by Ryer Gardenswartz
Throughout the league there are some tough position battles that can make life as a fantasy owner difficult. One of the many is the running back situation in Seattle. Both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny will look to play a major role in the backfield for the Seahawks in 2019. Both players have their pros and cons, making the draft-day decision even more difficult.
For starters, both players should benefit from Mike Davis’ departure to Chicago. Davis was competing with both Carson and Penny for touches last season. He put up 514 yards on 112 attempts. It seems as though Seattle is happy to run with the one-two punch of Carson and Penny for the upcoming season.
Carson was simply the better back last season. In fact, he was one of the top running backs in the entire NFL. He ended his 2018 campaign with 1,151 rushing yards and 9 TDs, resulting in him having the 5th most rushing yards for the season. One big red flag for Carson though, is health. He hasn’t been able to play a full season thus far and is coming off of knee surgery which kept him sidelined during OTAs. Assuming he can stay healthy and replicate his 2018 season, he looks like a no-brainer RB1 on paper.
However, Penny seems to have a much higher ceiling. The Seahawks took Penny in the 1st round last year for a reason. That being said, he didn’t have the impact of a 1st rounder last season as he only carried the ball 85 times in 14 games. Even in limited action, his big play potential was evident. He averaged a team-high 4.9 yards per carry but was mostly overshadowed by Carson and Davis. It is hard to believe that the Seahawks would continue to utilize a 1st round pick like they did last season. Penny will definitely have his chances to show his skills and prove his worth in his sophomore season.
Now the big question, who do I draft this fall? According to FantasyPros, Carson’s ADP has hovered around 48, typically going in the 4th and 5th round. On average, he has been the 25th running back taken in drafts, which seems odd considering his strong 2018 production. Its even stranger seeing Josh Jacobs, who has yet to take an NFL snap, ahead of Carson. If he slips this far and can repeat 2018, then he could easily become one of the steals of the draft. On the flip side, it does seem like Penny will cut into Carson’s touches. Penny’s ADP of 79 has him coming off draft boards in the 7th and 8th rounds. Penny will have a much bigger role than he did last season and is solid insurance in case Carson can’t shake the injury bug. Penny has more homerun potential, but Carson figures to be a more consistent back. It will be interesting to see how Penny does with a bigger workload.
Both players have decent average draft positions for their value. I can even see the argument for them going a round higher than their predictions as they both look to have increased roles in 2019. If forced to pick just one, then Chris Carson would be my pick. His 2018 season was too strong to forget, and while it has been only one season, that’s still more than Penny has under his belt. Penny can, and should, still be a player to target later in the draft, especially knowing Carson’s injury history. Ideally, you can corner the Seattle running back market and still have two running backs worthy of weekly starts.