The Patriots are probably still trying to scrub off the tire marks Kareem Hunt left on them in the opener last week. Three touchdowns, set the record for most yards from scrimmage in an NFL debut — Hunt looked like Barry Sanders out there.
Except for the first play, when he looked like Bernie Sanders.
Hunt was tabbed very quickly by Chiefs head coach Andy Reid to be the starter after Spencer Ware tore up his knee in August. What would Reid’s reaction be when Hunt — a rookie starting a monster game on the road in front of a national TV audience — fumbled on his very first NFL carry?
“I told him, ‘You’re getting the football the next play,’” Reid said. “Get right back on the horse.”
He got back on the horse, all right. Looked like Ron Turcotte riding Secretariat. Now let’s see what the kid can do for an encore Sunday against the Eagles (1 p.m., Fox29). The Birds defense held Redskins running backs to just 34 rushing yards, though it did allow Chris Thompson to slice through for a 29-yard touchdown reception.
The Chiefs traded up to get Hunt, sending third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks to Minnesota in order to move up 18 spots to take Hunt with the 86th overall pick.
By the way, the Vikings turned around and dealt that fourth-round pick to the Eagles as the Birds moved up to take Donnel Pumphrey at No. 132. Pumphrey was inactive in Week 1. Hunt was not.
Hunt grew up in Willoughby, Ohio, and is the all-time leading rusher at the University of Toledo. His grandfather was such a huge basketball fan, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that he named Hunt’s father Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Hunt. Hunt has the same name, but goes by “Kareem A.J. Hunt.”
Hunt (5-11, 208) ran for nearly 1,500 yards last season at Toledo and really boosted his stock with 118 yards at the Senior Bowl. It was such a deep draft class at his position that Hunt was the 10th running back selected.
I was in two fantasy drafts this summer. One before Ware’s injury, one after.
In the first draft, Hunt went 109th overall. He was picked only as a handcuff, just before Green Bay’s Jamaal Williams. In the second draft, Hunt was selected 30th overall, an average of about eight rounds higher without ever having played a game. And if we all had a draft today, Hunt would be a late first-rounder.
“This is a tough offense for a running back” to grasp,” Reid said. “I haven’t had a lot of guys do that, but this kid, he’s been able to pick it up and be efficient with it. But he’s still got to build a resume like all young guys do. He hasn’t done it very much, so we’ll see when it’s all said and done.”
Alshon Jeffery’s modest Eagles debut wasn’t disappointing to everyone. Three readers won fantasy football T-shirts with predictions that came closest to the 38 yards Jeffery posted on Sunday against the Redskins.
Tom Harper (33 yards), of Northeast Philadelphia, came closest. He was followed by Dennis Cleary (29 yards), of Warminster, and Rocco Cione (50 yards), of Plymouth Meeting. To celebrate Week 1, we gave away shirts to the three closest guesses.
Appreciate all who participated. Congratulations to the victors.
Spinning with D.J.
David Johnson’s broken wrist was the worst running back news to hit fantasy fans since Jim Brown suddenly retired after running for 1,500 yards (in 14 games!) in 1965. There were a few replacement options for Johnson, though the running back carcass has pretty much been picked clean by now.
Sounds as if Arizona is going to use a committee to replace Johnson, but Kerwynn Williams is still worth a pickup and a play as an RB3 this week. He’ll get a Colts defense that held the Rams to 63 rushing yards (and two touchdowns) last week despite getting drilled, 46-9.
Williams, a 2013 seventh-round pick from Utah State, has just four games in which he carried the ball more than 10 times. The most recent was in the 2016 finale, when Johnson went out early with a knee injury. Williams had 12-60-1. With six catches in 23 career games, he’s not much of a receiver. That’s where the committee will come in.
Chicago’s Tarik Cohen was the most popular free agent this week in ESPN leagues. Another option is Seattle’s Chris Carson. Even though Thomas Rawls is back this week, the Seahawks go through running backs like a maternity ward uses diapers, and Carson looked decent in limited time (6-39-0) on Sunday at Green Bay.
Quarterbacks: By Sunday, it will have been 22 days between games for Jameis Winston and the Bucs (and Jay Cutler and the Dolphins). When he played in the 2015 Rose Bowl, Winston had to wait 26 days between games … In five games immediately following a 300-yard outing, Alex Smith averages 181.4 yards per and has just five total touchdown passes and five interceptions. His passer rating is 67.9 and his teams went 2-3. That says hold off on making him a QB1 just yet.
Running backs: Spotlighted Danny Woodhead as a PPR sleeper last week. He had three catches on the first drive, then injured his hamstring and will be out for at least a month. Buck Allen, who had 45 catches two years ago, is the most likely Ravens PPR replacement for Woodhead. Early-down back Terrance West does nothing for me as an RB2 … Six running backs had at least 20 carries last week, led by rookie Leonard Fournette’s 26 … Le’Veon Bell had just 10 carries and three receptions, though Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said the light load had nothing to do with rustiness from Bell’s preseason holdout. The Steelers were flagged 13 times against the Browns and the offense was constantly behind the chains, the coach said. Regardless, Bell owners still should have handcuffs on rookie James Conner.
Wide receivers: Odell Beckham Jr. practiced in a limited capacity on Thursday (hallelujah) and may play Monday. Having an extra day will be clutch as the Giants host Detroit on Monday night … Nelson Agholor was the sixth most popular pickup in ESPN fantasy leagues this week and the second among wide receivers behind Detroit’s Kenny Golladay. The Lions running game continues to be a mystery, so Golladay is an attractive sleeper as an occasional WR3
Ed Barkowitz, who lost David Johnson and is now praying that Ezekiel Elliott stays eligible all season, has been writing about fantasy football since 2001.
WEEK 2 RANKINGS
- Tom Brady, NE, at NO
- Aaron Rodgers, GB, at Atl.
- Matt Ryan, Atl., vs. GB
- Drew Brees, NO, vs. NE
- Derek Carr, Oak., vs. NYJ
- Carson Palmer, Ari, at Ind.
- Sam Bradford, Min., at Pit.
- Cam Newton, Car., vs. Buf.
- Jameis Winston, TB, vs. Chi.
- Matthew Stafford, Det., at NYG
- Ben Roethlisberger, Pit., vs. Min.
- Russell Wilson, Sea., vs. SF
Running backs, Opp.
- Ezekiel Elliott, Dal., at Den.
- LeSean McCoy, Buf., at Car.
- Le’Veon Bell, Pit., vs. Min.
- Melvin Gordon, LAC, vs. Mia.
- Kareem Hunt, KC, vs. Eagles
- Jay Ajayi, Mia., at LAC
- Leonard Fournette, Jac., vs. Ten.
- Devonta Freeman, Atl., vs. GB
- Dalvin Cook, Min., at Pit.
- Todd Gurley, LAR, vs. Was.
- DeMarco Murray, Ten., at Jac.
- Jordan Howard, Chi., at TB
- Marshawn Lynch, Oak., vs. NYJ
- Ty Montgomery, GB, at Atl.
- C.J. Anderson, Den., vs. Dal.
- Mike Gillislee, NE, at NO
- Lamar Miller, Hou., at Cin.
- Christian McCaffrey, Car., vs. Buf.
- Isaiah Crowell, Cle., at Bal.
- Thomas Rawls, Sea., vs. SF
- Jonathan Stewart, Car., vs. Buf.
- Carlos Hyde, SF, at Sea.
- Jacquizz Rodgers, TB, vs. Chi.
- Terrance West, Bal. vs. Cle.
- Mark Ingram, NO, vs. NE
Wide receivers, Opp.
- Antonio Brown, Pit., vs. Min.
- Julio Jones, Atl., vs. GB
- A.J. Green, Cin., vs. Hou.
- Jordy Nelson, GB, at Atl.
- Mike Evans, TB, vs. Chi.
- Michael Thomas, NO, vs. NE
- Odell Beckham, NYG, vs. Det.
- Doug Baldwin, Sea., vs. SF
- Amari Cooper, Oak., vs. NYJ
- Stefon Diggs, Min., at Pit.
- Brandin Cooks, NE, at NO
- Larry Fitzgerald, Ari., at Ind.
- DeVante Parker, Mia., at LAC
- Demaryius Thomas, Den., vs. Dal.
- Tyreek Hill, KC, vs. Eagles
- Alshon Jeffery, Eagles, at KC
- DeAndre Hopkins, Hou., at Cin.
- Keenan Allen, LAC, vs. Mia.
- Adam Thielen, Min., at Pit.
- Dez Bryant, Dal., at Den.
- Davante Adams, GB, at Atl.
- Michael Crabtree, Oak., vs. NYJ
- Terrelle Pryor, Was., at LAR
- Golden Tate, Det., at NYG
- DeSean Jackson, TB, vs. Chi.
Tight ends, Opp.
- Rob Gronkowski, NE, at NO
- Travis Kelce, KC, vs. Eagles
- Zach Ertz, Eagles, at KC
- Jimmy Graham, Sea., vs. SF
- Greg Olsen, Car., vs. Buf.
- Jordan Reed, Was., at LAR
- Coby Fleener, NO, vs. NE
- Kyle Rudolph, Min., at Pit.
- Tyler Eifert, Cin., vs. Hou.
- Delanie Walker, Ten., at Jac.
- Martellus Bennett, GB, at Atl.
- Charles Clay, Buf., at Car.
MOST POPULAR PICKUPS
This week/ESPN-run leagues
(As of Thursday afternoon)
- Tarik Cohen, RB, Bears
- Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs
- Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions
- Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons
- Ravens defense/special teams