Fantasy Factor: Seattle’s Running Backs


By Zack Cimini


Seattle like most teams was in desperation mode to make moves to improve their team. Rather than making silent quiet signings and build through draft picks, they decided to bust out an array of bold moves. First they went after arguably the highest profiled college coach out there, and one that has had semi success before in the NFL ranks. Pete Carroll brings the dynamic of transforming the way he was able to mold young players at USC to maybe doing the same with young NFL contract athletes trying to fulfill their first contract obligations.

A city that is still reeling from the loss of an NBA franchise, Seattle, hopes that a revival to the years of Shaun Alexander’s breakout years is back. The division that the Seahawks dominated in laughable fashion for years after the realignment suddenly shifted to Arizona and San Francisco. It all started with the debacle of letting Steve Hutchinson sign with the Minnesota Vikings, and than countering that deal by unloading the same type of money on bust receiver Nate Burelson. From their Shaun Alexander tanked quicker than the media and NBA fans have on LeBron James. Their veteran quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck just could not avoid injuries the past few years, and had little support on the offensive side of the football.

Pete Carroll is not one to sit back and he has instantly made some trades that he thinks can boost this team now. Divisional foes come in with just as many question marks as Seattle so these type of moves could send strong signals to the teams veterans and ignite them in the right direction. After all Arizona will be running with either Derek Anderson or Matt Leinart, and San Francisco is finally setting forth their confidence with Alex Smith.

The head scratching trade for Charlie Whitehurst was a hot topic for multiple days, but one that did not get as much hype was the trades for Leon Washington and Lendale White. Even though Julius Jones is still on the team we do not expect that to remain through training camp. Towards the end of last season Justin Forsett was the main back for Seattle. Jones has struggled to reign in solid years with little to no competition the past several years, especially when he was paired with Edgerrin James.

Carroll thinks he can end White’s up and down battle in his NFL career with weight, alcohol, and commitment to football shape(conditioning). White’s already responded well by showing up to mini camp and what some would say the best shape he has for NFL mini camps. Linking with Carroll has seemed to put a flashback energize in him. White has already been a carousel fantasy back throughout his career. What could we expect from him as a feature back, as he is expected to be in Seattle? With fantasy owners not sure of how Seattle will share carries and their offensive woes the past few seasons, White will be a strong fantasy sleeper.

Last year he was just put aside completely by the emergence of Chris Johnson. The two seasons before last year though he was putting up monster touchdown numbers as an overweight and questionable work ethic athlete. He is still only 25, and double digit touchdowns entering the fold for White is a realistic outlook.

Than you have the flash and dash factor of Leon Washington. A back that has been dangerous in every phase of the game once he has his hands on the football. Call it crazy, but doesn’t it look like Carroll’s trying to build a backfield similar to his days at USC…..Bush/White. Washington’s role has yet to be determined and could stay just about the same as it was with New York. The thing about Washington though is he is a capable enough back to supplant White if White lets up and loses focus as he tends to do throughout a season. If so, we could see Carroll easily losing his patience and shifting the majority of carries to Washington. Even though Washington has never been a prime feature back, his yards per carry have been among the best in the league since he came into the league.

Heading into your early fantasy June drafts, White is the lone obvious strong back to draft from Seattle. He should get double digit touchdowns and if he is a feature back getting 15-20 carries than a 1,000 yard season should not be far sighted. Washington’s role and fantasy impact will depend more on training camp and preseason work. Injuries or depth chart movements could turn Washington from a late round June fantasy pick, to a serious sleeper in August/September.



You must be logged in to post a comment.