One man arms himself with a calculator, the other with his intuition. They enter the cage for a no holds barred bloodbath to answer the age-old question, “Can Kareem Hunt keep this up?”
Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs
2017 : 3 GP | 401 yds | 9 rec | 137 yds | 6 Total TDs
Alex Schillinger: Kareem Hunt didn’t exactly have the best start to his professional career: he fumbled his very first NFL carry. After that, though, he’s been pretty much flawless with 392 yards (on 46 carries) and four rushing TDs to go with a pair of receiving TDs. The Toledo alum has worked his way onto 100% of the rosters in ESPN leagues and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. But the question remains, is it even possible for the rookie to keep up this pace?
Mike Bergsman: You mean, a pace of 2,138 yards rushing, 731 yards receiving, 32 touchdowns, and 48 receptions? A pace that equates to an average of 32.3 PPG and 516 total fantasy points, shattering every record ever, and probably inserting himself into the Hall of Fame based on one year alone? Absolutely not.
Alex: Okay, maybe three weeks isn’t the best sample size, but kid’s clearly got skill. And he’s scoring points in myriad ways. So, maybe the better question is, can Hunt stay atop the RB fantasy rankings when he’s going up against the likes of Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson1 and Ezekiel Elliott?
Mike: Honestly, I hope he does. He’s been great fun to watch and I think that the offense that Kansas City runs is pretty conducive to fantasy output for RBs. Jamaal Charles, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware have all had their moments of fantasy dominance over the last several years. Andy Reid loves to use his running backs in a lot of ways and all of those KC backs were pretty active in the passing game while still putting up respectable rushing totals game after game. Consider that, in 2016, West and Ware rushed for a combined 1,214 yards and four touchdowns. They also had 635 receiving yards and four touchdown catches on 61 receptions. In some respects, what Hunt’s doing has been done before, maybe not to the level we’re seeing this year, but at least to some degree.
Alex: It might have been done before but not by a single rusher. At least not since 2013 when Jamaal Charles put up 1,287 rushing yards, scored 19 TDs and caught 70 of his 104 targets. It’s pretty unfair to compare Hunt to Charles – someone who has put up nearly 10,000 yards of all purpose offense in his career – especially after only three weeks. But if you’re right about one thing it’s that, in this offense, running backs thrive. The problem is that they also get hurt…a lot. In the last five seasons, Charles, Ware and West have all missed time significant time due to injury.2 Reid might feed his running backs a lot but he doesn’t protect them very well.
Mike: Regardless of injury possibilities – and in the NFL anyone can get hurt on any play – Hunt just cannot and will not keep up this pace. He’s good, maybe even great, but he’s not the best football player of all time. He’s bound to come back to the pack sooner or later. I mean, look at this ridiculous shit:
No one can keep that pace up.
That being said, I still think Hunt will finish the year as the top fantasy football running back due to his usage, his talent and the huge head start he’s built over these three weeks. Where do you think he ends up, milksop?
Alex: The fuck is a milksop, you fustilarian? Anyway, I agree that he can’t keep this up, mainly because he’s got some pretty good defenses he’s going up against over the course of the season with two games each against Oakland and Denver. Honestly, I don’t even think he’ll be able to stay atop the RB leaderboard. With the talent at RB this year and the teams he’s still gotta go up against, it feels like there’s too much stacked up against him to keep up with the standard he’s set these first few weeks. My final prediction: Hunt finishes as a top 10 RB but he falls into the back half of that group.