NFL Rookie of the Year watch: Fournette lurking Hunt

By Hayden Bonine

Sports Blogger

@HaydenBonine

 

Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: 173 attempts, 873 yards, four touchdowns, 35 receptions, 335 receiving yards, two touchdowns

If poor performances late in the season rarely result in awards, Kareem Hunt might be playing his way out of contention. Hunt needed 18 carries to gain only 73 yards on Sunday. He paired a bad statistic with one even worse, three receptions for four yards. The good news is that this is Hunt’s best outing since week seven. The bad news is that Hunt has maintained his streak of no touchdowns for the eighth straight week. Hunt is at risk of losing the top spot in the award race, as Fournette and Smith-Schuster continue to shine. Hunt is bound to succeed in reaching the end zone Sunday against the Bills. Buffalo is last in the NFL in rushing touchdowns allowed.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: 175 attempts, 740 yards, six touchdowns, 19 receptions, 156 receiving yards, one touchdown

(James Jackson, Flickr)

Before missing three games because of injury, suspension and a bye, Leonard Fournette had put up a trio of 100-yard performances. After a poor showing in his first game back, Fournette racked up 111 rushing yards and caught two passes for seven yards. He has not scored a touchdown since Week 6, however, the Jaguars are playing the Arizona Cardinals this weekend. The Cardinals are tied for sixth in the NFL in rushing touchdowns allowed.

Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: 33 receptions, 568 yards, 17.2 yds/catch, five touchdowns

Juju Smith-Schuster cracked the Rookie of the Year Watchlist after his one touchdown, seven reception and 193-yard performance. Smith-Schuster, a Steelers wide receiver, has regressed toward the mean since that time,  five-catch, 47-yard showing he had last Sunday highlighting that regression. Antonio Brown had an outstanding game including three touchdowns, 10 catches and 144 yards. Perhaps lining up opposite of one of the league’s best receivers hinders Smith-Schuster. Either way, Smith-Schuster will have to pick his performance back up to keep his spot on this list.

ozone@ocolly.com

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