In Round 7 of the 2017 draft with pick 249 the Seattle Seahawks selected Chris Carson. That is not the draft capital you expect to be suggested as a dynasty buy. Although there is risk with the draft this week you must understand, Chris Carson is a stud. Simply put, he is a Pro-Bowl running back going into a contract year. He is motivated, in a great situation, and he will win people championships this year.
We live in the Running Back Holdout Era. Tailbacks enter the NFL in the prime of their career ready to make an immediate impact. Most first round running backs play Week 1. Seattle reached for Rashaad Penny at Pick 27 in the 2018 draft. They believed he would handle a major workload out of the gate. Yet Penny has never handled 50% of the teams snaps in any game. Carson is special. Seattle does not look as threatening when he is off the field. Just look at their rematch Week 17 against the 49ers if you don't believe that.
Chris Carson does have a lengthy injury history. He missed most of a college season with a broken thumb, went to IR Week 4 of his rookie season with a broken ankle and now missed the final regular season game as well as the playoff run of 2019 with a fractured hip. Somebody make that boy drink some milk or take some calcium pills. His bones are fragile. Some injuries are just bad luck, but I do think it is fair label Carson as an injury risk. However he has only missed 3 fantasy relevant games in the past 2 seasons which is quite good. To add to the positivity, both Head Coach Pete Carroll and Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer have expressed confidence that Carson will be ready to go Week 1.
Meanwhile, Rashaad Penny, the main threat to Carson's workload, is recovering from an ACL tear and unlikely to be ready for Week 1. OC Schottenheimer even went out of his way to note that Penny has not had to deal with adversity, and therefore we don't know how he will recover from this injury in a recent radio interview. All signs point to one of two things, Carson is the clear-cut starter out the gate in 2020 or they draft someone.
After recently investing high end draft capital in the RB position, it seems unlikely the Seahawks will take a Day 1 or early Day 2 guy with their more significant needs. A low draft capital back is not going to step into a COVID-hampered training camp and beat out a stud like Carson. Success has never been the issue, when healthy, Carson thrives. Whomever Seattle adds is simply going to be a depth option.
Another concern the fantasy community consistently brings against Carson is fumbles. Any fumble is bad, but Carson's 7 fumbles in 2019 is just disgusting with some of them coming in absolutely crushing game situations. Over the past 10 years, only 14 running backs have fumbled more than 5 times in a season, so there's no escaping the fact that fumbling 7 times is historically bad.
In examination of those 14 tailbacks with butter fingers, 4 of them were on the downward trend of their career when they developed a fumbling issue and they don’t relate well to the 25 year old Carson. Of the remaining 10 tailbacks who had 5+ fumbles, half went on to have RB1 seasons the following year. Furthermore, not a single running back fumbled more than 3 times the following season.
Ultimately, fumbling issues can be corrected and rushing success matters more than anything. The chart above shows the tailbacks rushing yards during their 5+ fumble season vs their success shown as fantasy points per game the following season. Ezekiel Elliot, Melvin Gordon, Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, and Ahmad Bradshaw followed up a fumble heavy season with RB1 success. Meanwhile Ameer Abdullah, Jalen Richards, Tarik Cohen, Peyton Hillis, and Steve Slaton faltered the following season. Of the unsuccessful group only Peyton Hillis rushed for more than 600 yards during his fumble heavy season.
We might've been able to include Peyton Hillis in the successful group if it were not for the Madden curse, but he set his fate when he sold out. The ultimate fumble.
When a running back produces yardage on the level that Carson has produced he will get a shot to continue and run the ball for his team. Carson can correct the mistakes that are leading to these fumbles before the season even begins. Heading into a contract season, he will fix the problems and he will go hard in 2020 to earn that future payday.
The market is unwisely down on this solid RB1. With the stock value of first round picks skyrocketing, I would not be surprised to see Carson being sold for picks 1.11 or 1.12 during the draft and that would be absolute theft.
Looking at dynasty startup ADP, Mark Ingram, Michael Gallup, James Conner, TY Hilton, and Kerryon Johnson are being drafted ahead of Carson. The fantasy community is sleeping on this 25 year old Pro-Bowler. Do not make the same mistake, Chris Carson is a stud, get out there and buy him.