Nick Chubb's path to finishing as the RB1 in fantasy football for 2023 is fully paved

Nick Chubb has been as consistent as they come, but the stars are aligned for him to reach another level this year.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In a world where running backs are devalued and disrespected when it comes to getting what they're worth, we have Nick Chubb. The Cleveland Browns' lead back has averaged at least five yards per carry in all five seasons of his career, and he's been a top-10 fantasy running back in each of the last four.

Chubb set career-highs with 302 carries for 1,525 yards last year, and he tied his career high with 12 touchdowns on the ground. While playing just 56 percent of the Browns' offensive snaps.

Of course, the rub for fantasy owners with Chubb is in his passing game usage. He had just 27 catches for 239 yards (on 37 targets) last season, and he has never had 40 receptions or 280 receiving yards in his career.

Chubb has shared work in the Browns' backfield with Kareem Hunt since Hunt arrived and was available to play during the 2019 season. Hunt played 42 percent of the Browns' offensive snaps last season, and he was given 158 touches (35 catches) despite being notably less effective than he'd been before.

The path to Nick Chubb being the RB1 in fantasy football this year is fully paved

The Browns have not notably replaced Hunt, who is still a free agent, and previous No. 3 back D'Ernest Johnson is also gone. New backup Jerome Ford is simply not going to take 158 touches like Hunt did last year.

Ideally, the Browns' offense will be more effective through the air this year with Deshaun Watson no longer rusty like he was late last year. But as noted by Nick Shook of, the Browns were 5-1 last season when Chubb had 20 or more carries and 2-9 when he fell short of 20 totes.

Which isn't to say Chubb should be run into the ground with 20-25 carries every game. But having him touch the ball more is an easy order, and it's never been an issue that he's incapable as a pass catcher. He has averaged at least 8.7 yards per catch in three straight seasons, while averaging 8.3 yards per target in 2020 and 7.0 yards per target in 2021.

On the assumption the Browns' passing offense will be better than 22nd in the league this year, and without Hunt to vulture far too many opportunities, scoring opportunities should be more plentiful for Chubb.

A rare clear-cut and durable workhorse, with no real threats to his workload. A virtual guarantee he sees more passing game work, in an offense that should naturally be more proficient and efficient. Running behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. It adds up to Chubb having an unabated path to finish as the RB1 in fantasy football this year.


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