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Carlos Hyde to Seattle: Fantasy Impact

Since they were installed as the main decision-makers for the Seahawks in 2010, Pete Carroll and John Schneider have frequently been very active in attempting to plug perceived weaknesses on the roster. In their first season at the helm, they executed a trade for Marshawn Lynch to stabilize the RB situation. Two years later, they addressed the QB position by signing Matt Flynn and drafting Russell Wilson. The rookie proved to be the final key piece to a championship puzzle.

After Seattle lost in Super Bowl XLIX, Carroll and Schneider reacted by trading for Jimmy Graham, the type of pass-catcher who would have conceivably not been moved out of position on a play near the goal line, and gave the team a big target they were missing. There are more examples, such as trading for LT Duane Brown and drafting DK Metcalf last season when the Doug Baldwin era ended.

The latest issue to take care of was at RB, when the Seahawks were reduced to bringing Marshawn Lynch out of retirement and signing Robert Turbin when injuries depleted the backfield late in December of 2019. The moves sparked the fan base as two members of the Super Bowl XLVIII championship squad returned, and Lynch scored four times in three games from Week 17 through the NFC Divisional Round. But the running game sputtered in desperation mode in the postseason. Travis Homer was the leading rusher at RB in the Wild Card Game with 12 yards, and Lynch led with 26 at Green Bay. For that reason, the team isn't taking any chances entering 2020 as they signed free agent Carlos Hyde to provide depth at running back.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


The Seattle RB Picture with Carlos Hyde

The lack of a running game was one of the prime factors Seattle lost at Green Bay. They simply could not expose a run defense that had allowed 120.1 rushing yards per game in the regular season and then surrendered 285 rushing yards to the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Chris Carson finished fifth in the NFL and second in the NFC in rushing yards last year, and his presence was sorely missed in the NFC playoffs. Second-year man Rashaad Penny was also unavailable.

Player Att Yds TD
Derrick Henry 303 1540 16
Ezekiel Elliott 301 1357 12
Nick Chubb 298 1494 8
Christian McCaffrey 287 1387 15
Chris Carson 278 1230 7

The 2019 NFL rushing yardage leaders. Chris Carson was second in the NFC. 

Seattle’s ideal vision entering last season was to have Carson be the primary inside and goal line runner, and for Penny to complement him as a perimeter threat. I had seen this plan work in person late in the 2018 season in a Week 13 win over San Francisco. When Penny totaled 236 yards and three TD in two games in Weeks 12 and 13 last year, he became a hot fantasy waiver add, and Seattle looked like it was heading to the postseason with the hoped time share in place.

But as fantasy players well know, Penny and Carson have been unreliable because of injury issues throughout their young NFL tenures. Penny suffered a major knee injury in Week 14 and Carson went down with a fractured hip two weeks later. Carson, according to published reports, has a good chance of being ready for the regular season, but the outlook is less optimistic for Penny, who can be considered out indefinitely. He is expected to begin the regular season on the PUP list and there seems to be no firm timetable for his return.

The team added Miami’s DeeJay Dallas in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, but obviously did not feel comfortable enough with him as a primary depth piece. So they brought in veteran Carlos Hyde on a one-year contract this past week.

The Seahawks have never been fully forthcoming on injuries, but the acquisition of Hyde is both a reaction to the lack of options when it mattered most last year and a clear admittance they are very concerned about Carson and Penny heading into the 2020 season. The Hyde signing is a specific pessimistic signal on Penny’s injury, which was termed as “more than just a normal ACL tear” by Carroll.


Fantasy Implications

From a fantasy perspective, Carson should still be the main Seahawks RB off the board, with Hyde viewed as the top handcuff and potential occasional replacement. Penny should be off seasonal draft boards, and the same should be said for Dallas. But the rookie still has some intriguing dynasty appeal.

Carson currently has an FFPC Average Draft Position of 25th overall. He would likely be a dozen spots higher if injuries were not a consistent concern with him. Carson missed two games in 2018, and only played four games in his rookie season because of a broken ankle. He dealt with assorted injuries in college and tore an ACL in his senior year of high school.

In my recent one-man mock draft, I took Carson off the board in the fourth round, as the 22nd RB overall. If he was not such a significant injury risk, he would have been picked two rounds earlier. Carson can certainly play at a fantasy RB1 level when available, but he is one of the biggest health concerns at the position.

Hyde is now a must-have as a handcuff, and there is some starting potential for him in Seattle. This will be Hyde’s fourth team in three seasons, as he has become a journeyman after showing some promise earlier in his career with San Francisco. But despite that label, he also did rush for a career-best 1,070 yards with six TD on 4.4 yards per carry with the Texans last year. Hyde will turn 30 years old during the season, but he has also averaged 178 carries per season, so he is not quite close to a decline yet. He finished as fantasy RB23 last season. Hyde fits the power style Carroll prefers to spell Carson if needed.

If Carson is not ready for the opener at Atlanta, Hyde could conceivably start that game and may be pushed into RB1 duty for Seattle at any point. When Carson is available he will obviously get the majority of the work and is a must-start. But Hyde can be suddenly pushed into a heavier workload, so you should consider him as a high-end RB4 in seasonal leagues, to be drafted just outside the Top 40 at the position.  When Carson is playing, Hyde likely won’t be useful in fantasy unless Carson is being eased back from an injury in any game.

Homer, who caught 11 passes in the final two regular season games last year, should have a strong chance to operate as the third-down and two-minute RB, but he won’t get enough touches to be draftable. The addition of Hyde indicates that the Seahawks did not want to put Dallas in a high pressure situation to produce as a rookie. Yet he still has some potential as a third-round pick in dynasty leagues as a longer term prospect.

Some draft analysts have actually compared Dallas to Carson, and with a background as a receiver early in college, he could turn out to be more versatile than the current Seahawks starter. Dallas is a power runner who is still developing at RB and could become an eventual starter, especially if Carson and Penny continue to battle health issues. He’s a promising project that might pay off in two or three years down the line. But if Penny returns to health he may be back in a crowded Seahawks RB picture, and Carson can remain a major factor in the RB mix. Do not cut Penny just yet in dynasty leagues, either. Dallas has much to prove and things have to break his way to eventually reach his ceiling.

The Seahawks were fourth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (137.5), and were fifth in run-pass ratio (51,8) last year. There has been some conjecture that the offense will open up the passing game more this season, but the tilt may only be slight. Whoever starts at RB in any given week for the Seahawks this year is a must-play, but you just have to hope Carson stays healthy for the obviously better production. Hyde is an ideal handcuff, though, and be ready to pop him in at any time. He will also be a nifty DFS play when asked to start for Seattle.

The Hyde signing likely rules out any Lynch return for now, but he could always be tapped to come back if more significant injury problems arise again. He likely will have minimal fantasy value if he comes back at any point.

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