Are Chiefs Still AFC Favorites Without Kareem Hunt?

Rainman M.

Saturday, December 1, 2018 6:30 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 6:30 PM UTC

The Chiefs just released starting running back Kareem Hunt after a video surfaced of Hunt assaulting a woman. How will this move affect the Chiefs going forward?

The Chiefs no longer get the benefit of Kareem Hunt. Through 11 games, Hunt had ran for 824 yards on 4.6 YPC and seven touchdowns. He was also a solid receiver with 26 receptions for 378 yards (14.5 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns. Although the Chiefs’ run play frequency is down a couple percent from last year thanks to the rise of superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Hunt provided the Chiefs’ offense with an effective and versatile option out of the backfield that gave the opposing defense something else to account for.

Kansas City drafted Hunt in 2017 to replace Spencer Ware. who will now retake Hunt’s place as Kansas City’s starting running back. In Ware’s last season as KC’s starter, in 2016, he averaged .3 fewer YPC than Hunt had this season and was not nearly the same touchdown machine, although the Chiefs were not nearly the juggernaut on offense as they are now with Mahomes. Ware, though, was, like Hunt, an effective receiver. Ware currently averages 5.6 YPC. This looks great. But Ware has been able to rush for a stronger average because he was the backup and was therefore always fresher. He only has 22 carries this season and more than a third of those came in one game. He won’t be as effective in his much larger role.

Ware does not bring the same level of physical talent as Hunt. For starters, Ware is much less elusive. Whereas Hunt ranked sixth nationally in evaded tackles per game, Ware ranks 60th. Ware is similarly less able to produce a breakaway run. Basically stated, Ware and Hunt are about as speedy, but Hunt is much more agile. PFF ranks Hunt 39 spots higher in agility rate because Ware is not as able to change speeds, shift direction, and maintain his balance while doing these things. Ware is purely a north-south runner. He’s tough, but also relatively simple for defenses to deal with.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "\n\n"}[/]

Odds

The Chiefs opened as 13-point favorites in Oakland. They became favored by as many as 15.5 points. 15.5 is still available at some sports books while others have KC at -14. The change in this week’s odds is small less because of Ware and more because Oakland has a terrible, bottom-ranked run defense. In terms of futures, oddsmakers remain optimistic that the Chiefs may be the AFC’s best chance to win the Super Bowl. BetOnline and Bovada, for example, has the Chiefs and Patriots at the same odds, BetOnline at +600 and Bovada with +550. Both books then have Pittsburgh well behind.

Kareem Hunt is a tough loss, for sure. But let’s talk doomsday in Kansas City if Mahomes goes down.

comment here