Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Splitting RBs in Seattle? Examining Chris Carson & Rashaad Penny

For the second time this season, Chris Carson’s fantasy owners are concerned about his workload because of fumbling issues. This time, his outlook seems to be more uncertain than it was earlier in the season.

Prior to this season, losing the ball was never a major issue for Carson, as he lost fumbles five times in his first two seasons. But ball security suddenly became an issue for him at the beginning of the 2019 campaign, when he lost three fumbles in three games. Some fantasy players started to wonder if C.J. Prosise would cut into his reps while Rashaad Penny dealt with a hamstring injury.

But as he often does with his most important players, Pete Carroll maintained confidence in Carson, and he received 20 or more carries in the next five games. He did not fumble during that stretch. But over the past three games, the ball security problems have returned. Carson has fumbled four times over the past three games, fortunately only losing one. There have also been two botched exchanges this year that have been credited to Wilson, and he has assumed responsibility for. That doesn't change the fact that Carson is now worrying his owners all over again as former first-round RB Rashaad Penny may be ready to step up.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


Carroll Backs Both RBs

Last week at Philadelphia, Carson hit new lows. One of those erroneous handoffs came as part of a back-to-back fumbling sequence late in the game on a day where Carson had season lows in attempts (eight) and yards (26). Meanwhile, Penny came through with the best performance of his career, rushing for 129 yards and scoring on a 58-yard run. The confluence of events led to wild speculation about Penny overtaking Carson as Seattle’s lead RB, and Penny was the third-most added position player in Fleaflicker leagues this week.

In the aftermath of Carson hitting the bottom and Penny soaring to the ceiling performance-wise, Carroll praised Penny and told the media he wanted to see more of the same from the second-year man. When the Seahawks drafted Penny 27th overall, they were hoping at the time that he could emerge as the long-sought-after replacement for Marshawn Lynch.

“Rashaad did great,” Carroll said of his performance at Philadelphia. “I’m really fired up for that. We need his explosiveness. He continues to show up. He has had the real home run type of style of play. We’ve got to give him chances to bring that to us. It wasn’t a surprise that he looked like that. Wish it would’ve shown up a little earlier, but that’s my fault for not getting him in there.”

At the same time, Carroll remained outwardly confident in Carson, much as he did earlier this year when the turnover issues first became a problem. He reiterated that Carson will remain a big part of the offense, and knowing Carroll’s track record of trying to keep faith in his premier players, he will likely to continue to stand behind Carson for now.

“That’s not the case in my mind,” Carroll said about Carson’s problems leading to more work for Penny. “The opportunity to play and to contribute is always there in that spot in particular. Our offensive lineman knocked the ball out of his hands on the first one. The other one, it was a communication problem. It’s a little different than the guy just dropping the ball all over the place.”

In fact, the errors of note came after Penny had already provided his highlights for the day. So it is not a clear-cut case of the turnover problems leading to additional playing time for Penny, as Carroll indicated.  Earlier in the game, though, it seemed that Penny’s speed and explosion were better suited to challenge the Philadelphia run defense. Also, it is conceivable that the Eagles had also not prepared much for Penny, as in the previous game before a bye, he appeared to be a complete afterthought.

In a major Monday night matchup with the 49ers, Penny carried just twice and lost a fumble. So it was somewhat surprising to see him resurface in the following game. But as previously noted, Carroll has an approach of trying to bolster the confidence of many of his players when it seems they might be enduring hard times. He customarily exhibits much patience with his proven or high potential players.


The Future May Be Shared

So while Penny may continue to see an increased workload for now, Carson is not going to be relegated to a heavily diminished role. In fact, when covering a Seahawks home game last November in Week 13 against San Francisco, I believed I was seeing the future of the backfield at the time. The two RBs complemented each other ideally. Carson rushed for 69 yards on 13 carries, and Penny rushed for 65 yards on just seven attempts, including a 20-yard TD run.

I would expect more carries per game from each player if this sort of scenario becomes the norm, as that was a 27-point Seattle victory that did not mirror typical game flow. But it displayed how Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer would have ideally liked to utilize the two RBs, and you have to believe the approach may still be in mind a year later.

In the postgame locker room that day, Carson told me he embraced the idea of a dual rushing attack.

“You can’t prepare for just one back,” Carson. “When one guy gets tired, the next guy goes in and you don’t lose a beat.”

Carson’s physical, banging approach works well in tune with Penny’s more explosive and open field style, Penny added.

“I feed off of him. He’ll get the defense tired and then all I have to do is run by them,” Penny said. “It’s just about getting me on the perimeter and in space to make plays.”

Having two effective RBs that can attack the defense with distinctive skill sets would give the Seahawks advantages from pure football perspectives. Defenses have to constantly adjust to the two styles of runners, and Seattle could keep both guys fresh if the approach works out.

That would appear to be where this RB situation may be headed, but it’s also hard to have too much fantasy faith in Penny after just one impressive outing. There are also still lingering concerns about his pass blocking and durability. He should be treated as a fantasy RB4 for now, and should not be started yet at such an important time of year until he builds more on his Week 13 performance.

Plus, Carson has shown too much in the past two seasons to lose a heavy amount of reps. You should still treat him as a fantasy RB2 type, and it would not be surprising to see him bounce back quickly to his better form, either.

This situation will continue to play out on the field on Monday night against Minnesota. Carroll and Schottenheimer probably want a timeshare scenario to continue to evolve. If it does not, Carson could conceivably regain the bulk of the workload in short order. It’s on Penny to force a split workload, and we’ll have to wait and see if he is capable of earning more consistent touches.

More Fantasy Football Analysis

More Recent Articles


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 14 Le'Veon Bell (illness) is questionable to play this week. Marlon Mack is expected to be back on the... Read More

Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 14

Welcome to our Week 14 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More

Week 14 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More

Fantasy Football IDP Rankings for Week 14 (Top 100)

The fantasy playoffs are here for most of us, so every position matters that much more. IDP spots often become an afterthought or a set-it-and-forget-it situation but it could be that linebacker who has a monster game or that key interception that makes the difference between winning or going home. Look to our streamer suggestions... Read More

Week 14-16 Playoff Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

The playoffs are here, and that means we're going to do things a little differently. I want to take a look at the playoffs as a whole (and in this case we are considering Weeks 14-16) and determine which DSTs you can ride all the way through and which ones you should stream this week.... Read More

Star Players Who Might Miss the Fantasy Playoffs

As we head into the playoff weeks of fantasy football, you'll hear many experts preach (correctly) the need to stash high-upside handcuffs or backups at quarterback or tight end. You'll inevitably hear about looking ahead three weeks for favorable playoff schedules and thinking less about what the player has done up until now or whether... Read More

Week 14 Busts? Players To Consider Avoiding

It's finally here... The fantasy playoffs for most leagues. Hopefully you have a chance to win a fantasy championship in the next few weeks. If you're lucky, you have a first-round bye and won't have to worry about anything this week except for picking out a Christmas tree and setting up all your holiday decorations.... Read More

Fantasy Football Booms, Busts - Zach Pascal, Jamaal Williams, Gardner Minshew

Whether this is the first week of your playoffs, the last week of your regular season, or the time to win a DFS league to pay for your holiday presents, this is the most crucial week of your fantasy football season. While my booms from last week (Robert Woods, Jack Doyle, Dede Westbrook, Kyle Allen)... Read More

Running Back Start/Sit Advice - Week 14

Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano break down the running back position to help with tough fantasy football lineup decisions for Week 14 of the 2019 NFL season. They decide who to start or sit among those in RB3 or flex consideration. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest... Read More

Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 13 Analysis

Wide receivers are essential components toward your ultimate goal of securing league championships. As many of you prepare for your Week 14 matchups, an expanding collection of tools are available that can provide you with an extensive level of knowledge. Those results provide the foundation for this weekly statistical breakdown of the wide receiver position, which... Read More

Week 14 Stream Team - Free Agent and Bye-Week Streamers

Now that the playoffs are beginning in most leagues and the final march for a championship has begun, streaming becomes a  necessary strategy. Knowing who to add and when to start them could be the ultimate difference-maker in a weekly matchup. Making the right streaming decisions could easily be the difference in winning a championship.... Read More

Wide Receiver Start/Sit Advice - Week 14

Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano break down the wide receiver position to help with tough fantasy football lineup decisions for Week 14 of the 2019 NFL season. They decide who to start or sit among those in WR3 or flex consideration. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest... Read More

The King's Week 14 Lineup Rankings and Analysis (Premium Content)

Welcome back, RotoBallers! Below you will find my Week 14 fantasy football lineup rankings for the first round of your playoffs. The ranks are available in PPR, Half PPR, and Standard formats. They will be updated as needed, so make sure to check back for the latest versions, especially on the weekends. Skill Position analysis versus... Read More

Fantasy Football Disaster Recovery: Playoff Panic

Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody else on your bench. Disaster Recovery is here to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about starting and to help you decide if you should... Read More

Thursday Night Football Matchups Analysis - Week 14

It's that time of year again! While many will be caught up in the thrills of the holiday season, those lucky few who have risen to the top of their fantasy leagues will be sweating over lineup decisions in pursuit of a championship (in most league formats). To our fantasy owners who have managed to... Read More