When scouting the incoming rookie class for intriguing fantasy options, it’s easy to simply look at the first round to find several pro-ready talents. While the likes of Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette are obvious options to flesh out your fantasy roster, there are also a plethora of vastly underrated first year players that could quickly emerge as consistent fantasy contributors. Although the notion of this years running back class being overloaded with talent may sound like a broken record at this point, it’s worth repeating considering the number of worthy choices. Specifically, third round selection Kareem Hunt could be a steal in the later rounds of your fantasy draft considering his versatility as a promising pass-catching running back.
Although Hunt may lack the sheer explosiveness that flashier backs such as Fournette bring to the table, he more than makes up for this deficiency with his uncanny ability to elude defenders(forced 100 missed tackles in college, best in FBS). On top of that, Hunt has an excellent burst of speed and is nearly impossible to catch once he is in the open field. All of this combined with his newly developed abilities to be a reliable receiver out of the back field (9.8 yards per reception his senior year) makes Hunt an intriguing rusher who has an extremely high ceiling.
However, while his electrifying performances on the field are certainly not in question, his potential contributions as a fantasy asset are still somewhat in limbo. This in large part has to do with Hunt being second on the depth chart behind Spencer Ware who, to be fair, has come a long way since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft as a fullback. With that being said, Ware regressed slightly last year as a rusher (5.6 yards per rush in 2015, 4.3 yards per rush in 2016) and his once flawless ball security skills were a serious issue last season (fumbled the ball four times last year, had never fumbled the ball in his previous two years in the NFL). Still, Ware was still fairly reliable and put in a ton of work to develop his pass-catching capabilities.
When all is said and done, Hunt is one of the most exciting albeit hard to project fantasy assets going forward. While his well-developed versatility and elusiveness will certainly give him a great chance to become the first-string running back for the Chiefs at some point, he will have to continue to impress throughout the preseason and in the first couple weeks of the regular season to become a trusted featured back. As of now, Hunt is a late round pick that may not be productive right away but could be a coveted flex player if he continues to display his impossible to ignore abilities in Andy Reid’s running back friendly offense.