Will Nick Chubb play in Week 11 vs. the Lions?
Despite his name not appearing on the Cleveland Browns’ injury report, whether RB Nick Chubb will play or not in Week 11 was still up in the air as of Thursday morning. Let’s take a look at the latest regarding Chubb’s status for Week 11 against the Detroit Lions, what needs to happen for him to play, and what this means for fantasy football managers.
Will Nick Chubb play in Week 11 against the Lions?
It is hard to know whether Chubb will be on the field come Sunday — there are a few things that need to happen. First, Chubb needs to return two consecutive negative tests to be removed from the COVID-19 list. On Wednesday, Kevin Stefanski did not indicate whether Chubb had returned a negative test or not. Therefore, we do not know whether it is possible Chubb could return Thursday or Friday at the earliest.
Chubb would then need to be cleared by the Browns’ medical team before joining the team. This clearance should, in theory, be just a standard exercise, but if anything shows up following his COVID diagnosis, that could delay his return to the field.
What does Chubb’s potential absence mean for fantasy managers?
For Chubb managers, a tough decision awaits if he is removed from the COVID list. We saw Aaron Rodgers not look himself Sunday after he had been diagnosed with COVID. However, Chubb is reportedly vaccinated, so there is the potential that any effects he has suffered from the virus would be less severe.
The issue becomes if Chubb is not cleared until Friday and does not get any practice this week. If that is the case, fantasy managers are flying blind when it comes to making a decision. On one hand, Chubb could be well-rested after a week off, assuming he has not struggled with the virus. On the other, he struggles as Rodgers did.
Chubb has been fantastic this season. He is averaging 6.0 yards per rush attempt with 6 touchdowns on 120 carries. Chubb is third at the running back position in terms of points per game at 16.1. He has largely been a reliable option, scoring fewer than 10 fantasy points in half-PPR formats just once, with a low score of 7.4 this season.
The other side of it is if the Browns decide to ease Chubb back in on Sunday. D’Ernest Johnson has performed well in his two opportunities to start. Therefore, the Browns might let him carry a portion of the workload to protect Chubb as he returns.
Who benefits in any potential absence?
The simple answer is that if Chubb is not playing this week, Johnson would profit. He has performed well in the opportunities offered to him, demonstrating prowess as a pass catcher and runner.
In Week 6, Johnson had 146 rushing yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. He also added 22 receiving yards on 2 targets. In Week 10, with Chubb on the COVID list, Johnson put up a total of 157 yards on 27 opportunities. He rushed for 99 yards on 19 carries while pulling in 7 of his 8 targets for 58 yards.
With Demetric Felton having also been on the COVID list in Week 10, Cleveland’s backfield options were somewhat bare. Johnson is the only active traditional running back alongside John Kelly on their 53-man roster. They have FB Andy Janovich and had elevated Johnny Stanton from the practice squad for Week 10.
If neither Chubb nor Felton is available for Week 11, the Browns have other options on their practice squad. They could turn to either Brian Hill or Dexter Williams as a backup for Johnson this week. The hope will be that Chubb or Felton can clear the COVID protocols and be available Sunday. Still, even if they do, we simply do not know how much workload they will be able to handle.