2017 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Can Chris Carson run away with the job in Seattle?
Chris Carson wasn't on Fantasy radars to open training camp, but he's opened some eyes. Dave Richard looks at the situation in Seattle.
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There are plenty of running back situations in the NFL that are still being sorted out as we head into the third week of preseason action. I took a look at one such situation Wednesday, in a breakdown of Kareem Hunt's . Despite Hunt's success last week, that's still a tough situation to sort out.
However, it's all relative. Compared to the Seahawks' quartet of question marks, things are crystal clear in Kansas City, for example.
Both Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise missed the Hawks' last game against the Vikings Friday. Rawls' ankle is hurting again, and coaches have started wondering aloud whether or not Prosise can stay healthy after straining his groin in pregame workouts.
They'll both be healthy again soon, but for how long? And even when they're healthy, just how much work will they have all to themselves?
Meanwhile, Eddie Lacy and Chris Carson split reps for the Seahawks. Lacy started but gave way to Carson with the first-team unit, splitting intermittently, but with Carson taking on far more third-down snaps.
The biggest concern of all in Seattle is the offensive line, which struggled to run block consistently -- and that was before left tackle George Fant tore his ACL. While Seattle's front five did okay in pass protection, there were some issues in run blocking. That combination -- so-so run blocking and slow feet -- typically doesn't usually end well, as we saw in Seattle all last season.
That's a big reason why Lacy struggled to the tune of 3.3 yards per rush. His best run came from Lacy staying on his feet to pick up a few extra yards after his blockers didn't make much space for him. He overran one carry and was too tall on another short-yardage attempt. In fact, Lacy struggled to convert multiple short-yardage tries on the Seahawks first drive. That's a bad sign for a dude whose biggest strength is supposed to be just that -- his strength.
Even if he's playing at a weight the Seahawks' coaches are cool with, it's hard to see him having a monster year behind this line. I'd be nervous having him on my Fantasy team.
On the other hand, Carson impressed. The 6-foot, 218-pounder flashed pretty good speed, hands and patience for the second week in a row. The decision by the coaches to give Carson more third-down work either hints at him in a potential passing downs role as a potential replacement for Prosise, or means Lacy will almost never be on the field on passing downs.
Carson wasn't known for his hands at Oklahoma State, catching just 30 passes in two seasons, but he looked like a natural. Moreover, Carson is the kind of physical, downhill running back the Seahawks seem to love.
Given the injury track record of Rawls and Prosise as well as Lacy's own deficiencies, Carson could be a sneaky late-round Fantasy stash, albeit one Fantasy owners would need plenty of patience with. If the Seahawks decide to part with any of the rushers ahead of Carson on the depth chart, or if we see Carson continue to get lots of first-team snaps in preseason Week 3, then he'll become a fixture around Round 11 in drafts.
Ultimately, the Seahawks runners could be a mix-and-match unit all season long. Rawls and Lacy figure to split running downs work, while Prosise picks up the passing downs. Carson provides depth until any of the above get hurt or stink. Mesh all of that with an offensive line that wasn't improved enough this offseason, and it could be a team to stay away from in Fantasy.
The soonest any Seahawks rusher should get picked is Round 8, with Rawls getting that "honor." Everyone else should come off the board in the double-digit rounds.
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