Rashaad Penny may miss Week 1 with a finger injury, but should it really impact his fantasy value?
Since Marshawn Lynch retired after the 2015 season, the Seattle Seahawks have struggled to find a running game. After finishing 23rd in the league in rushing last year, they took San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny in the first round of April’s draft with an eye on giving him a lead role.
As an ongoing nod to his success at USC, Pete Carroll consistently creates at atmosphere of competition with the Seahawks. Chris Carson has been working as the No. 1 running back, after a broken leg shortened his 2017 campaign. Any idea Carson will be the starter Week 1 has felt flimsy, but this week’s news may be a step toward solidifying that.
Penny reportedly left practice on Monday with a hand injury, and since the Seahawks didn’t practice Tuesday Carroll did not offer an update. But Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times was first to report Penny has a broken finger and will miss 3-4 weeks.
A 3-4 week timetable post-surgery will bump right up against Seattle’s season opener against the Denver Broncos Sept. 9. Keeping Penny out of that game is possible, and if he does play his role could be limited.
But should upcoming fantasy drafters automatically drop Penny even further down their cheat sheets?
Penny’s average draft position (via Fantasy Football Calculator) was already falling, currently to RB25 (pick 5.03) in 12-team standard leagues and RB28 (pick 6.03) in 12-team full-point PPR leagues. Carson, on the other hand, has risen to RB37 (pick 7.12) in standard leagues and RB39 (pick 8.08) in full-point PPR. It’s too early to see the direct impact of Penny’s injury on each guy’s ADP, but if anything the gap will tighten.
The Broncos were fifth in the league against the run last year, and that translated to allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs (21.1 per game; ESPN PPR scoring). So that game may be one of the worst this year for Seattle’s running backs, regardless of who’s playing or who is the nominal starter.
The prospect of missing one game is not a great detriment to Penny’s fantasy value, and it shouldn’t boost Carson’s stock anymore than depth chart talk already is. If anything, Penny will become a very good draft value if his average draft position continues a downward trend.