21 Value Plays at Running Back

The Footballguys staff finds value at the running back position

A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look through the Top 150 and identify players that should outperform their draft position.

Player Receiving 7 Votes

Chris Carson, Seattle

Drew Davenport: There are plenty of things that can be said about Seattle refusing to let their franchise quarterback throw more passes, but one small benefit of that attitude is that their running backs are going to get lots of opportunities to touch the ball. Everyone knows that in fantasy football opportunities are a huge part of the equation. While Rashad Penny is there to challenge Carson, to date there are no signs that he is going to push Carson for the RB1 touches in this offense. In fact, there are rumblings that Carson may play a bigger role in the passing game. Either way, Carson's modest ADP doesn't reflect the potential he has in this offense. He should easily outperform where he is being selected.

Jeff Haseley: In the last seven weeks of 2018, Chris Carson concluded the season with 654 yards and 7 scores on 136 carries (good enough to be RB5 in that span). In 2018 he was 5th in goal-line carries, 6th in yards created after the first missed tackle, and 3rd in evaded tackles. I find it hard to believe that Seattle won't give him the first chance at the lead running back role and I don't see him relinquishing it once he has it.

Ryan Hester: No team ran the ball more often than Seattle last season, and Carson spearheaded that attack – particularly late in the season. This year, Rashaad Penny should emerge and get a larger piece of the pie. But Mike Davis is no longer with the team, meaning Carson’s role could remain the same or even increase with Penny’s. Carson isn’t a pass-catching back, but he did show the ability to make plays in the passing game with 20 receptions for 163 yards last year. C.J. Prosise and J.D. McKissic are still in the fold to help with the passing game, but neither offers the versatility that Carson does. Carson is the team’s most effective back when it comes to not telegraphing play calls with personnel. If he does earn the lion’s share of Seattle’s work, an RB2 finish is likely, making him a value.

Dan Hindery: Over the second half of the 2018 season, Carson was a top-10 fantasy running back in all scoring formats. That fact shouldn’t be surprising considering the Seahawks were the most run-heavy team in the NFL and Carson was the lead back in the Seahawks three-man rotation at the position. With Mike Davis now in Chicago, the rotation should only include two backs — Carson and Rashaad Penny. By all accounts, Carson will again be the top back. There is no reason he can’t pick up right where he left off and put together a full season of RB1 numbers.

Dwain McFarland: The Seahawks were the most run-heavy team in 2018 under new coordinator Brian Schottenheimer running the ball on 56% of attempts. Whether leading, tied or trailing, it didn’t matter. This team was run-heavy versus the league in every category. In 2019 the goal will again be to lean on the running game and the vertical passing game. With Mike Davis moving on to Chicago the Seahawks backfield likely goes from being a three-way committee down to two. Early this offseason there were rumors of Rashaad Penny eating more into Carson’s opportunities, but so far through camp, Carson has established himself again as the lead back. Both backs are reportedly going to be used more in the passing attack. Carson is likely to see somewhere between 50 and 60% of the rushing attempts, which makes him a value at current ADP.

Matt Waldman: The Rashaad Penny Invasion has lost steam because Penny still has difficulty working between the tackles in Seattle’s run scheme that differs from his years at San Diego State. A good receiver, Penny will earn enough production in the passing game to have fantasy relevance. However, Carson is the back to have in Seattle and the staff likes his development as a receiver to the point that it wants to feed him more often in this phase of the game. Look for Carson to earn the majority of red zone opportunities among the Seahawk running backs and maintain the majority of carries in a high-volume rushing offense that will not be scared into passing even when behind by 10-17 points during the first three-quarters of a game.

Jason Wood: What does Chris Carson have to do to earn respect? He ran for 1,151 yards, caught 20 passes for 163 yards, and scored nine times. He was a workhorse and finished as the No. 14 fantasy back, in spite of missing two games. While some fear Rashaad Penny will vulture touches, his increased role will merely offset Mike Davis’ – who signed with the Bears. Seattle led the league in rushing attempts last year and intends to have the same ball-control, balanced offense again in 2019. Carson was a high-end RB2 a season ago when no one expected it, and now he’s being valued like a middling RB3 when everyone should expect otherwise.

Player Receiving 4 Votes

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