2017 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Spencer Ware preseason injury could make Kareem Hunt a star

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The Chiefs and Fantasy owners got a scare Friday night in Seattle when Spencer Ware had to be carted off the field with an apparent knee injury. No one wanted to see this happen in the third preseason game.

Ware had his right knee buckle following a short reception in the first quarter, and he was ruled out immediately. He appears to have avoided a major injury, however, as Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Ware just has a knee sprain and his ACL is intact.

He will undergo a MRI Saturday to determine the extent of his knee sprain and if there's further damage, but Ware is not expected to be ruled out for the season. Still, you can expect rookie Kareem Hunt to see a significant boost in Fantasy value depending on how long Ware is out.

Ware was expected to open the season as the starter for the Chiefs, and Fantasy owners were targeting him as a No. 2 running back in Round 4. His Average Draft Position is No. 46 overall as the No. 18 running back off the board. Even if nothing serious happened to Ware with this injury, that ADP is going to decline.

Last year, Ware finished as the No. 16 Fantasy running back in standard leagues with 214 carries for 921 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and three touchdowns, as well as 33 catches for 447 yards and two touchdowns. He got his chance to be the lead running back in Kansas City because Jamaal Charles was dealing with a knee injury, and now Hunt could have that same opportunity.

Hunt was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft from Toledo, and the Chiefs were expected to give him a role behind Ware, with the chance he could push for touches as the season went on. Hunt also got an extended look in the second preseason game against Cincinnati and played well with eight carries for 40 yards and three catches for 23 yards. He finished Friday's game with nine carries for 39 yards against the Seahawks.

If Ware misses several weeks, Hunt should be considered a high-end No. 2 Fantasy running back, and he would be worth drafting in Round 5 in most leagues. He was a star at Toledo with 262 carries for 1,475 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns and 41 catches for 403 yards and one touchdown in 2016.

Anyone who drafted already shouldn't panic and drop Ware just yet, but hopefully we'll find out how long he's out as soon as possible. And if you are drafting this weekend, plan to draft Ware with just a late-round pick at best. I'd speculate on Hunt no later than Round 6 now.

In deeper leagues, Charcandrick West is worth a late-round flier since he would move into the No. 2 role behind Hunt if Ware is out for a while. And we'll see if C.J. Spiller also gets playing time as the year goes on.

It wasn't good to see Ware go down in a preseason game. But his absence could be a big opportunity for Hunt, who could now end up as a quality Fantasy option this year.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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