have concerns about Chubb due to Hunt being there, and that's why I only have him as my RB10. Chubb easily has the talent to be a top 3 fantasy football running back, however his ceiling is capped with Hunt in Cleveland. We cannot ignore the drop in production that Chubb experienced once Hunt came back into the lineup.
As you can see Chubb experienced quite the drop off in his numbers once Hunt entered the lineup. This was something I referenced all offseason when I would profess my hate for Chubb's fantasy value. However, there is more than what meets the eye and there are certain numbers that everyone, myself included, have left out. Kareem Hunt will cap Chubb's ceiling, but they can both be valuable fantasy assets this year and that is something we need to accept. I would still rather have Hunt at his ADP but Chubb is now somebody that I will be targeting at his new ADP.
There are certain stats and situations that everybody seems to ignore when evaluating Nick Chubb. I fell victim the playing the "Kareem Hunt" card for quite awhile until I dug deeper into Chubb's situation, and in fact he is in a pretty good one. There's always two sides to a story.
I'll start off with the offseason moves that the Browns have made which have improved Chubb's situation. The hiring of Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski is huge for Chubb's 2020 outlook. Stefanski was the mind behind the Vikings elite rushing attack in 2019, one that ranked 4th in team rush attempts per game and had Dalvin Cook rushing for 81 yards/gm. Stefanski loves to run the ball, while also doing it efficiently. Combine this with the additions of Jack Conklin (top 5 rated run blocking lineman) and rookie Jedrick Wills another outstanding run blocker and you have the recipe for success.
Not only does Stefanski love to run the ball but he also incorporates his RB's into the passing game. Last year Dalvin Cook ranked 10th in receptions and 6th in receiving yards among RB's. Adding on to this, in 2019 Vikings RB's had the most receiving yards in the NFL off of screen plays. There have also been multiple reports of the Browns wanting to use Hunt as their primary slot receiver. This would boost both Hunt and Chubb's fantasy value as they would both see more work in the passing game. I'm not expecting Chubb to catch 40-50 passes, but I believe he will haul in around 25-30 passes and take a few screens for big gains. We saw Derrick Henry finish as a top five Rb while catching 17 passes. While I don't see Chubb finishing top 5, he is still going to be a very solid fantasy RB.
Last year, Chubb was the most inefficient goal line running back in the NFL. Here are the numbers to back it up:
On those 15 carries he had the worst TD conversion rate of the 14 RB with 10+ goal line carries (7.5%) and he was the only one of those RB to have negative yards.
With Stefanski coming in and revamping this offense I would expect Chubb to see some dramatic positive regression on the goal line. Chubb could easily find the endzone 12-15 times this year.
With the hiring of Stefanski and the investments in the offensive line, it's clear that the Browns are looking to shift to a more run heavy scheme and they have the perfect RB for that. Let me show you how elite and honestly underrated Chubb is on the ground. To start off PPF rated him the best ball carrier in the NFL in 2019, a pretty impressive accolade. Adding onto this, in 2019 Chubb ranked:
2nd in evaded tackles (96)
2nd in yards created (576)
4th in yards per carry (5) (among qualified RB''s)
2nd in rushing yards
1st in 15+ yard carries (17)
23rd ranked offensive line
Nick Chubb may have had the most unrecognized 1772 total yard season I can remember. He did this with a terrible coach, an offense that just was not meshing together at all, and a bottom half offensive line. Unbelievable.
With Chubb's recent drop in ADP I am beginning to fall in love with his 2020 outlook. Everything seems to be falling into place outside of Kareem Hunt being there. With Chubb now going at the 2.06 as the RB12 in PPR formats he is becoming a real draft day value. I currently have him ranked as my RB10, but i think I will be moving him up ahead of Joe Mixon and Kenyan Drake to my RB8. I still wouldn't take him in the first but that isn't a problem anymore as he is going mid second round! When you project his 8 games with Kareem Hunt out to a full season here are the numbers you get:
1626 total yards
22 goal line carries
It's up to you to decide how efficient he will be on the goal line. Regardless these are some great numbers and I only expect them to improve with the improved situation he finds himself in.
Nick Chubb was a guy I wanted no part of 3 months ago. Now he is a guy that I will 100% be targeting in the second round of my fantasy football drafts. He won't be giving you that top 3 or even top 5 potential but I see him as a consistent volume play on a week to week basis. I would be fine pairing him with Davante Adams or Michael Thomas as my RB1, but I would be even happier pairing him with a Dalvin Cook or Miles Sanders as my RB2! It would not shock me at all if Nick Chubb were to outproduce Derrick Henry's 2019 numbers and finish in the top 5. Don't be scared of Nick Chubb anymore!
1575 rush yards
330 receiving yards
284.5 fantasy points