We are now less than a week away from the start of the 2022 fantasy football season which means the more fantasy football drafts we see completed and the more questions people have regarding certain players. You can take a look at the fantasy football player rankings and get a feel for things so long as they are routinely updated like we do here in our free fantasy football draft guide. You can also look at things like fantasy football ADP and fantasy football mock drafts to help gather some public opinion, but there is still that inkling of doubt/concern that creeps into your mind. This is why we are doing this series of fantasy football player debates – to answer those questions.
What can we expect from Rashaad Penny this season in fantasy football? After looking like a first-round bust for the first few seasons of his career he finally exploded int he second half of the 2021 fantasy football season finishing as the RB1 from Week 14 til the end of the regular season. The question now stands to be whether or not he is the real deal or a one-hit wonder? Andrew Cooper and James Grande debate whether or not your should be looking to draft Rashaad Penny this season.
You Should Be looking to draft Rashaad Penny at his ADP
By: James Grande
It hasn’t been the easiest thing to do to keep the doubters at bay regarding Rashaad Penny and his fantasy football upside. In fact, it’s felt a little 300-ish, maybe even a little Jon Snow versus the Night King and all the White Walkers. That being said, he gave us truthers a glimmer of hope in the final five games of last season. A ray of hope of what Penny can do if he’s healthy, which he enters the 2022 season healthy.
The first question we have to ask ourselves about Penny’s fantasy value is what does the second-round draft pick of Kenneth Walker III mean? It definitely means something for Seattle’s future, but it doesn’t necessarily mean Walker’s going to win the job at any point outright this year. Let’s start with the fact that Walker has missed all of training camp and didn’t suit up for ANY preseason games due to surgery on his hernia. Not the best start for a rookie running back trying to learn the system.
This offseason, the Seahawks gave Rashaad Penny a $5.6M Extension that included a $4M signing bonus and nearly $5.1M guaranteed. That contract was signed around a month before the draft when they could’ve elected against re-signing him and honed in on a running back in the draft instead. Does that sound like a contract they’d hand out if they didn’t have plans on featuring Penny as their lead back this year?
Now let’s get to the on-the-field stuff. We finally got to see Penny with fairly decent data and he did not disappoint. Over his last five games of the year, Penny saw 11-plus carries in each game, with 16 or more in four of five. In all four games that he saw 16 or more carries, he topped 130 yards rushing. Over that five-game span, he eclipsed 671 yards on 92 carries, which averages out to 7.2 YPC, a number you see every day, right? RIGHT? Obviously, that’s not something that is sustainable, but Penny showed what he can do when given an RB1’s workload.
Let’s not forget who the Seahawks have a quarterback and who they named the starter for Week 1; Geno Smith. Smith made three starts last season and threw the ball 32, 22, and 24 times. In his first start, Alex Collins had 20 carries. In Smith’s second outing, Collins had 16 and Penny had six totes and in his final outing before Russell Wilson returned, Collins, Penny, and Travis Homer combined for 21 carries, with Collins leading the way with 10. Smith’s last two starts were Penny’s first two games back from injury. If Seattle turns to Drew Lock at some point this year, it was similar for Lock in Denver. In his three starts, he did not throw more than 25 times as Denver leaned on a run-heavy attack to ensure they held onto the ball. Lock hasn’t been the most trustworthy quarterback with the ball.
According to our aggregate ADP, Penny is being drafted as the RB31 right now. Amongst all the running backs around that number, name one that you are convinced has as much upside as Penny showed last season. Devin Singletary? No. Miles Sanders? We know how much competition he has. Kareem Hunt? He’s the backup that wants to be traded. Penny will have every opportunity to seal the job up early in the year. Penny has had injury issues in the past, but every running back has injuries. The 26-year-old back is healthy and ready to crush his current ADP.
You Need To Be Fading Rashaad Penny at His ADP
By: Andrew Cooper
In the NFL, running the football is the luxury of the winning team. Everyone knows that. When push comes to shove, winning teams can run the clock down while losing teams are forced to throw. That’s a big part of why the vast majority of elite fantasy running backs come from high-end offenses. Here’s a look at the top 10 backs last year in half PPR with the offensive rank in terms of points per game.
Essentially you have two types of guys here. Guys that come from top 10 scoring offenses. And guys that were leaned on as focal points of their offense, playing on both run downs and pass downs. That’s what we want for our fantasy teams.
Now, let’s take a look at where the Seahawks might stack up this year. Here are the bottom five teams in terms of over/under win totals and the cost to bet the over, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
Pretty squarely in the bottom five there. They have them set at 5.5 and, with a line over -125, they are INVITING you to bet the over there. Not great, Bob. If we look a the bottom five teams in offensive scoring last year, the best running back to come out of there is the Jaguars’ James Robinson who finished as the RB24 in half PPR. Just barely a backend RB2.
If we are ever going to bet on a back from a low-end offense, we need that back to be a STAR. And they absolutely need to catch passes if the team is going to be playing from behind. I’m talking about Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey, or Saquon Barkely level of skill if you are going to transcend a terrible offense and provide value in fantasy football. All of those guys have 100+ target seasons on their resume. Or at least give me a Najee Harris-type player who is never coming off the field - he managed 94 targets on the Steelers. In Rashaad Penny’s career thus far, through four seasons, he doesn’t have 100 targets combined. In fact, he doesn’t even half half that. He has 31 career targets. He has never caught 10 passes in a season. His career high is nine, as a rookie. Not exactly Austin Ekeler we are dealing with over here.
And all that is without getting into the fact that Penny has been injured in every single season he’s been in the league. And that’s also without talking about how the team declined to pick up his fifth-year option, only bringing him back when they realized the neck injury for Chris Carson was career-threatening. And that’s also without mentioning that the Seahawks went and drafted the second running back off the board in the 2022 NFL draft. They took Kenneth Walker early in the second roound, only a couple picks behind the top back Breece Hal. No, we don’t really even need to get too deep into all of that. Because he’s a running back that doesn’t catch passes on a bottom-shelf offense led by Geno Smith. You can do better than that.
Now that you've heard both sides to the argument, which one speaks to you the most? Tell us on the Fantasy Alarm Twitter page!
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