On my Week 3 Waiver Wire Stream, I recommended “dumping the FAAB” out for Browns RB Jerome Ford. Yet, in Week 3 Fantasy Football Lineups, I recommend sitting Ford. What gives, Wolf?!
Let’s dive into Ford’s Week 3 Fantasy Outlook vs. the Titans.
Should you start or sit Jerome Ford vs. Titans in Week 3 Fantasy Football?
I’m a big fan of Ford. If you blew the bank, I think he will ultimately be well-worth your investment. All summer, the Browns hyped Ford as the clear No.2 to Nick Chubb, who’s 2023 is over following a brutal knee injury.
Sure, Kareem Hunt has since joined this backfield. Moreover, the contract for 1-year, $4mil, is nothing to sneeze at in this awful RB market. Still, the Browns had all offseason to bring Hunt back if they wanted him to be the true backup. HC Kevin Stefanski has reiterated Ford’s status as “the lead back” multiple times since Hunt’s signing:
Why not give Ford some burn? Ford has almost no tread on his tires entering Week 3 of his sophomore campaign. Yet, he brings plenty of “burner” potential with 4.46 speed (87th percentile), with an impressive ability to plant his foot into the ground and accelerate. This makes him an ideal fit for Stefanski’s gorgeous zone-blocking scheme.
For all Stefanski’s faults as an HC, running the ball and running the ball well are not on that list. The Browns ranked 5th in rushes (532) and sixth in yards (2490) last season, and have routinely ranked Top-8 in Stefanski’s tenure.
This has led to backup RBs exploding over the years, and Ford should be the next. Look no further than D’Ernest Johnson two years ago. As the clear-starter in only two games, Johnson racked up 24.8 & 22.7 FP performances. First, he took 24 touches (2 rec) for 168 YFS & 1 TD. Next, Johnson ripped 26 touches (7 rec), for 157 YFS. That’s D’Ernest Johnson.
Meanwhile, Ford has already flashed his high-end upside when used. Just last week in feel in duty, Ford ripped off 131 YFS & 1 TD on 19 touches (3 rec), including an impressive 69-yard scamper. His 22 FPs ranked 7th among RBs for the week, while Ford took all but 1 rush attempt once Chubb departed.
In the only other extended look we got at Jerome Ford was the 2022 preseason Week 1. He turned 14 touches (4 rec) into 102 YFS and 2 TDs. The man can ball when given a chance.
Hunt will undoubtedly be involved given that contract. My guess: Hunt eats into the short-yardage and goalline work the most. He did so with Chubb, so surely he’ll be involved at the stripe with the much-smaller Ford. But Ford will likely should 60% of the rushing work and most of the receiving as well, and is explosive enough to hit a long play at any moment.
Wait, Wolf. This all sounds spectacular. Didn’t you lead with benching Ford in Week 3?
Jerome Ford Week 3 Fantasy Outlook: Tough Sledding vs. Titans
As much as I like Jerome Ford’s ROS Fantasy Outlook, I worry about him in Week 3. Under Mike Vrabel, the Titans have routinely been a top-three rushing defense, a trend that has continued into 2023. After surrendering a massive 30 FPs to Saquon Barkley to start last year, the Titans allowed just 4 RBs to break 12 FPS: Josh Jacobs (12.2), Austin Ekeler (14), Dameon Pierce (12.6), and Samaje Perine (lol, 17.3).
Though the competiton hasn’t been fierce (Jamaal Williams and Josh Kelley), the Titans are back to their run-stuffing ways, allowing just 6.9 FPPG to RBs so far. They have yet to give up a rushing TD, while they rank 5th with just 49.0 rush yards allowed. Last year, the Titans did surrender the 5th most receptions to RBs (5.5), which plays to Ford’s strengths. He certainly has some outs.
Still, given the tough matchup, I’d prefer to bench Ford where I can. This would allow you to see how the workload between Ford and Hunt shakes out. I fully understand you may not have better options, and Ford is still in starter consideration in my Week 3 Fantasy Rankings at RB26 (-2 ECR). I’d prefer Tyler Allgeier, Josh Kelley but do have Ford above the likes of Gus Edwards and Zack Moss.
Jerome Ford Week 3 Projection: 17 touches (4 rec), 62 YFS