The Cleveland Browns are in a battle in the tough AFC North despite missing Nick Chubb, thanks to the ability of Jerome Ford to fill the lead role in this backfield. Fantasy football managers have been riding his coattails as well. Ford has a trio of top-10 finishes this season and hasn’t finished worse than RB30 since Chubb’s injury.
The ankle injury Ford suffered last week against the Colts, though, has capped his practice participation all week, though he remains questionable as we approach kickoff. How should fantasy managers approach this situation?
Is Jerome Ford Going To Play Week 8?
The questionable designation tells us that Ford has a chance to play, but the actions of the team seem to hint that he is sitting on the wrong side of questionable prior to pregame warmups.
With #Browns RB Jerome Ford questionable with an ankle injury, the team has elevated RB Jordan Wilkins to the active roster. OT Ty Nsekhe was also elevated.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 28, 2023
The Browns could elect to play it cautiously with their lead back for a few reasons:
- They have their sites on a playoff berth more than Week 8 success.
- Cleveland’s bye week is behind them, thus eliminating the ability to get extended time off without a DNP.
- Seattle owns the third-best per-carry run defense, and running the ball might be a lost cause with/without him.
What Is Ford’s Potential Fantasy Outlook Today?
Should Ford surprise and be active today, it would be difficult to project him in the 16-18 touch role he has been fulfilling this season. Kareem Hunt hasn’t been efficient since rejoining the team, but he has punched in three scores over the past two weeks and figures to eat even more into Ford’s role, regardless of the status of his ankle.
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Should Ford play, the Browns are telling us that they overestimated the severity of this injury and that he isn’t at a massive risk of re-injury. That would leave him as the highest-ranked Browns running back for me in this tough matchup, though the lack of clarity in his exact role would have him as a viable Flex play (RB26) more than an RB2.
If Ford were to sit, Hunt would rank a tier higher than that and slide into the back end of my RB2 rankings. Cleveland’s passing game is broken right now, and a feature back with pass-catching prowess would project for upwards of 20 touches.
In this scenario, here is what my fantasy football RB rankings would look like:
22. D’Onta Foreman, Chicago Bears
23. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns
24. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
25. Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams
26. Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings
Our PFN Consensus Rankings are always available and updated if you are curious as to how we view the situation as a whole!
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