Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt is set to miss multiple weeks with a calf injury, per multiple reports, leaving fantasy players scrambling to find a replacement option during the dreaded bye weeks of the NFL schedule.
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Browns?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Browns</a> coach Kevin Stefanski describes RB Kareem Hunt’s calf injury as significant and confirms he’ll miss weeks. He says LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is out weeks, too, with what I’m told is a high-ankle sprain. Those are generally 4-6 weeks.
That leaves players like Seattle's Alex Collins, Washington's J.D. McKissic, Cleveland's Demetric Felton and New England's Rhamondre Stevenson as waiver-wire targets this week.
We'll start with Collins, who already should have been rostered this week with Chris Carson out of action. He responded by rushing 20 times for 101 yards and a score, his second week in the past three hitting double-digit fantasy points.
And with Carson placed on injured reserve and missing at least three games, Collins will be the team's starter for the next two weeks, at least, before Seattle's Week 9 bye.
Chances are, savvy fantasy players have already scooped him up. But if he's available, he is 100 percent your top priority this week if you need help at the running back position. You more than likely need the help with the bye weeks upon us.
Just keep an eye on his injury situation:
McKissic is another intriguing option, if only because his role isn't injury-reliant. He's already posted three double-digit scoring weeks this year, serving as the receiving back for the Washington Football Team.
Antonio Gibson is the primary between-the-tackles option, but McKissic offers enough value in the passing game as a checkdown option for Taylor Heinicke to make him worthy of a roster spot if your running back depth is hurting.
Then there is Felton, who should be in line to see his role increase with Hunt injured. The question is whether it will be enough of an increase to merit him fantasy consideration.
A few things to keep in mind. One, Nick Chubb might be able to give it a go in Week 7.
For another, even if Chubb misses Thursday's game, Felton could still find himself in a timeshare with D'Ernest Johnson. On Sunday, Johnson had one carry for two yards, while Felton had two catches for 14 yards. It's possible Felton could settle into a receiving back role, while Johnson might handle the between-the-tackles work.
Felton is more likely to have a role than Johnson if Chubb returns, however, making him the priority on waivers. But temper your expectations.
Matthew Berry @MatthewBerryTMR
Brutal. Hoping for a speedy return. <br><br>In meantime we’ll wait to see if Nick Chubb will make it back for gm on Thurs night. But if not my expectation would be that it would be D’Ernest Johnson & Demetric Felton, in that order, carrying the load for CLE. Felton a pass catching RB. <a href="https://t.co/wCWfsvGBBh">https://t.co/wCWfsvGBBh</a>
Camryn Justice @camijustice
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Browns?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Browns</a> Joel Bitonio said they have a lot of faith in D'Ernest Johnson, Demetric Felton and John Kelly in the run game. <br><br>"Obviously want Chubb back but we have faith in those guys as well."
Finally, Stevenson appeared to settle into a complementary role in New England's backfield on Sunday behind Damien Harris, rushing five times for 23 yards and a score while catching three passes for 39 yards.
While the New England backfield is a consistent source of confusion and angst for fantasy owners, it seems as though Stevenson has moved ahead of Brandon Bolden on the depth chart.