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Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson's Fantasy Outlook After Reported Carlos Hyde Trade

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistOctober 19, 2018

Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson rushes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

As the Cleveland Browns navigate their backfield after trading Carlos Hyde on Friday, the eyes of the fantasy world turn to Duke Johnson and Nick Chubb to see what they can do.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Browns dealt Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars

Johnson has primarily been used as another receiver on the field throughout his career. The Browns could make him more of a focal point in the ground game with Hyde out of the picture, though it seems like the bulk of the carries could go elsewhere. 

Drafted in the second round out of Georgia, expectations are high for Chubb in Cleveland. He ran for at least 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns in three of his four college seasons. The only year he missed that mark was in 2015 when he averaged 8.1 yards per carry before a knee injury ended his season in October. 

Here's how Johnson and Chubb stack up in the fantasy world. 

Duke Johnson

After starting seven games during his rookie season in 2015, Johnson has taken on a different role in Cleveland's offense. The 25-year-old has been a change-of-pace runner and key receiver for head coach Hue Jackson. 

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Last year, in particular, saw Johnson essentially playing the role of a wideout. He finished fourth among all running backs in targets (93) and receptions (74), and he had the same number of receiving touchdowns as Kansas City Chiefs star Kareem Hunt (three). 

With the Browns turning things over to Baker Mayfield at quarterback, Johnson's ability to catch passes out of the backfield will remain a huge asset. He hasn't been much of a factor so far in 2018 with just 33 touches and 275 yards through six games. 

Taking Hyde away will open things up for Johnson in fantasy, especially in PPR leagues that will allow him to rack up easy points every week. He is also one of the most elusive backs in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus:

Johnson, who's available in 62 percent of Yahoo leagues, has averaged 11.7 yards per reception and 5.8 yards per carry this season. He's ready to take on the role of an RB2 in fantasy now that there is an opportunity for him to get more touches. 

Nick Chubb

One potential reason Hyde was expendable in Cleveland is because Chubb has shown flashes of brilliance when he's been used. 

The 22-year-old was as electric as any runner in college over the past four seasons with an average of 6.3 yards per carry. He's carried that over to the NFL with 10.8 yards per carry, though the Browns have only given him 16 attempts. 

Hyde was, by far, Cleveland's No. 1 option out of the backfield in preseason. Sports Illustrated's Michael Beller noted the Browns used Hyde on 19 of 32 snaps with their first-team offense on the field in the first two preseason games.  

Chubb, on the other hand, didn't receive a single snap with that unit during those games.  

Fantasy owners should be cautious about how they use Chubb right away. He's currently owned in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues, so adding him now as a stash player is a smart move. 

Johnson still figures to be more valuable right away. Chubb has only received one target in the passing game, so the Browns may not trust him as a receiver at this point. 

Given Chubb's explosive playmaking skills out of the backfield, though, he will be a solid flex option to play when other players are on a bye week.  

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