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Rashaad Penny: A Potential RB2 For The Rest Of The Season


Seattle Seahawks rookie running back Rashaad Penny had a breakout game in Week 10. He will look to finish the season off strong to show the Seahawks coaching staff that he is capable of being the team's number one running back next year.

Penny is coming off the best game of the season against the Rams last Sunday. He racked up 108 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries. It was the most workload that the 5-foot-11, 220-pound back has seen this year as he was on the field for 27 offensive snaps (39.7 percent). The 108 yards were more than he had accumulated over his previous five contests combined.

The 22-year-old had managed just 18 carries for 103 yards over this five-game stretch. His best game during this period came in Week 6 where he totaled 70 total yards from scrimmage on 11 touches. 43 of those yards came on the ground while the other 27 yards came on two receptions. The big question is should fantasy owners add Penny to their roster for the upcoming game against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night? Also, can he become an RB2 for the remainder of the season?

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Penny Displays Long-Run Ability

Penny, who received extended playing time as a result of Chris Carson (hip) sitting out the game, ran extremely well. The 2018 first-round draft pick led the team in carries and yards against the Rams. He also compiled 5.58 yards of his 9.0 per carry average after contact per Pro Football Focus.

Backup running back Mike Davis got the start and he was on the field for the entire opening series. However, Penny entered the contest during the Seahawks' second series. He garnered his first touch of the game on the third play of the drive as he took a handoff from quarterback Russell Wilson, who was in the shotgun. After receiving the ball, Penny sprinted through a huge hole that opened up between the left guard J.R. Sweezy and left tackle Duane Brown and was quickly in the Rams' secondary. Penny, aided by a crushing block from wide receiver David Moore, wasn't brought down until he picked up a season-high 39 yards.

Two plays later, Penny used great vision and a fantastic sharp cut to get inside of where Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam was blitzing. As Ebukam was racing up the field, Penny bounced outside to where containment would have been and headed untouched to the end zone for an 18-yard score. It was the first touchdown of his career and it put the Seahawks ahead 14-7.

Penny didn't get another carry until late in the second quarter. Then on his third rushing attempt in the Seahawks first offensive drive of the second half, he exploded over the right end for a 24-yard gain. While a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty brought the ball to the Rams' 49, the Seahawks would ultimately score a touchdown on the drive to go up 21-20.

Overall in the game,  Penny had three rushes for 18 or more yards. Six of his carries went for less than five yards and two of the runs went between five and seven yards. He also had one carry where he was tackled for a one-yard loss.

Seattle's Resurgent Running Attack

Seattle struggled running the ball each of the last two seasons, which in part led Seahawks to select the former San Diego State star with the No. 27 overall pick.

The Seahawks ranked 23rd in rushing yards, 21st in attempts, 21st in yards per attempt and 31st in touchdowns last season. Their running game was so bad last season that Wilson led the team in rushing with 586 yards on a team-high 96 carries. He also topped the team with three rushing touchdowns.

This year, Seattle planned to use  Carson and Penny in tandem to revive the Seahawks running attack. But Penny suffered a hand injury as he broke a finger during practice on Aug. 14, setting his development back. Still, he and Carson were each on the field for 25 offensive snaps and received seven carries in the season opener against the Broncos. Carson finished with 51 yards on the ground while Penny was limited to eight yards.

Penny and Carson once again shared the backfield workload in Week 2 with Penny leading the team with 30 rushing yards on 10 attempts against the Bears. Carson began to separate himself from Penny in Week 3 when he gashed the Cowboys for 102 yards on 32 carries. Penny was on the field for just 10 plays in the game, totaling five yards on three attempts.

With Carson out for Week 4 as a result of a hip issue, Penny had a chance to regain a staring role in the offense. However, Davis got the start and he tallied 101 yards on 21 yards. Penny did finish the game with 49 yards on nine carries.

Davis' performance vaulted him past Penny on the depth chart. As a result, Penny did not get on the field for an offensive snap in Week 5 or Week 7.

Seattle is currently the top running team in the NFL. The Seattle leads the league in both total rushing yards with 1,370 yards and attempts with 288. They are 19th in touchdowns (six) and seventh in yards per attempt (4.8).

 

Penny A Priority Add For Week 11?

The short answer is no; Penny is not a priority fantasy add for this week. Carson is expected to play against the Packers and he is definitely the Seahawks' No. 1 running back. With good reason.

Carson has three 100-yard games in seven games. The 24-year-old running back leads the team with 497 rushing yards and he is ninth in the league with 71.0 yards a contest. However, with Davis and Penny also playing well, it is inevitable that Carson will lose some carries to one or both of them this week. Plus, the Packers have struggled against the run this year allowing 120.9 yards per game (11th most) and 4.5 yards per carry (12th most).

While I don't believe Penny is a priority add for fantasy owners, I do believe it would be a good idea to make him a speculative add at this point. Of course, that is if you have the ability to. Not only could Carson's hip flare up at any time, but I also believe that Penny will see an increase in his amount of snaps and touches going forward, especially if the Seahawks fall completely out of the playoff race. Remember, they used their top draft pick on him for a reason. Seattle (4-5) is currently ninth in the NFC, although with a loss to the Packers would put Seahawks Even further behind the eight-ball (sort to speak).

If Penny is able to secure more playing time, I believe he can be an RB2 for the rest of the season. Penny is a powerful and explosive running back, as well as an agile runner who is also a decent pass-catcher out of the backfield. Penny is currently averaging 13 offensive snaps and seven touches for 36 total scrimmage yards a game.

Thus far, Penny has averaged more rushing yards per attempt (4.7) than both Carson (4.5) and Davis (4.4). The 4.7 yards per attempt ties him for the 17th highest average among running backs with at least 50 carries, along with James Conner and Christian McCaffrey. He also leads the trio in yards per touch (5.2). Penny has brought in nine of his 12 targets on the year for 75 yards.

Seattle has a pretty appealing remaining schedule left. Including the upcoming contest against the Packers, the Seahawks play five of their final seven games at home -- where they average 24 points and 152.3 rushing yards a game this season. Additionally, five of their last seven opponents rank in the top half of the league in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. This includes the Chiefs (Week 16) who are giving up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs, and the Cardinals (Week 17) who are permitting the fourth most fantasy points to backs.

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