There are several NFL players whose dynasty value seems to be a point of contention throughout the dynasty community. This “discord” is important for dynasty owners to understand, both for new startup drafts, and also for understanding player value when trying to make trades to improve their teams throughout the season and make a run to towards a championship.
The more informed owners are about dynasty player values, the more they’ll be able to target players who are being undervalued and capitalize on players whose values are inflated.
One such player is Seattle Seahawks rookie running back, Rashaad Penny. Penny was a standout running back at San Diego State University, rushing for 3,656 yards and 38 touchdowns in his four years at the school.
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
Statistics from Sports-Reference.com.
His most productive season was his senior year, following the departure of fellow NFL running back Donnel Pumphrey, when he ran for 2,248 yards and 23 touchdowns. Penny followed up his senior season success with a solid Senior Bowl performance, rushing for 64 yards on nine carries and catching a 73-yard touchdown pass.
This performance, along with his outstanding collegiate production, saw him solidly in the discussion as a first round rookie pick in early dynasty rookie drafts and mocks. In DLF’s February Rookie ADP, Penny was going around pick nine, but saw a wide range in regards to where he was being drafted (as high as four and as low as 16).
Over the next several months, Penny’s stock slowly rose, and peaked at pick four in DLF’s May Rookie ADP. He went as high as pick two in one of my rookie drafts, and as low as pick seven. Penny’s overall ADP also dramatically rose from February to May as well, seeing him jump almost three full rounds (from pick 75 to pick 43 overall).
ADP data from Penny’s DLF Player Page.
Penny’s current ADP is sitting at pick 39. Some in the fantasy community see him as a breakout rookie candidate. Others seem to think he is being greatly overvalued. Let’s take a look at a few of the factors playing into these opposing viewpoints.
Supporters of Penny will almost certainly point to his draft capital. He was selected with the 27th overall selection in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.
He was also the second running back taken in the draft behind only Saquon Barkley, and ahead of other talented running backs such as Derrius Guice, Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, Royce Freeman, Ronald Jones, and Kerryon Johnson. It’s not often that teams will draft a running back in the first round if they aren’t expected to use them.
Penny should have a great opportunity to play early and often in the Seattle backfield. He joins a backfield that returns Chris Carson, Mike Davis, C.J. Prosise, and J.D. McKissic, who combined for only 658 yards rushing last season. The Seahawks finished the 2017 NFL season 23rd in rushing offense, with 1,629 yards. If you remove Russell Wilson’s 586 rushing yards, they would have finished dead last.
The assumption is that Penny should become the best option in that backfield sooner rather than later, even with Pete Carroll’s affinity for Carson. However, Carson has run well this preseason and it sounds like he may be the starter to open the regular season. The injury to Penny’s hand that includes a broken finger certainly didn’t help him as far as starting the season goes. He lost valuable time in camp and the preseason. Still, the hope is that he will be ready to contribute sometime in the first few weeks of the regular season.
The Offensive Line
If you watched any Seahawks games last season, you probably noticed pretty quickly how bad the offensive line was. The runnings backs were running into walls, and Russell Wilson was either on the ground or running for his life on nearly every play. Seattle’s offensive line trouble in 2017 is no secret. Football Outsiders had the Seahawks ranked 31st in the NFL in adjusted line yards at the end of the 2017 season. The question is, have they improved enough up front to give us any confidence in the Seattle run game in 2018?
The addition of Duane Brown during the season seemed to help, and the Hawks added D.J. Fluker in the off-season. They looked better this preseason in limited time, but will need to continue to improve if Penny has any shot at making himself worth his ADP where it stands currently. While his dynasty outlook is still looking up, the growth of the offensive line in Seattle will be something to continue to watch related to Penny’s career in Seattle.
There are several things to like about Rashaad Penny and a few things to keep an eye on as possible concerns. His collegiate production, draft capital, and opportunity in the Seattle backfield will certainly make him a player that will be attractive to own by dynasty owners. Keep an eye out on the offensive line and Chris Carson’s usage and production throughout the season and moving forward.