By Andrew Erickson (FantasyPros), Fri, Sep 1st 2023, 10:35am EDT
Zach Charbonnet started his college career at Michigan in 2019, where he started ahead of the future NFL draft selection, Hassan Haskins. But in 2020, Charbonnet's numbers regressed in a six-game season for Michigan due to COVID-19. He split time with Haskins again, while also losing out to work to another NFL-drafted Chris Evans and up-and-coming running back star, Blake Corum. Charbonnet was part of a major running back by the committee as a Wolverine so he transferred to UCLA in 2021 and immediately saw his production skyrocket. He would post a 25% dominator rating as a junior, finishing third among all RBs in PFF rushing grade. Charbonnet's 2022 senior production was also elite, as he finished 4th in PFF rushing grade among all RBs topping his grade from the year before. But more importantly, for fantasy purposes, the 6-foot, 214-pound running back improved on his receiving game, catching 37 balls for 320 yards on 44 targets. He posted the 5th-highest PFF receiving grade and tied for first in receptions per game (3.7) among his draft class. The former UCLA running back also finished with the highest positive run rate (57%) and lowest bust rate (4%) among drafted running backs.
The Seattle Seahawks selected Charbonnet in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft (52nd overall) pairing him with last year's second-round pick, Kenneth Walker III. Charbonnet can't deliver the home run rushes like Walker, but he can be trusted to hit doubles as a rusher and receiver consistently. Charbonnet's 3-down skill set combined with his draft capital suggests he will be used by the Seahawks plenty as a rookie, and he could end up being the better fantasy asset compared to Walker, who is currently dealing with a groin injury.
Keep in mind that head coach Pete Carroll is never afraid to shake things up when it comes to his backfield. The team drafted Rashaad Penny in the 1st round of the 2018 NFL Draft. But former 7th-round draft pick Chris Carson was the team's leading rusher in 2018, 2019 and 2020. One of Charbonnet's closest comparisons based on his size and weight is Carson.