High-Variance Players: RB Carlos Hyde - Footballguys

The Footballguys staff discusses the high side and low side of Carlos Hyde

When August rolls around, the fantasy football community usually reaches a consensus on most players. Carlos Hyde isn't one of those players. While he's averaging somewhere around RB33, he has been ranked between 19 and 44 at his position. What are your thoughts on him? Is he underrated or overrated? Or neither?

Daniel Simpkins: I think 19th is in overrated territory. His ranking of 33rd at his position is reasonable, but I would rather just avoid him altogether or snag him really late if he falls. He’s in what looks to be a three-way committee where he is the one who is expendable as of next year. It makes sense that Chubb’s role will only grow as the year progresses and that Hyde will get eased out.

Jason Wood: He's 32nd currently in my rankings, so suffice to say I'm squarely in the middle of the pack. I appreciate Hyde was signed to a relatively big contract by the analytically-driven Browns front office, and I don't see how he doesn't get the first crack at the starting role. Unfortunately, the Browns subsequently drafted Nick Chubb and re-signed Duke Johnson Jr to a multi-year extension. I'm not expecting a Herculean leap in the Browns offensive output this year, so a three-back committee isn't fertile ground.

Matt Waldman: Todd Haley has often fielded good ground attacks focused on one runner. Tyrod Taylor spear-headed an option attack in Buffalo that was among the best ground games in the league from 2015-16 until the new Bills coaching staff dismantled it in 2017.

Taylor's legs and more disciplined decision-making than previous Cleveland passers will help the Browns ground game. However, whom it helps rather than the team as a whole is a tough question with no easy answers beyond Duke Johnson Jr as a PPR volume option.

If I'm not going for the Upside Down Strategy, I'm avoiding the underrated talents of Hyde and targeting Chubb later in drafts based on potential stretch-run value.

Will Grant: Hyde feels like a guy who is keeping the seat warm for now, and even if he makes it to the season as the primary back in Cleveland, he'll eventually lose the job to Chubb before the end of the year. At RB33, I'd much rather reach a little for a guy like Kerryon Johnson than to spend that pick on a guy who won't make it beyond the bye week with respect to fantasy relevance. I definitely say overrated and might even pass on him at RB40 if there are guys still available with bigger upside.

Chad Parsons: Carlos Hyde is on my avoid list in the RB3 zone of team-building. While he may lead the Browns in backfield touches in the opening weeks, the shift to Nick Chubb by midseason at the latest feels imminent. I prefer to take shots on players with more later-season upside than early-season appeal as everyone is healthy to start the year, there are no bye issues, and the later-season fantasy matchups are more impactful.

Dan Hindery: RB33 is a reasonable ranking for Hyde. However, Hyde is not a player I am targeting at all. His upside is capped by the presence of Duke Johnson Jr, who is one of the best pass-catching backs in the league. Plus, he will have to fend off talented rookie Nick Chubb. It is hard to get excited about a committee back in what is likely to be a mediocre offense.

Andy Hicks: I'm on the upside argument here. Carlos Hyde parlayed his best season in the NFL into a healthy free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns. Muddying the waters was the Browns drafting Nick Chubb in the second round of this year's draft. Until there are clear signs that Chubb will play immediately, it appears as if the Browns are going to let the veterans play first in both Tyrod Taylor and Carlos Hyde. Hyde is a vast improvement over what the Browns have had at running back over the last few years and will benefit from the building program Cleveland has developed over the last few years. If Hyde hits the ground hard, he will be difficult to dislodge from the starting role and is well undervalued despite the obvious concerns.

Phil Alexander: Nearly 40 percent of Hyde's value in PPR leagues was generated from career-highs of 59 receptions and 350 receiving yards last season. Duke Johnson Jr's presence on the roster all but guarantees Hyde's receiving numbers will regress to his (dismal) career norms. As a two-down grinder on what profiles as a league-average offense (at best), taking Hyde as the 19th running back qualified as a questionable strategy -- before Nick Chubb fell to Cleveland in the draft.

With Chubb -- who could realistically have the best career of any running back in this year's draft -- in tow, Hyde is in a pinch for playing time. How can he be projected for more than 12 rush attempts per game, with a zilch in the receiving categories? I'm not a huge fan of Chubb's year-one prospects either, but at least he's being drafted two rounds later than Hyde. It should also be noted 2017 -- a contract year -- was the first season Hyde didn't miss significant time due to injury.