DAY 3: CHRIS CARSON
In one week’s time, free agency officially begins, and for all intents and purposes, Chris Carson is going to find himself on a new team. Before running down his stats, here is a shortlist of teams that might be interested in Carson and whether or not they'd make a viable new home for him. His current home with the Seattle Seahawks is unlikely because they don't want to spend big to keep a fifth year running back on the team who’s both fumble and injury prone (if you even believe in those things) and looking for his first big contract. Also, don’t expect him to go somewhere that has a solid running game in place such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Minnesota Vikings. He needs to be in an offense where he can be the starter while also getting help on third down, so instead, expect a team like the Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons or Miami Dolphins to sign him this offseason. Wherever he lands will only matter somewhat, however, so let’s talk about what does matter: how good is Chris Carson, really?
After toting the rock 18.5 times a game for 1,230 total yards (5th most in the NFL) and nine total touchdowns in 2019, Carson found himself as the RB 11 in fantasy football. 2020 wasn’t that different a story for the former Oklahoma Sooner, who finished as RB 17, averaging 14.1 points a game. Yes, Pete Carrol loves to run the ball, but Carson only averaged 11.8 carries a game and 36% of the offensive snaps last season. He’s been productive while getting a full workload and while not getting a full workload, and this comes all while his fumbling issues appear to have gotten better, albeit on a smaller sample size. Last year felt a little more up and down for him with his knee injury in week three followed by the foot injury in week seven that led to him missing the next four games. If you look at it though, he was reliable for a majority of the season, up until week 15, when you desperately needed him. Those last two to three games, depending if you play into week 17 (don’t do that, have more respect for yourself,) left a bad taste in the mouths of Chris Carson managers. He finished as an RB 2 or better in over 50% of games this past year, which is down from both 2018 and 2019 where he finished over 70% of games as RB 2 or better.
Despite this, those last three games aren’t a reflection of Carson’s talents. Rather, Carson is a solid back that will go somewhere where he’s the lead back but not the only back. He’s been high up the running back charts in good seasons and in “bad”, so that’s where he should be expected to rank, no matter where he goes: a SOLID RB 2.