Few teams like to run the football more than the Seattle Seahawks and Chris Carson appears to be the best bet once again to lead the team in carries in 2020. Let’s take a look at what that means for his fantasy value.
Carson finished 2019 as RB10 in 0.5 PPR formats and RB12 in PPR fantasy leagues as he rushed for 1,230 yards and seven touchdowns on 278 carries. He added 37 catches for 266 yards and two more scores.
Through the first 10 weeks of the season last year, Carson offered elite RB1 fantasy production based on an incredible amount of volume he was receiving in the Seahawks’ offense. He averaged 22.7 touches per game during that span and reached double-digit fantasy points in all but two contests.
Down the stretch of 2019 Carson started to give way to the emerging former first-round pick, Rashaad Penny, before suffering a season-ending hip injury. Carson has now finished two of his three seasons as a pro on injured reserve.
Carson has built quite an impressive resume during his first three years as a pro. He has eclipsed 1,100 yards in back-to-back seasons (2018-19). Over the last two years only four running backs have netted more yards (2,831) on the ground than Carson.
His receiving skills are adequate, but the Seahawks don’t throw much so the opportunities are limited in the passing attack. It was encouraging to see his targets more than double from 2018 (20) to 2019 (47).
He is one of three running backs with 100+ forced missed tackles since 2018 (Chubb 110, Carson 107, Henry 103). Last year, he had the sixth-most broken tackles at 28, and the third-most yards after contact at 1,008 all while having the third fewest yards before contact (minimum 10 rushing attempts). Only Ezekiel Elliott ran for more first downs than Carson (75) did a year ago.
The former 7th-round pick is entering the final year of his rookie deal and another big season could make it hard for Seattle not to extend his contract.
Rashaad Penny tore ACL on Dec 8, but the #Seahawks recently added free agent Carlos Hyde. The team drafted DeeJay Dallas. Travis Homer still in mix. All of that said, how do you view Chris Carson heading into the 2020 fantasy football season?
— Dan Clasgens (@DanClasgens) May 28, 2020
After not needing hip surgery this offseason Carson appears to be healthy now. However, it’s looking as if Penny, who suffered an ACL injury in December, will miss time to start 2020. That prompted the Seahawks to sign free agent Carlos Hyde to provide added depth to the backfield.
From The GetSportsInfo Podcast:
Seattle reportedly offered Devonta Freeman a deal first, but after he turned them down they turned to Hyde. The veteran provides nice depth and early-season coverage while Penny recovers, but he shouldn’t jump Carson in the pecking order.
DeeJay Dallas was also taken in the fourth round of this year’s draft out of Miami. Dallas is good in pass protection and as a converted wide receiver displays great hands out of the backfield. Seeing him emerge quickly as the passing-down back seems plausible.
Travis Homer paid his dues on special teams as a rookie, but got a chance late in the year and showed some flashes. His experience and versatility should give him the leg up to be the team’s fourth running back this season, but don’t expect him to factor much into the offense barring injury.
Carson has been going off the board in Round 4 in most early 2020 drafts. His NFC ADP is currently 39.39 (RB21) in all drafts since the completion of the NFL Draft. Meanwhile, he’s slightly higher in BB10’s during that span sitting at RB19 at 36.28 overall.
That is putting just behind rookie Jonathan Taylor and fellow veterans Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley, who both are dawning new uniforms in 2020. He’s going just a tick ahead of Devin Singletary and Le’Veon Bell. There is not a back in this entire tier without some questions, including Carson. That said, Carson’s floor arguably though is the highest of any back in this group.
MY TAKE: Durability concerns and the potential mid-season resurgence of Penny leaves me feeling a bit gun shy of going all in on Carson, but rest assured if he’s my RB2 at his current price point in any redraft format I’m feeling pretty good about it. He definitely gets a boost in non-PPR formats.