Heading into Week 10 of the NFL season, fantasy football players and Seattle Seahawks fans shared a similar concern. Running back Chris Carson, who had excelled in recent weeks, was ruled out for the team’s game against the Los Angeles Rams. After Carson reeled of 100-plus rushing yards in three of four games, he wound up leaving in Week 9 at halftime due to a hip injury. Even in that game, an eventual loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, the 24-year-old impressed.
In total, the last five (technically four and a half) games have featured Carson receiving 98 carries for 422 yards and one touchdown. He’s emerged as the go-to option in the run game for the Seahawks, something that’s typically no easy role to earn on a Pete Carroll-led team. Unfortunately, Carson’s injury against the Chargers was a setback from his red-hot start and left doubt over his immediate availability even beyond Week 10.
After missing that game, Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times revealed that Carroll stated he expects Carson to be ready for Thursday’s Week 11 game against the Green Bay Packers. While this is great news for the young back, it makes for a tricky fantasy situation. The emergence of Rashaad Penny against the Rams can’t be overlooked, and all three backs (including Mike Davis), are expected to be available against the Packers.
With that said, let’s take a look at whether fantasy players should start or sit Carson in Week 11 for the primetime Thursday Night Football matchup.
Should You Start or Sit Chris Carson?
The situation with Penny does worry me from a fantasy standpoint to some extent. Pairing his emergence last game, which featured 12 carries for 108 yards and one touchdown with the fact that the Seahawks could ease Carson back in, there’s concern. Along with that, Seattle certainly didn’t use the No. 27 pick in the NFL draft on a player they have no interest in trying to keep in the mix moving forward.
In the team’s Week 10 game against the Rams, Penny received 27 offensive snaps (per Football Outsiders). This number was behind Davis’ 39, although the former was far more productive. One positive on the situation is that the rookie was active back in Week 9 when Carson left at halftime. In the first half of that game, Carson still had eight carries for 40 yards, so if we can expect 15-plus attempts for him, then it’s a safe play.
Whether to start or sit Carson this week has to come down to your specific situation. The Packers have been in the middle of the pack against running backs, allowing 864 yards and seven touchdowns on 186 attempts. They’ve also given up 41 receptions for 359 yards and one score, courtesy of ESPN.
I’m fine using the Seahawks running back as a flex play in 12-team leagues or larger assuming he’s your best option. The matchup doesn’t scare me off and Carson’s upside is more than a bit appealing, so he’s certainly in play.