Carlos Hyde trade changes values for everyone in both Cleveland and Jacksonville's backfields


The Jacksonville Jaguars have acquired RB Carlos Hyde from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a 2019 fifth-round pick.

The trade has significant fantasy implications in both the short and long term, and raises serious questions related to Leonard Fournette‘s eventual return from a bothersome hamstring.

Following the trade, here’s how you should be approaching each of the running backs affected by the move:

Fournette — If Fournette returns in the next few weeks, this move will leave many scratching their heads. Though Fournette has had some success as a receiver (36 catches last season), he and Hyde are similar in that they’re big backs who do a majority of their damage as rushers. If Fournette, the fourth-overall pick in the 2017 draft, returns to full health, he’ll undoubtedly remain the lead back, but would lose a few carries to Hyde, with T.J. Yeldon helping out occasionally in passing situations. That would allow fringe RB1 numbers for Fournette, especially if the Jaguars — one of the league’s pass-heaviest offenses this season — get back to running the ball more.

Hyde — This trade went down on a Friday afternoon, and it appears that Hyde won’t be available when the Jaguars play Sunday against Houston. Jamaal Charles was signed last week and played 17 snaps in Week 6, so Jacksonville has a complement to Yeldon as they get Hyde ready to roll. After this week, Hyde’s value will depend on Fournette. Once the second-year back returns, Hyde will be reduced to no more than a handcuff who does little as a pass-catcher. That would obviously be crushing for his fantasy value. If Fournette is out long term (which seems likely considering this move), Hyde will be a fringe Top 15 fantasy back with even more value in non-PPR leagues. At the very least, keep Hyde on your bench for now.

Yeldon — Yeldon was cleared from the injury report and remains a RB2 option for Week 7. After that, his value will take a sizable hit from where he was during the first half of the season. Fournette and/or Hyde will handle a generous chunk of the carries, leaving Yeldon with a few scraps and a decent role in passing situations. After this week, it’s best to view Yeldon as a fringe flex option in PPR formats. His fantasy relevance will be a bit more secure if Fournette is placed on injured reserve.

Nick Chubb The biggest winner of the day, Chubb goes from a second-round rookie playing five snaps per game (173 yards on 16 carries and no receptions) to run-first Cleveland’s clear lead rusher. Hyde had been handling 70 percent of the team’s designed rushes and four percent of the targets, which allowed him the position’s 10th-highest opportunity-adjusted fantasy points (OFP). Chubb is a good bet to step right into that role, which places him in the RB2 mix (upgrade in non-PPR). Chubb is a potential league-winning asset and you should spent a hefty chunk of your FAAB or your waiver wire priority to get him on your roster.

Duke Johnson Jr. — Johnson’s early-season usage had him on pace to hit a lot of career-low marks, but his touches figure to double with Hyde out of the mix. Johnson’s carry share should at least double from the 12 percent he’s seen this season closer to the 25 percent he enjoyed in 2017. A slight boost in snaps should improve his target share from 10 percent to closer to last season’s 17 percent share. Johnson is back in the flex mix in PPR formats and has RB2 upside if his usage increases. If Johnson was cut in your league, scoop him up now.

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