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Rashaad Penny - Rookie Recap / Dynasty Outlook


It wasn't long ago that the fantasy football world was shook after the Seattle Seahawks took a running back in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Rashaad Penny was selected at the end of the first round because he is a gifted between-the-tackles runner. The draft capital and opportunity he had in Seattle made fantasy owners excited to draft Penny. The only running back selected ahead of him was Saquon Barkley by the New York Giants. Dynasty football fans had him at upwards of a top-five rookie pick last year, and I was one that was a big fan of him as well. That clearly wasn't the case, as Chris Carson came out and led the way as a workhorse for Seattle.

Heading into 2019, what does the immediate future hold for Penny and how should dynasty owners on both sides approach him, either as a buy-low or sell candidate?

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Profile

Team: Seattle Seahawks
College: San Diego State
Height/Weight: 5'11", 220 pounds
2018 NFL Draft: Round 1, Pick 27

 

Rashaad Penny's Rookie Campaign

Penny finished the 2018 season as the RB65 in PPR scoring with 69.8 total points. It's safe to say Penny was a massive disappointment. Penny was the second running back taken in the 2018 NFL Draft, ahead of guys like Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Kerryon Johnson, Royce Freeman, and several others. All of those RBs finished ahead of him for fantasy purposes.

With Carson entering the season as the named starter, I have to say I was not concerned as a Penny owner. At all. When a team invests a first-round NFL Draft pick on a running back, that in itself cannot be ignored. Not to mention, Carson had not shown hardly anything worth worrying about. Everyone has been waiting for the next 'Beast Mode' to take over since Marshawn Lynch has since left Seattle. A few flash-in-the-pans have come on gone like Thomas Rawls, but no one has really stuck. On a similar note, I still am not convinced that Carson is the answer.

 

Chris Carson's Breakout

In the 2017 NFL draft, Carson went undrafted and was later claimed by Seattle. He played in just four games in his rookie season and saw just 49 carries. Carson and Penny both looked good in the pre-season a year ago, but it was Carson who would get the first crack at the Seattle backfield. According to Pro Football Focus, he led the league in broken tackles with 45. He finished the season with 247 carries for 1,151 yards and nine touchdowns.

Carson finished the 2018 season as the RB18 in PPR scoring with 181.5 points. 247 carries on the season was a surprise, to say the least. Especially after the Seahawks just spent a first-round pick on a rookie running back. On the other hand, there's no denying that Carson looked the part when he got the chance. The staff clearly trusted him enough to give him a consistent workload.

 

The Future

As far as his future goes, I still like Penny for a number of reasons. One is that the team used a first-round pick on him. Investing that early of a pick cannot be overlooked and at the end of the day, I expect the coaching staff to get him involved more partly in order to cover themselves and justify their draft pick to the team's owners. Another reason is the situation. I'm not convinced Carson is the answer long-term and as I expect Penny to get more involved, he'll have a chance to prove himself.

The final reason is pure talent. Penny showed flashes when he was given the chance. He's a shifty runner and has good long speed. He made defenders miss often in college and played against stacked boxes a majority of the time, which limited his effectiveness in the passing game.

He was, however, lacking as a pass-blocker, which I believe is largely why he didn't see the playing time as Carson did. I expect that to improve as he gains more experience in the NFL as well. Don't be afraid to go out and buy Penny at a discount in your dynasty leagues.

 

Moving Forward

As we look ahead at the 2019 season, it already seems to me like Carson will be over-drafted. Fantasy owners may very well see where he finished and expect the Seahawks to continue to get him involved and potentially take a step forward in 2019. On the other hand, some owners may not buy into the hype and realize the importance of an NFL team drafting a running back in the first round.

For that reason, I'm expecting Penny to get more involved in 2019 and beyond. The staff will need to justify their thought process of taking Penny in the first-round. Both of these backs could be involved and end up splitting carries, which is more of what I'd expect to happen in 2019.

From a long-term perspective, I'm going out and grabbing Penny where I can. There's a good chance the owner is disappointed with his rookie season and may be frustrated. At the same time, there's a good chance that same owner used an early draft pick on him. Either way, he's looking like someone that has a very nice opportunity to take a step forward.

Don't overpay for Penny, but don't be afraid to float some offers out to the Penny owner in your dynasty leagues. On the flip side, Carson may be someone that could offer a sell-high opportunity. If there's a Carson truther in your league, sell them on the idea of Carson holding down the job and being the guy to own in Seattle.

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