There are a lot of reasons why a dynasty general manager will hold on to a specific player. Most believe in their hearts that these players will someday become a stud. In reality, the hype train was all it ever was, just hype. I polled several fantasy general managers from MyFantasyLeague Superflex dynasty leagues and compiled a list of players they just will not give up on. Some of the general managers say they have held onto players in the past because they thought eventually that player would turn into a stud. Others said they were too stubborn to cut them because they had constantly defended their player’s talent. It is one thing to have room on your bench to stash those players, but it is another thing to let them sit there and waste away. During this article series, we will dive deeper into these players and let you know if they are worthy of their roster spot or if they should have a first-class ticket to the waiver wire.
Rashaad Penny, Running Back, Seahawks
In 2014, Rashaad Penny was a three-star recruit out of Norwalk, CA. Recruited mainly by Mountain West Conference schools; he ultimately landed with the San Diego State Aztecs. While at San Diego State, he was the backup running back to Donnell Pumphrey, who in 2016 led the NCAA in rushing attempts, rushing yards, and scrimmage yards. In 2017, after Pumphrey went to the NFL, Penny got his shot at being the starting running back and he did not disappoint. He led the Mountain West Conference in almost every rushing category while also having the most scrimmage yards in the NCAA. He had the fifth-most rushing yards (2,248) in a single season in NCAA history, and was named a Consensus All-American and the 2017 Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year. The 2018 NFL Draft had many good running back prospects, but surprisingly the Seahawks drafted Penny with the 27th overall pick. He was the second running back selected (after Saquon Barkley) and taken ahead of other highly-touted running backs like Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones II, Kerryon Johnson, and Derrius Guice.
After being selected so high in the draft and with a path to playing time, Penny went relatively high in rookie drafts. He had the third highest ADP among rookie running backs per DLF in August 2018, slotting in behind Barkley and Guice. In his rookie season, Penny played in 14 games, rushing 85 times for 419 yards and two touchdowns. He added nine receptions for 75 yards but in their Wild Card playoff game loss at Dallas, he had just 4 carries for 29 yards. Penny’s lack of opportunities stemmed from the breakout of the Seahawks other running back, Chris Carson. In 2018, Carson had 1,151 rushing yards, 20 receptions and nine rushing touchdowns. He did just enough for Penny to be used primarily in a relief role.
In 2019, Penny was on pace to have better numbers, but in Week 14 he went down with an injured ACL and was ruled out for the rest of the year. He had a successful surgery to repair his ligament but will likely be forced to start the 2020 season on the Physically Unable to Perform list and there is the potential he may not be back until November. Depending on when the NFL season actually starts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he may not miss much of the regular season, but no one knows how his rehabilitation will go.
Penny has played 24 games out of a possible 32. Even though the sample size is not that large, Seattle has not made any indication that they are giving up on him. They added University of Miami-FL running back DeeJay Dallas in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but if Penny misses a significant amount of time, Dallas could be a threat to supplanting Penny from the number two spot on the team. They also just added veteran running back Carlos Hyde as insurance if Penny’s rehabilitation goes south, in order to have a competent, experienced backup for Carson.
If you own Penny right now, I would say he is a hold. Carson has a history of injuries and has fumbled the ball ten times over the last two seasons. Carson is also in the final year of his rookie contract, so as early as 2021 Penny could be the lead back in Seattle’s run-heavy offense. Carlos Hyde turns 30 this September and is not the Seahawks long-term running back. Even though 2020 may be a lost season for Penny, you probably will not get much for him at present value. If you can get a high second round rookie pick for him, you should take it and run. If not, hold and hope that his recovery goes swimmingly and he takes the reigns of that Seattle backfield sooner rather than later.
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