A few weeks ago, I dipped my toe into the fantasy football waters and talked about how Russell Wilson was a bargain in the early draft rooms of 2019. Today, I head back to fantasy land to ask: which Seahawks RB should you take?
Just to make sure everybody is on the same page when choosing a Seahawks running back, we need to establish what parameters we are working with for this debate. First and foremost, these ADP’s come to us from Fantasy Football Calculator and they are for PPR (point per reception), scoring leagues.
In addition, we are going to heavily weigh value in this conversation, as well as total production. Now with all that in mind, let’s begin.
Right off the bat, let me tell you that Chris Carson is being under-drafted. Currently, his ADP (average draft position) is 50th overall, which is a late 4th, early 5th round pick in most leagues. He is, on average, the 25th running back off the board right now.
This seems odd simply because he finished 5th in the league in rushing yards and inside the Top 10 with his nine rushing touchdowns. In addition, he got 20 passes on 23 targets, and finished 15th in this scoring last year.
Even stranger, Carson ranks behind players like Josh Jacobs and David Montgomery who have never taken a snap in an NFL game, and Aaron Jones, Derrick Henry, and Marlon Mack, all of whom Carson outscored in this format last season.
As for Rashaad Penny, he is the 85th player off the board in ADP, making him a late 7th, early 8th round pick. In his first season, Penny flashed a lot, rushing for 419 yards on 85 carries, good for a 4.9 YPC. He also caught 9 of 12 targets for 75 yards.
So production wise, this is no contest. Carson was more valuable last year by a mile. But what makes the industry reasonably high on Penny and low on Carson? Well, there are a few obvious reasons, the biggest being that Penny was a first round pick last year.
We heard this rationale last season as well. The Seahawks wouldn’t possibly draft an RB in round 1 and use him significantly less than a 7th round pick, could they? Well as it turns out, they did. And it was the right choice. Carson might be one of the Top 10 backs in the game, and the Seahawks rarely give preference to higher draft picks in open competitions.
But the real question is, can Penny eat into Carson’s touches this year? For me, the answer is absolute. Of course, he can and probably should. Carson has never stayed healthy for an entire season and he did miss two games last season. But how many touches could Penny vulture? Well first, let’s ask ourselves if Carson’s touches are the ones that will be vultured.
Don’t forget, Mike Davis is gone, headed to Chicago after a solid 2018 season. Last season, Davis had 112 rushes and 34 receptions, bringing his total to 146 touches. Give 70% of those to Penny, and he adds another 102 touches to his 94 from last season. 196 touches for Penny gives him a shot at 1,000 total yards.
Last season, Carson had 267 touches. Is it possible that Penny vultures some work from Carson? Yes. Will it be a massive number? Barring injury, no. The Seahawks are going to run the football and there will be more than enough work to go around.
The questions surrounding Carson right now are all about health, and he did have knee surgery this spring that kept him out of OTAs. The question surrounding Penny is mostly his workload. Both backs are talented and both should get a lot of work.
In summation, I think both RBs are actually good value based on their current ADP. I would have no issue going at least a round higher on each player. But if forced to pick just one, I’m still taking Chris Carson.
Why? He’s done it once before. And while once isn’t anything to write home about, it is still one more time than Penny has done it. Even if you draft Carson high, Penny is still a player to target later in the draft. Worse case, you have the Seahawks running game locked down. And perhaps Carson and Penny both thrive and you have two RBs you can start every week.
Long story short, you are going to want a piece of the Seahawks running game. So make sure you grab at least one of these backs. And while I may prefer Carson, I won’t be upset if you prefer Penny. Heck, it is a great problem to have.