Game-By-Game Projections: Chris Carson (2020 Fantasy Football)
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One of the strongest running backs of the 2019 season, Carson returns for a 2020 season that has some question marks surrounding it. Carson fumbled seven times last season (most among running backs), and he’s shown that ball security is an issue. He began to cede touches to Rashaad Penny as the year wore on before a torn ACL ultimately ended Penny’s season. Carson’s hold on the backfield seemed straightforward, but the off-season signing of Carlos Hyde threw a monkey wrench into the equation. Coming off a career year, how will Carson fare in 2020? Let’s find out with game-by-game projections.
Week 1: @ Falcons
Seattle gets a friendly draw to open the 2020 campaign, and Carson takes full advantage of Atlanta’s deficiencies on defense. With Rashaad Penny on the PUP list, Carson and Carlos Hyde combine for 25 attempts as the ‘Hawks get the win. Still clearly in command of the backfield, Carson sees a healthy 20 touches and puts up one of the best performances of the week at his position.
Predicted stat line: 17 rush attempts, 89 rush yards, 1 rush TDs; 3 receptions, 26 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (19.0 fantasy points)
Week 2: vs. Patriots
Seattle faces a stout Belichick defense here, but the ‘Hawks are at home in front of the 12th Man and take down the hated Patriots. Carson takes another healthy dose of carries, and though his yards per carry average is minimal, he hammers out 52 yards on the ground and punches in a short score. A quick catch over the middle inside the 10 gives Carson his second touchdown of the day as his impressive start to the season continues.
Predicted stat line: 16 rush attempts, 52 rush yards, 1 rush TDs; 2 receptions, 9 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (19.1 fantasy points)
Week 3: vs. Cowboys
A Week 3 matchup with Dallas sees Carson get moderate returns on his 15 carries, though Carlos Hyde vultures a goal-line touchdown. It’s a disappointing week for Carson, even as Seattle scores 25 points.
Predicted stat line: 15 rush attempts, 69 rush yards, 0 rush TDs; 0 receptions, 0 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (6.9 fantasy points)
Week 4: @ Dolphins
Miami’s defense will look to take a step forward in 2020 thanks to some additions, but this unit was gashed for 135.4 rushing yards per game in 2019. Even a marked improvement still leaves Miami’s defense vulnerable to a strong running game. Seattle comes to town in Week 4 and gets a surprisingly-tough matchup, but Carson grinds out 75 yards and takes a couple of screen passes for 30 yards. It’s a 100-yard day with a score for Carson in this one.
Predicted stat line: 15 rush attempts, 75 rush yards, 1 rush TDs; 2 receptions, 30 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (17.5 fantasy points)
Week 5: Vikings
Seattle faces Minnesota in the final game before the bye, and Carson lets down fantasy owners a week after going off in Miami. Minnesota’s defense bottles up Seattle’s run game, and Carson puts the ball on the turf twice. He doesn’t lose the fumbles, but it’s bad timing before Rashaad Penny’s Week 7 return.
Predicted stat line: 14 rush attempts, 46 rush yards, 0 rush TDs; 3 receptions, 19 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (8.0 fantasy points)
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: @ Cardinals
In his first game back, Penny sits the bench as a precautionary measure. Carson and Hyde rattle of 32 carries and exploit Arizona’s soft run defense for over 200 yards on the ground. Carson erupts for his best game of the season thanks to a huge rushing line and a touchdown. Arizona moves the ball steadily all game and Seattle counters with time of possession domination to seal a close victory.
Predicted stat line: 20 rush attempts, 122 rush yards, 1 rush TDs; 3 receptions, 11 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (20.8 fantasy points)
Week 8: vs. 49ers
Despite facing San Fran’s elite defense, Carson gets one more bulky workload as Penny begins to get his feet under him following an extended absence. Carson’s 16 carries fail to translate into many yards, but a long D.K. Metcalf catch-and-run sets him up for a three-yard score in the third quarter. A costly fourth-quarter fumble sets up the 49ers for a game-winning field goal, and Carson is benched for the remainder of the game. Carlos Hyde logs 12 carries for the second game in a row.
Predicted stat line: 16 rush attempts, 48 rush yards, 1 rush TDs; 2 receptions, 7 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (12.5 fantasy points)
Week 9: @ Bills
Seattle travels to Buffalo in Week 9 to face a strong Bills defense. Carson logs 13 carries, but Rashaad Penny and Carlos Hyde combine for 14 as the first cracks in Carson’s season begin to emerge.
Predicted stat line: 13 rush attempts, 61 rush yards, 0 rush TDs; 2 receptions, 3 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (7.4 fantasy points)
Week 10: @ Rams
Carson’s carries reach a season-low 11, as the tandem of Penny and Hyde combine for 15 of their own. A discouraging output from Carson is saved thanks to a well-executed screen that he takes to the house. It’s clear that he’s clinging to lead-back duties by the skin of his teeth at this point in the season.
Predicted stat line: 11 rush attempts, 50 rush yards, 0 rush TDs; 1 receptions, 23 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (13.8 fantasy points)
Week 11: vs. Cardinals
Carson receives 15 carries and goes for nearly 100 yards in this one, though Seattle gives Hyde and Penny 20 combined touches and two total touchdowns in another high-scoring divisional affair. It’s the last time Carson will sniff 100 yards in 2020, as his workload and production decrease over the final quarter of the season.
Predicted stat line: 15 rush attempts, 83 rush yards, 0 rush TDs; 1 receptions, 8 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (9.6 fantasy points)
Week 12: @ Eagles
Carson leads the backfield individually in carries, though once again, Penny and Hyde outpace him in Week 12. The committee fails to do much against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, and Carson owners scratch their heads in collective disbelief.
Predicted stat line: 14 rush attempts, 66 rush yards, 0 rush TDs; 0 receptions, 0 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (6.6 fantasy points)
Week 13: vs. Giants
Carson logs only 12 carries, but Seattle takes advantage of New York’s exploitable defense, and he runs for over 5.0 yards per carry. A long bomb to Tyler Lockett sets up Seattle at the Giants’ 10-yard line, and Carson runs it in on the team’s first carry inside the red zone.
Predicted stat line: 12 rush attempts, 64 rush yards, 1 rush TDs; 0 receptions, 0 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (12.4 fantasy points)
Week 14: vs. Jets
Predicted stat line: 13 rush attempts, 54 rush yards, 0 rush TDs; 2 receptions, 16 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (8.0 fantasy points)
Week 15: @ Redskins
As Carson’s role declines in the offense, he logs just 11 carries against an improved Redskins front. Carson fails to provide much value for fantasy owners in this one, and he barely tops 50 total yards.
Predicted stat line: 11 rush attempts, 47 rush yards, 0 rush TDs; 1 receptions, 5 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (5.7 fantasy points)
Week 16: vs. Rams
With Penny and Hyde rolling, Carson sees a near even timeshare and logs a season-low 10 carries in Seattle’s final home game of the year. Fortunately for fantasy owners, he’s given the ball around the goal line and scores his final touchdown of the season.
Predicted stat line: 10 rush attempts, 42 rush yards, 1 rush TDs; 1 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (12.1 fantasy points)
Week 17: @ 49ers
The final game of the season is a hard-fought divisional matchup in the Bay, and Carson records a season-low rushing total. He buoys it with a couple of receptions but fails to get on the board with a touchdown. Carson ends the season with his fewest carries in three years and though he leads the backfield in total touches, it’s not by a cavernous margin.
Predicted stat line: 12 rush attempts, 39 rush yards, 0 rush TDs; 2 receptions, 27 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (7.6 fantasy points)
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Carson will be back for one of the league’s most run-heavy offenses, but the addition of Carlos Hyde is not a welcomed one. Rashaad Penny will possibly open the season on the PUP list after tearing his ACL late last season, and it’s possible he doesn’t see his first NFL action until Week 7. Carson should lead the backfield by a comfortable margin early in the season, but it’s likely that issues with fumbles, the return of Penny, and a strong showing from Hyde hinder his season. Carson won’t return the type of value he did in 2019, but his outlook is still that of a low-end RB2 given the nearly 250 touches he should receive. Our Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) currently list Carson as the RB16.
2019 stats: 278 rush attempts, 1,230 rush yards, 7 rush TDs; 37 receptions, 266 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs
2020 prediction: 224 rush attempts, 1,007 rush yards, 7 rush TDs; 25 receptions, 198 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs