by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The common assumption has been that Penny will overtake that role after Seattle drafted him 27th overall despite greater needs elsewhere, but Carson has easily been the most impressive of Seattle’s running backs. He’s added about 10 pounds of lean weight and appears to be all the way back from the ankle/leg injury that cut short his promising rookie season. Penny will play as a rookie — perhaps in a third-down or change-of-pace role — but Carson looks like the favorite to enter the season as the starter. — Brady Henderson
Keep in mind this note came as part of a set of bold predictions for each NFL franchise courtesy of ESPN (click here to view), but there could definitely be some truth to it. A seventh round pick a year ago, Carson showed an ability to both run and catch the football last season before injuries ended things just four games in.
There have also been questions about Penny, even prior to the draft, with the thought being he may need to be eased into a significant role. Here’s a quote that comes courtesy of Walter Football’s pre-draft scouting report:
“Penny is super talented,” said a NFC director of college scouting. “He is a smooth runner, athletic, has some [speed], is good in the pass game and a returner. His makeup and work ethic isn’t great. He has learning issues, so he might need to start with a 7-8 touches-per-game role until he learns to enough to gradually expand it.”
The issues with learning could be seen at the Senior Bowl, where Penny turned in an unimpressive week of practice. He was playing slowly, seemingly thinking too much on the field. As a result, Penny might need some developmental time learning the playbook before he is able to make an impact for his NFL team. While Penny develops, he could have a limited role on offense and also contribute as a returner on special teams.
So you have a healthy Carson impressing in camp, while Penny was always expected to need to slowly transition into an offense. It’s all coming together to create an opportune buying opportunity considering these current average ADP:
- Rashaad Penny – 41.8
- Chris Carson – 141.3
By year’s end Penny easily could be “the man”, but don’t expect it from Day 1. Spending a fourth round draft pick on a stash, especially in redraft formats, seems misguided. If you are looking for depth and a potential early season starter, grabbing Carson at the end of your draft could be a home run. Make sure to have him marked as a late round target.
Sources – ESPN, Walter Football, Fantasy Pros
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 preseason rankings: