Fantasy Impact: Carlos Hyde Signed by Seahawks
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After running through their options at running back, the Seattle Seahawks signed Carlos Hyde to a one-year deal. Hyde, entering his age-30 season, is coming off his first year with 1,000-plus rushing yards.
The Seahawks also showed interest in Devonta Freeman, as it seems the team wanted some injury insurance. Both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny suffered season-ending injuries last season, and Penny probably won’t be ready for Week 1.
CARLOS HYDE: JOURNEYMAN RUNNING BACK
You’ve heard of journeyman quarterbacks, but no one quite embodies the phrase “journeyman running back,” much as Hyde. Seattle will be Hyde’s fifth team since 2017, as he’s made stops in Cleveland, Jacksonville, and Houston after his departure from San Francisco.
Hyde brings lots of consistency to Seattle’s rushing attack. Hyde has rushed for at least 500 yards every season since 2016, and he earned at least 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2019, 2017, and 2016. That’s pretty reliable production.
Also, his 4.4 yards per carry were pretty solid behind Houston’s offensive line, which ranked 21st in run blocking. Seattle’s ranked 16th, so he’ll have a bit of an upgrade.
Hyde manages to find yards where others can’t. He ranked fifth in beating the number of yards that he’d be expected to earn on a given play.
If you're a Seahawks fan and want a reason for optimism, this cool @StatsbyLopez post found Carlos Hyde as fifth-highest in 2019 in terms of median percentile of exceeding expected yardage using #BigDataBowl results (Carson #3!) https://t.co/jLlj32RZrP pic.twitter.com/fKXwJ7byRn
— Ben Baldwin (@benbbaldwin) May 22, 2020
We can also measure Hyde’s consistency through the success rate of his running plays. Of the 45 players with at least 100 rushing attempts, Hyde ranked 13th in this metric with a rate of 52 percent. That ties him with Alvin Kamara, Kerryon Johnson, and Marlon Mack. For all of Hyde’s success, however, he doesn’t often get more yards than he needs to on a given play. Worse, he finished tied for third in fumbles among those 45 players, as he put the ball on the ground four times in 2019.
SEATTLE, 2020: CARSON VS. HYDE?
If I had to pick one player to compare with Hyde, it would be Chris Carson. Unfortunately, now they’re both on the same team, so they’ll have to compete for carries. Like Hyde, Carson ranked highly in beating the number of yards he was expected to earn on a given play. He also posted a high success rate on his runs — 57 percent — ranking him third. And again, also like Hyde, he struggled with ball security. Carson’s six fumbles were the most among all running backs.
The upshot for Hyde and Carson is that we’ve seen them maintain their fantasy relevance in committee backfields. Carson balanced work with Rashaad Penny, C.J. Prosise, and Travis Homer during 2019, and he finished as the PPR RB10 last year. That said, Carson frequently earned massive workloads, as he played 75 percent or more of the snaps in nine of the Seahawks’ 16 games in 2019, and those boosted his fantasy performance. His total snaps correlated highly with his fantasy points per game, and a decrease would hurt his fantasy value.
Unlike Carson, Hyde never played more than 75 percent of his team’s snaps. On the season, he earned 538 snaps to Duke Johnson’s 531, an incredibly even split. Hyde turned his limited workload into an RB26 finish, making him a low-end RB2 or high-end RB3. On a weekly basis, Hyde often finished worse than the RB30, but he posted five performances of RB29 or better in PPR: RB10 (Week 6), RB21 (Week 9), RB23 (Week 11), RB15 (Week 15), and RB29 (Week 16). With only 10 catches on the year, Hyde was a better option in standard or Half-PPR formats.
I’m not going to write much about Rashaad Penny simply because there’s not much to say. The 2018 first-round pick has only 173 career touches, and while he’s flashed immense potential in some of his games, there’s no guarantee we see him on the field until late 2019. With coronavirus monkeywrenching teams’ plans, I’m not confident in the Seahawks’ ability to get him recovered and back in game shape.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Hyde signing significantly changes how I evaluate Seattle’s backfield. For PPR leagues, Hyde is currently the RB78 in our ECR, but I think he’s more of a low-end RB3. He belongs somewhere around Tevin Coleman (RB45) and Duke Johnson (RB46). He’s at least a mid-tier RB3 in standard formats.
In contrast, Chris Carson’s value plummets. He’s the RB17 in our ECR, but the competition he’ll have to deal with from Hyde knocks him into the low-end RB2 range. Pete Carroll loves to play the hot hand, and Carson’s fumbling issues won’t help him stay on the field, either. Although Seattle insists that Carson is still the lead guy, you have to read the tea leaves here and lower his value. Carson belongs somewhere around Kareem Hunt (RB27) and Raheem Mostert (RB28).
The biggest factor keeping these guys on my fantasy radar is Seattle’s passion for running the football. Seattle ranked third in rushing attempts last year with 481, so all their backs should see the field plenty. And if either Hyde or Carson were to get hurt, the other would become a volume-driven RB1 like Carson was for most of last season.
Lastly, Rashaad Penny loses all redraft fantasy value except in leagues with a reserve slot. Penny should start the year on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, so he makes for a great high-upside stash. Unfortunately, the increased competition in Seattle doesn’t bode well for his floor, so you might need an injury to Carson or Hyde for him to pay off at all.