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What to do with Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt in the Wild Card round of the 2021 NFL playoffs

We go over the fantasy football and DFS outlook of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt ahead of the Browns Wild Card matchup against the Steelers in the 2021 NFL Playoffs.

Running back Nick Chubb #24 of the Cleveland Browns breaks away for a touchdown run during the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Steelers 24-22. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Game day update: Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt will call the plays for the Browns first playoff game since 2002, but the good news is, the team has cleared COVID protocols and is good to play Sunday night. The O/U for Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt’s rushing yards sits at 65.5 and 27.5, respectively, over on DraftKings Sportsbook. Both props could prove appealing against the Steelers defense, who have been middle of the back against RBs as they’ve lost starting (and then backup) linebackers through the season.

If the Cleveland Browns have any chance of upsetting the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday’s playoff game, they will need Herculean performances from running backs Nick Chubb and/or Kareem Hunt.

Fantasy Football analysis: Browns RBs Nick Chubb ($6,700), Kareem Hunt ($4,800)

Chubb ripped the Steelers for 108 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries last week. Hunt, conversely, contributed 41 scoreless yards on 11 total touches (10 carries, 1 reception). Those efforts came against a modified Steelers defense that rested some of its healthier stars. The Browns’ duo will face a truer test in this game, however, injuries have diminished this defense’s previous strength against the run. Giovani Bernard racked up 97 yards and two scores against Pittsburgh in Week 15. Jonathan Taylor broke the plane twice versus the Steelers in Week 16. Chubb has totaled at least 17 DraftKings points in six of his eight games since returning from an early-season knee injury.

Hunt’s production has been more unstable as he has fluctuated between double- and single-digit fantasy totals over each of the past five weeks. Hunt averaged 11.5 touches per game during that span while Chubb has averaged more than 16 touches over the same period.

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Both Chubb and Hunt have seen their DraftKings price fall substantially from last week. Chubb’s has been cut by $900; Hunt is down $1,100. This isn’t a cakewalk matchup, but injuries have softened up this defense and made it more vulnerable against the run. As such, Chubb and, to a lesser extent, Hunt have value as possible contrarian plays in DFS contests. Chubb’s DK price hasn’t been this low since Week 2.