2017 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Has Kareem Hunt become the running back to own for the Chiefs?

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Kareem Hunt got a lot of glowing reviews after his eight-carry, 40-yard performance at Cincinnati. Replacing Spencer Ware after the first offensive play of the game, West stuck around for 17 snaps with the first-team offense to give coach Andy Reid an extended look, and he added 23 yards on three receptions. All in all, not bad for a few drives' worth of work. 

Hunt's box score looked good, but the best parts of his game didn't involve speed. He looked very natural as a receiver out of the backfield and did okay in pass protection, especially on a fourth-and-1 when he KO'd two Bengals pass rushers to keep Alex Smith upright for the conversion. 

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Kareem Hunt KC • RB • 27
2017 preseason stats
ATT9
YDS40
TD
TAR4
REC4
REC YDS32
REC TD
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Spencer Ware KC • RB • 32
2017 preseason stats
ATT5
YDS9
TD1
TAR4
REC3
REC YDS20
REC TD

But did he do enough to scare Spencer Ware's Fantasy owners? The 25-yard run Hunt had was great because he broke a couple of tackles and stiff-armed a defender to pick up a little more yardage, but it ultimately accounted for more than half of his total on the night. While he had three gains for five or more yards, he also had three runs for one yard or less, all in the red zone. 

Hunt reminded us that while he plays at a good game speed, he's not a burner with breakaway skills -- he ran a 4.62 40-yard dash at the combine. Think Matt Forte, who has 15 carries of 40-plus yards over 2,253 attempts. 

Then again, it's not like Ware has wings on his cleats, either. 

Hunt tweaked his ankle on his last carry, though he isn't expected to be out for long. Once he's back, he should begin pushing Ware for playing time, but becoming an every-down rusher, or even stealing goal-line work, could be tough for him. Even in 2015, when Ware was hardly featured, he still saw plenty of work near the goal line, scoring six times on the ground. He's not going anywhere.

We might end up seeing both Chiefs running backs take work away from each other -- and don't be shocked if C.J. Spiller ends up getting a few touches from week to week since he's got more speed in his legs than Ware and Hunt combined. 

The Chiefs rushed for 15 touchdowns last season and 19 in 2015, so it's not a bad place to be. However, with the complicated picture forming here, I wouldn't take a Chiefs running back until at least Round 7 at this point. 

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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