Scott Engel is in his 12th year as the official Fantasy Football writer and analyst for Seahawks.com. He is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. Scott is a four-time FSWA award winner and a 12-time nominee. You can find more of his fantasy football analysis at The Game Day.
In the storied history of the Seattle Seahawks, the team has frequently featured some of the NFL's top running backs. Fantasy football players have looked to the Seahawks for winning fantasy production since the early days of the interactive game. Curt Warner was the first Seahawks running back to be regarded as one of the best in fantasy football in the 1980s.
In the 1990s, Chris Warren and Ricky Watters were among the Seattle RBs who were key performers on many fantasy championship teams. They were followed in the Seahawks running back timeline by the two franchise legends who topped our most recent list of the Greatest Fantasy Football Players in Seattle Seahawks History. Shaun Alexander was worthy of a No. 1 overall fantasy pick in his prime, and Marshawn Lynch was a regular first-round pick in the past decade.
Last season, Kenneth Walker III leaped into fantasy prominence as a rookie and looked like he had the promise to eventually end up on our esteemed list of all-timers. Now he is joined in the Seahawks RB room by 2023 second-round pick Zach Charbonnet from UCLA. Fantasy football players can once again target quality RB output from the Seahawks roster. How Charbonnet and Walker fit into seasonal and dynasty fantasy football plans at running back must now be examined.
Zach Charbonnet: Fantasy Football Scouting Report And Seahawks RB Outlook
Last season, Walker showed that he can be an explosive runner who can score from anywhere on the field. After taking over as the starter at RB for the Seahawks in Week 6, Walker performed as a top-10 fantasy player at his position for the rest of the season. He rushed for eight TDs in 11 starts.
Charbonnet enters the Seahawks RB picture as an ideal complement to Walker, giving the team a somewhat contrasting duo that can attack defenses and wear them down with distinctive skill sets and styles. Walker is a big-play threat whenever he touches the ball. Charbonnet can bang for tough yardage while displaying quickness in the open field and he also brings versatility to the Seattle offense as a receiver out of the backfield.
"Downhill, one-cut is the type of game I play, but also have the ability to make someone miss and catch out of the backfield," Charbonnet told Seahawks.com.
Having both Walker and Charbonnet now provides the Seahawks with two starter-type RBs who can batter defenses and benefit from playing in an offense that looks potentially outstanding heading into the 2023 season. In any given week, Walker or Charbonnet could possibly help lead fantasy teams to victories.
Having Charbonnet as a backfield partner should not prevent Walker from deservedly being drafted as a top-24 fantasy running back in seasonal leagues. A top-24 RB is still considered a good fantasy RB2 type. Efficiency and upside are factors that will keep Walker in the mix as a regular fantasy starter.
Charbonnet will be a very desirable RB4 option in yearly fantasy leagues. The former Bruin will have consistent fantasy promise as a quality flex option early in his NFL career. He should see a healthy amount of opportunities to finish off scoring drives for TD runs, and Charbonnet's receiving abilities will certainly be a plus in Point Per Reception leagues.
Seattle's running game will always be a crux of the offense under Pete Carroll and his coaching staff. Opposing defenses cannot load up against the ground attack because the passing game looks even more potent in 2023 with the addition of rookie wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who I profiled here after he was drafted by the Seahawks.
The challenge for fantasy players will be to forecast which Seahawks RB may provide the better fantasy production in any week. When drafting either Walker or Charbonnet, their strengths can point to the weekly upside. Each RB should receive ample touches to justify where they are drafted or slotted on your fantasy rosters in terms of depth rank.
Walker can make the most of his touches with big gainers and deliver the types of statistical performances that can boost fantasy teams to a few victories. Charbonnet can have a few special days of his own, and his potential as a runner near the goal line and as a pass-catcher solidifies his outlook as a preferred No. 4 fantasy RB as a rookie.
In dynasty leagues, where you retain the bulk of your roster every year, Charbonnet will be picked as a top 5 running back in rookie drafts. In my recent rookie draft in the Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC), I tabbed the 22-year-old as the No. 8 overall pick in the first round. He was the third RB off the board. In my other dynasty league, Charbonnet was taken with the second pick in the second round, as the fourth RB drafted.
In any format, drafting both Seahawks RBs can prove to be a unique strategy that will give you full fantasy control over the Seattle backfield situation. In seasonal leagues, if either RB Is pressed into a larger role at any point, you may be able to use them as a surefire fantasy RB1. Rostering both Walker and Charbonnet in dynasty leagues means having nearly exclusive access to the Seattle RB output for many years to come.
In Best Ball leagues, where you draft a preseason roster and never make in-season moves, simply receiving the points from your most productive starters every week, I would aim to draft both Walker and Charbonnet if possible. You will be nearly guaranteed to get the best production from either Seahawks RB in almost every week of the season.
In dynasty leagues, another Seahawks rookie RB is worthy of a depth pick. Kenny McIntosh has the receiving skills to be a possible contributor in PPR formats. When rookie drafts enter the middle rounds, McIntosh should be on your radar and in the queue.
Fantasy Football Rookie Running Back Rankings: The Top 15
Here are my fantasy football rookie running back rankings for 2023, with a lean to dynasty formats, and additional analysis on who can produce well in their first NFL seasons.
- Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons: He will be a top 5 overall pick in most seasonal drafts. Robinson may operate as an instant fantasy RB1 in his first pro season.
- Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions: Gibbs also has fantasy star promise as a rookie, as the Lions were willing to spend the No. 12 overall pick on him in the 2023 NFL Draft. Gibbs has much receiving and TD potential in the Detroit offense.
- Zach Charbonnet, Seahawks: Even while sharing reps with Walker, Charbonnet can make some quality fantasy contributions in the first season of his NFL career.
- Kendre Miller, New Orleans Saints: There should be a path to Miller eventually emerging as the starting RB for the Saints.
- Devon Achane, Miami Dolphins: An electric and versatile playmaker who might become a nifty flex type right away.
- Roschon Johnson, Chicago Bears: The Chicago backfield is crowded, but Johnson should get an opportunity to carve out a significant role.
- Tank Bigsby, Jacksonville Jaguars: A good power complement to Travis Etienne.
- Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans: Tennessee may have found its eventual successor to Derrick Henry.
- Israel Abanikanda, New York Jets: He will be quality fantasy insurance for those who roster Breece Hall.
- Chase Brown, Cincinnati Bengals: A possible fantasy insurance type for those who roster Joe Mixon, Brown could possibly see a healthy workload at some point.
- Zach Evans, Los Angeles Rams
- Eric Gray, New York Giants
- DeWayne McBride, Minnesota Vikings
- Sean Tucker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Evan Hull, Indianapolis Colts
Bonus Rankings: The Top 25 Fantasy Football Running Backs For 2023 Drafts
- Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers
- Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
- Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons
- Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
- Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
- Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders
- Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
- Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
- Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
- Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions
- Breece Hall, New York Jets
- Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots
- Miles Sanders, Carolina Panthers
- Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
- Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
- Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans
- J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
- Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
- Kenneth Walker III, Seahawks
- James Conner, Arizona Cardinals
- Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs
- Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams
- D'Andre Swift, Philadelphia Eagles
For more fantasy sports analysis from Scott Engel, visit The Game Day during the fantasy football offseason.
With Rookie Minicamp complete, the newest Seahawks joined the veterans on the field for Phase 2 of the offseason program.