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Fantasy Football: RB Spencer Ware next man up for Chiefs

By The Sports Xchange
Fantasy Football: RB Spencer Ware next man up for Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware runs as Cleveland Browns defender Genard Avery pursues on November 4 at First Energy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

The stunning departure of star running back Kareem Hunt left the Kansas City Chiefs less than 36 hours to formulate a backup plan to replace a key cog in their offense.

Hunt was released by the Chiefs on Friday night after a video surfaced earlier in the day that showed him pushing and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel in February.

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The swift turn of events -- Hunt was placed on the Commissioner Exempt List by the NFL earlier Friday after TMZ published the video and was released soon afterward -- came two days before the Chiefs are scheduled to visit the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon.

Kansas City, which is coming off its bye week, owns the best record in the AFC at 9-2 and has the inside track for the top overall seed and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

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The Chiefs have ample options in the passing game for quarterback Patrick Mahomes in wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. The first option to fill the void left by Hunt is backup running back Spencer Ware, who is expected to get the start against the Raiders (2-9).

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Ware, in a twist of fate, was projected to be the starting running back in 2017 but suffered a season-ending knee injury late in the preseason to open the door for Hunt.

A third-round draft pick out of Toledo, Hunt wound up leading the NFL in rushing as a rookie with 1,327 yards. He had 824 yards and seven rushing touchdowns and seven receiving scores through the first 11 games this season.

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Hunt had at least 14 carries in all but one game this season while Ware has had more than three rushing attempts in just one game, gaining 59 yards on eight carries against Cincinnati on Oct. 21.

However, the 5-foot-10, 229-pound Ware was in integral part of Kansas City's offense in 2016, starting 14 games and rushing for 921 yards and three scores on 214 carries. He also had 33 catches and two receiving touchdowns.

Ironically, Ware received the heaviest workload of his career against the Raiders that season. He rushed for 131 yards and a TD on 24 carries in October 2016 and had 20 rushes for 56 yards against Oakland less than two months later.

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Other backfield options for the Chiefs are Damien Williams, Darrel Williams and fullback Anthony Sherman.

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Kansas City, which is averaging a league-high 36.7 points, is used to dealing with adversity in the backfield during head coach Andy Reid's tenure.

When 1,000-yard rusher Jamaal Charles suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2015, Charcandrick West wound up starting nine games. An injury to West paved the way for Ware to take over as the lead back in 2016.

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