In 2017, Carlos Hyde’s fantasy production finished him as RB9 in Half Point PPR. He ranked 13th in fantasy points per game (12.8) and averaged 18.7 touches per game, the tenth most. Will Hyde repeat as a top 10 RB in 2018? I’ll address all these questions using some projection analysis to best predict Hyde’s fantasy outlook for the 2018 season.
Carlos Hyde Fantasy
Running back Carlos Hyde signed a three-year $15 million deal with the Cleveland Browns this offseason. Hyde is coming off one of his most productive seasons as a professional. Reason being? For the first time, he was healthy for all 16 games. Now entering his fifth year in the league, Hyde joins a new-look Cleveland team with a crowded backfield. With an established pass-catcher in Duke Johnson and second-round rookie pick Nick Chubb, what will Hyde’s role be in the offense? And what does his addition to the Browns’ offense mean for his fantasy value?
Browns’ Offense 2018
With all of their offseason additions, Cleveland will have a much more productive offense in 2018. Frankly, they were just so bad last year that it just does not seem probable that they could be any worse.
Starting at the quarterback position, the Browns signed veteran Tyrod Taylor. They followed that up by drafting a future franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield. Initial reports state Mayfield “does not look ready to compete with Taylor for the No.1 quarterback job.” I fully expect Taylor to be the starter in 2018. This is because he brings stability to the position. The Browns in 2017 led the NFL in turnovers. One of Taylor’s best qualities is his ability to take care of the football. He has never thrown more than six interceptions in a season. With this new stability at the helm, anticipate the Browns having more success sustaining drives and seeing increases in scoring opportunities. Taylor’s presence should also be able to create additional opportunities for the running backs.
Being a mobile quarterback by nature, Taylor can help open things up for running backs. He excelled at this in Buffalo when the Bills ranked fifth, first, and first in total rushing yards when he started for them over the past three seasons. Now, this does not mean the Browns will finish that high, but based on their last three seasons in rushing yardage (18th, 18th, 22nd), they should improve. Taylor also heavily targets the running back position in the passing game. LeSean McCoy averaged almost 64 targets per season with Taylor as his quarterback.
The only downside I see with Taylor at quarterback with the Browns in 2018, is with passing volume. Taylor has never thrown for more than 3100 passing yards or 20 passing touchdowns in a season. Volume aside, however, the pass-catchers on this team vastly surpass last years corps. Wide receiver Josh Gordon returns for a full season, along with newly signed wide receiver Jarvis Landry, second-year tight end David Njoku, and talented rookie receiver Antonio Callaway. Big improvements across the board from a skill positions standpoint, it’s not surprising people are excited about the Browns in 2018. However, they are missing arguably their best player from last season.
One of the major downgrades for this offense is the departure of left tackle Joe Thomas. After he departed last year with his triceps injury pass protection became a liability off the edge. As of right now, Shon Coleman looks to be in the lead to start at left tackle come Week 1. If Coleman cannot become a reliable starter there could be major problems protecting the quarterback’s blindside. While the Thomas departure is a major loss the biggest gain is their new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
Todd Haley is in control of the offense and has stressed to put his players in the best situation to succeed. Haley has been apart of many productive offenses in the NFL as either a head coach or offensive coordinator throughout his career. He has been particularly good at producing fantasy relevant players as well. As you can see from the chart of the fantasy finishes for the various skill players under coach Haley via FFStatisics.com.
In his coaching career, Haley has coached offenses that have averaged QB15, RB14, WR10, and TE26.
The Browns last year had the fifth fewest rushing attempts in the league because they were always losing in games. With an expected increase in offensive efficiency with a less turnover-prone quarterback, the Browns should find more opportunities to run the football in 2018. That narrative combined with the upgrades in personnel and coaching, definitely bode well for Carlos Hyde.