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It's a popular coach cliche to say that it's an 'open competition' even when that's far from the truth. In Seattle, it's absolutely true, especially at running back. I don't even know how to handicap it.
Eddie Lacy is the most decorated running back on the team, but I'm sure you know about his health and conditioning concerns. So far Lacy looks dedicated to football and his conditioning. That should make him the favorite. But don't tell that to Thomas Rawls.
Rawls played through most of a disappointing 2016 injured, but it wasn't enough to erase the memory of 2015 when he ran for 830 yards on just 147 carries (5.6 YPC). Rawls looked like the heir to Marshawn Lynch's legacy with the same violent running style to boot. If Rawls is healthy he will not go quietly.
The one guy who should have his role guaranteed is C.J. Prosise. Prosise brings an element in the passing game that neither Rawls or Lacy do. The negative for Prosise is that he seems like the least likely to earn early down work. Prosise's ceiling in 2016 may be a Danny Woodhead-like role, but we've seen how valuable that can be in PPR.
Of course, the top three Fantasy assets aren't even running backs. So we should probably talk about those guys as well.
*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.
|Player Name||Expected FP||Position Rank||Expected PPR FP||Position Rank|
Doug Baldwin SEA WR
Jimmy Graham SEA TE
Russell Wilson SEA QB
Eddie Lacy SEA RB
Tyler Lockett SEA WR
C.J. Prosise SEA RB
Thomas Rawls SEA RB
Breaking down the touches
The Seahawks only ran the ball 403 times in 2016 after rushing it more than 500 times in 2015 and 2014. They've vowed not to make that mistake again. That tells you that Russell Wilson also won't likely approach last year's 567 pass attempts. I've slotted Wilson for 540 pass attempts and the team for 450 rush attempts. While that's still more pass happy than they used to be, I expect they'll use the short passing game with Prosise to simulate a running game at times.
We know that 200-plus of those targets are going to Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, but after that it gets a bit tricky. I still believe in Tyler Lockett's talent, but he is really pushing the "assume health" motto of this series. Lockett started camp on the PUP but coach Pete Carroll said he didn't think it would be a long stay. If Lockett can't get healthy that could open the door for Paul Richardson, who has started camp working with the first team.
- I'm expecting a time share between all three backs to start the season with Lacy eventually winning the job outright. If he's named the starter early in camp, I'll adjust his touches upward.
- If Lockett is unable to get healthy and Richardson wins the job, he has some upside. He made a pair of spectacular plays in the postseason but also hasn't been able to stay healthy.
Kearse is really the only guy who could be heavily involved we haven't covered, and there's nothing exciting about him. Kearse is and excellent at run blocker, and that's kept him on the field. But from a pure Fantasy perspective, the most exciting thing that could happen would be if Baldwin, Lockett and Richardson were the team's top three receivers.