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Carlos Hyde is a Jaguar, Nick Chubb's time to shine has arrived and it's officially freak-out time on Leonard Fournette. That's the immediate takeaway from the Browns' decision to send Hyde to the Jaguars Friday.
Hyde was traded to the Jaguars in exchange for a mid-round pick. It's since been confirmed that it's a fifth-round choice in 2019 headed back to Cleveland.
Hyde was a workhorse in Cleveland, averaging 19.0 carries per game with minimal impact on the passing game. But his rushing average left a lot to be desired, falling to 3.4 yards per tote. Hyde only had one game with the Browns with a plus-4.0 rush average (versus the Jets on a Thursday) and really only solidified his Fantasy totals with touchdowns -- five in his first four games.
Jacksonville's running backs had averaged 18.5 carries per contest but amassed just one touchdown combined. If there was ever a physical, two-down power rusher to seamlessly fit into Jacksonville's run-first, run-tough offense, Hyde is it.
Which fuels the following speculation: If the Jaguars are spending a fifth-round pick for Hyde, what does that mean for Leonard Fournette's future?
The answer isn't what you think. Teams usually don't trade fifth-round picks to add an insurance policy, but two separate reports from Jaguars beat reporters believe that's exactly why Hyde landed in Duval County. Hyde can fill in for Fournette whenever he's hurt and can also work in tandem when Fournette is fine. The days of Fournette being a ball hog are over -- Jacksonville is no longer beholden to Fournette and has options at his position.
This also tells you everything you need to know about what they think about Yeldon. Clearly they're not comfortable with him in anything more than a passing-downs role. He's had 10 carries or less in four of his last five games and will probably see that total decline even more as Hyde gets used to his new surroundings. Week 7 is feasibly Yeldon's last hurrah.
Hyde isn't expected to play in Week 7 but would be a No. 2 Fantasy rusher for however long Fournette sits out. That might be just one game as 1010-AM in Jacksonville believes Fournette will be back after the Jaguars' Week 9 bye. However, given how gimpy he's been following an injury and a setback with his hamstring, there's no guarantee that will happen.
Whenever Fournette comes back, Hyde's value hits a wall. Frankly, all the Jaguars running backs are Fantasy headaches.
It's Chubb rock time
Back in Cleveland, Hyde's departure is a clear sign that the team is ready to move forward with Chubb, the rookie. This should be a very good thing for the Browns and for Fantasy Football managers.
Chubb has plenty of power but also has speed the Browns could never dream of from Hyde. We saw it from him nearly every week when he was with Georgia in college, we saw it this preseason when he amassed at least 12 yards on five separate carries (one out of every nine runs) and we saw it during the regular season when he popped off at least 17 yards on four different carries — one out of every four rushes. That includes a 63-yard touchdown jaunt against the Raiders.
He'll begin his ascension as the early-downs back for Cleveland starting this week against the Buccaneers. Duke Johnson should lock into the third-down role, a gig he's had for much of this year but didn't have much to show for — his first game with 10-plus Fantasy points came last week.
Chubb is an instant top-20 running back and Johnson is a better flex choice in PPR than non-PPR. In time, Chubb should emerge as a borderline No. 1 back based on his workload and breakaway run potential. Do whatever it takes to get him off waivers and be aggressive in trading for him.