Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West aren’t special players. They are adequate, but not special. That is step one in the mystery of whether a rookie RB can come in and become fantasy relevant: will they have the opportunity, and the answer to that is yes.
The next question is how much opportunity? Let’s look at draft stock. Hunt was drafted in the 3rd down, and the Chiefs moved up to get him. They gave up their 3rd round pick, 4th round pick, and 7th round pick to move up 18 spots to grab him.
Next, let’s look at his skillset. He’s big, but elusive with good vision. He can catch the ball, and reports today out of OTAs were that Hunt was getting all of the catches out of the backfield. Is that surprising, considering that Charcandrick West didn’t look so good last year? Nope. These reports don’t mean that he will be their passing down back. These reports mean we need to pay attention to training camp and preseason to see how he’s used and how much he’s used. I would assume, however, that they are going to give him a good shot at that role, since they know what they have in Charcandrick West.
What about Spencer Ware? Ware’s role was interesting last year. He got 214 carries and was about 80 yards short of 1000 yards (4.3 yards per carry). He also got 33 catches on 42 targets for 447 yards. That type of usage in the passing game as the primary back is actually pretty decent. The first thing that this tells me is that the ceiling for this type of opportunity is desirable for an elusive running back like Hunt, IF he were to get the reigns to the backfield.
I don’t think Ware will get completely phased out on early downs for the beginning of the season. He was competent enough last year, but keep an eye out on Hunt to see if he starts outplaying Ware on early downs. If that happens, we could see a change in snap percentage as the season goes on.
What I do know even if he doesn’t get full control, is that Andy Reid knows how to use his playmakers, and likes his primary running backs to see a bunch of targets out of the backfield. See Brian Westbrook, Lesean McCoy, Jamaal Charles (jumped from 35 to 70 receptions the year Reid came in), and Tyreek Hill last year on limited opportunity. This tells me that a guy like Kareem Hunt will get his. He’s currently being taken at the end of the 11th round, and he’s not a bad option if you want to take a flier on someone who could have some real opportunity in the first game of the season.