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Carlos Hyde Traded To Jaguars - Instant Reaction

With the news Friday that Carlos Hyde was traded from the Cleveland Browns to the Jacksonville Jaguars, there are two questions which need to be answered.

The first question: what does LeBron James think about it? Ok, actually the first question is, what does this mean for the remaining running backs in Cleveland?

The second question is: what does this mean for Jacksonville who, even with one of the best young running backs in the league in Leonard Fournette, still felt they had to go trade for someone else?

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Carlos Hyde Becomes a Jaguar

On the Browns side of the ball, this is going to mean good things for both of the remaining running backs. Duke Johnson Jr. will continue to be the pass-catching back in the offense as usual. Hyde was not a great option in this respect, only having six receptions on 10 targets in the first six games of the season.

On the other hand, Hyde was averaging 19 rushes per game and had five rushing touchdowns in the young season. This role should go to rookie Nick Chubb, who showed his ability with 105 yards on three rushes against Oakland but otherwise has not been used much other than on kick and punt returns. This move shows the trust they have that Chubb is not only ready to be the bell cow back in Cleveland, but also a trust in Baker Mayfield in making things happen for the Browns.

So far in the 2018 season, Chubb has 16 carries for 173 yards and two rushing touchdowns. These numbers are going to increase drastically as he becomes the man in Cleveland for the rest of the season. Although Johnson Jr. is the pass-catching back, expect him to take some of the rushing attempts as well as the Browns won’t want to give all 19 weekly attempts previously allotted to Hyde to Chubb instead, who even in college was not a workhorse back, sharing work with Sony Michel at Georgia.

The biggest thing to take away from this trade on the Browns' side of the ball could be addition by subtraction. Now that Carlos Hyde and his 19 rushes per game are gone, the Browns will have the ability to split the carries between Johnson Jr. and Chubb, keeping both of them fresher throughout the game and allowing them to wear down opposing defenses for four quarters while also allowing the passing game to get better with Johnson still present to complement the receivers and tight ends.

On the Jacksonville side of the ball, this really shows the concern the Jaguars have in Leonard Fournette coming back at full strength and staying that way any time soon. This was shown earlier this week by the signing of Jamal Charles and is now solidified with the trade for Hyde to help them become the running team they want to be. With Blake Bortles at quarterback and an elite defense on the other side, this is also what they need to be. Currently on the season, the Jaguars are averaging 103.3 yards per game on the ground with the mash-up of Leonard Fournette, T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant who is now on the injured reserve. With both Yeldon and Fournette also banged up, it will fall to Carlos Hyde to bring this number up thus allowing Bortles to stop having to throw to the tune of 279 yards per game.

The Jaguars showed last season what they can do with a solid run game and an elite defense. This season the defense has been less than elite, especially after a shocking 40-7 thrashing at the hands of the Cowboys. But this is due directly to the lack of running game making the defense stay on the field for much longer stretches and getting exposed.

For fantasy owners, the trade looks to be a win-win on the surface of it and if this is the case both teams should continue to make progress as the season moves forward. Only time will tell who got the better end of the deal but at first sight, it looks like it is Carlos Hyde as he gets out of Cleveland, which was likely to happen after this season anyway. He now has a chance to go to a contender, unlike the Browns team he is leaving. Fantasy owners should consider Hyde a strong, borderline RB1 play the rest of this season given the uncertainty of Fournette's situation. Chubb, meanwhile, should be owned in 100% of fantasy leagues by now and could even have a small buy-low window before his first start against the horrendous defense of Tampa Bay in Week 7. The true target for fantasy owners could be Duke Johnson, who is now a candidate to post numbers similar to last year when he finished as the RB11 in PPR scoring formats.

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