Cleveland Browns running back Jerome Ford is expected to miss one to two weeks with an ankle sprain, according to ESPN. Here’s what you need to know:
- Ford limped off the field in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win at Indianapolis and did not return. He logged 74 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries before exiting.
- The 23-year-old leads Cleveland with 344 rushing yards this season and has tallied four total touchdowns.
- The Browns (4-2) visit the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday and host the Arizona Cardinals in Week 9.
What this means for Cleveland’s offense
Ford has been the Browns’ clear No. 1 runner, and he showed off his speed on his 69-yard touchdown run in the first quarter Sunday. Kareem Hunt scored two short rushing touchdowns in that game, but he’s been almost exclusively a short-yardage runner. Hunt almost didn’t play versus the Colts due to a thigh injury, and he’s been listed on the injury report with various ailments every week since he made his debut in Week 3.
Hunt becomes the starter and the player with the most knowledge of the offense and blocking assignments, but he’s not going to be a full-time runner or pass-catcher. Those days are gone, though Hunt still finds and fights for tough yards on the inside. For now, expect Pierre Strong Jr. to go from special teamer and deep backup to a steady role as running back 1-B alongside Hunt. Strong has shown some speed in limited opportunities with the Browns since being acquired in a late August trade.
Even if the Browns expect Ford back in early November, they need to explore outside options ahead of next week’s trade deadline. Expect Deon Jackson back via the practice squad if he clears waivers Tuesday, and the Browns could add another back to the practice squad before they practice Wednesday. Strong’s increased role on offense is going to call for a shuffle in the special teams rotations. — Zac Jackson, Cleveland Browns writer
If we’ve learned anything in the last few weeks of fantasy RB speculation, it’s to not chase the obvious replacement back, as Damien Williams, D’Onta Foreman and Darrell Henderson laughed at our high-priority waiver pickups of Emari Demercado and Zach Evans.
However, the Browns already gave us Ford as the obvious Chubb replacement. It seems like they have a pecking order, and Hunt should be next. Cover your bases by grabbing Strong if you can — and if D’Ernest Johnson somehow makes his way over from Jacksonville, be afraid. But my best advice would be to hang on every word from Zac Jackson this week and respond accordingly! — Ferdinando Di Fino, fantasy and betting senior editor
(Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski / USA Today)