Fans hate the preseason, except for week three when the teams have their “dress rehearsal” game and play their starters for a solid chunk of the game. While fans love seeing the starters play, week three makes fantasy owners cringe. With the starters playing in a meaningless game, they are put at risk for injury with no real return. This year, week three was painful for several fantasy owners as Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware and Cameron Meredith all got hurt and are out for the season. Obviously those players have no fantasy value this season and now their teammates’ values has changed.
With Chiefs RB Spencer Ware now expected to miss season, rookie RB Kareem Hunt moves into primary role.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 27, 2017
If you have any Kareem Hunt shares, you’re jumping for joy following the injury to Spencer Ware. In Friday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, Ware suffered a torn PCL and is expected to miss the entire season. It was later reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that Ware also suffered damage to his LCL. The Chiefs are hopeful that Ware can return later in the season, but that seems like a longshot. Now, all eyes are on 3rd round pick Kareem Hunt to take over the starting gig. Let’s take a look at how Ware’s injury affects the rest of the offense from a fantasy perspective.
Many believed Hunt would eventually take over the starting spot and the fantasy owners who grabbed Hunt in the middle/late rounds are very happy now. Hunt is now a clear cut mid RB2; he is now ranked as RB15 for me. During the preseason Hunt has looked solid, averaging 4.4 yards per carry but also has four catches in three games for 32 yards. Now as the feature back on a run first team, Hunt becomes the fifth rookie runner that will be drafted in the top 40 picks.
RELATED: Kareem Hunt Scouting Report
A week ago, West was potentially on the roster bubble or available for trade, now he has some value for fantasy owners. West went from not being on my draft board to RB55, but his value is very little unless you own Hunt. While I wouldn’t draft West to handcuff with Hunt in normal 12 team leagues, in deeper leagues I would. For 12 team leagues, if I owned Hunt, West would be on my watch list and the second news broke that Hunt was even slightly dinged up, I would’ve added West. Last season, West didn’t have much of an impact as the backup behind Ware, but if Hunt gets injured, West becomes the top wavier wire addition.
Last season Hill was a second half fantasy stud, in part thanks to his rushing ability. Hill had 24 carries for 267 yards and three touchdowns last season. Many believed, including me, he wouldn’t see as many touches in the running game this year, but now with the Ware injury I’ve changed my mind. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Chiefs have a jet sweep play or two designed every game for Hill. With the Ware injury, Hill will see a few rushes and a few more targets per game now. His value gets a slight bump and he is now WR16 for me.
Many fantasy players believe Kelce is the TE2 behind Rob Gronkowski and that remains the same now with the Ware injury. However, with the injury, the team may lean more towards Kelce in the redzone this season verse giving the ball to the rookie. Kelce’s value remains the same among tight ends and overall, but maybe now he sees a few more redzone targets.
RELATED: Who is TE2 behind Rob Gronkowski?
For the Chiefs, this injury really hurts unless Hunt is capable of being a three down back from the start of the season. However, given that the Chiefs have shown an ability to have success with several runners over the past few seasons, the team should be fine. For fantasy owners who already drafted, hopefully you also grabbed Hunt and protected yourself. If not, look for a replaceable runner off the waiver wire or a player with high upside, should he get a chance to start. If you can’t find a suitable choice from those options, grab West and hope Hunt struggles or gets hurt.