Note: Chris Carson announced his retirement in July. We are keeping the following content for historical reference, as managers weigh draft decisions concerning Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker III.
1Massive range of outcomes due to health questions
Chris Carson’s neck surgery is central to any discussion of potential fantasy outcomes. He might not play this year. He could retire. He could get a clean bill of health and be part of a one-two or one-two-three backfield punch. His range of outcomes was fairly narrow in recent years as a proven bell cow. Now, his most realistic optimal outcome translates to 8-10 touches per game, including several targets, but again, only if he’s fully recovered for this season.
2Realistic floor: zero fantasy points
His floor, therefore, is zero fantasy points. There’s no other way to slice it. Most third-string RBs have higher floors, and some even have higher ceilings.
3Narrow path to fantasy relevance
There’s a very narrow path Carson is both A) healthy, and B) placed in a reserve No. 3 role as the team feeds Rashaad Penny and rookie Kenneth Walker III. If Seattle falters as it did last year, the team could opt to sit Penny and Walker down the stretch in meaningless games, giving the ball back to a (presumably) healthy Carson to close out the season. This franchise has been plagued with serious injuries to key offensive players. Once 2023 becomes a higher priority than 2022, we could envision a healthy Carson returning top-24 fantasy value in Weeks 17 and 18 as the featured back.