Alex Collins Waiver Wire Week 5: Fantasy analysis for Seahawks RB

Alex Collins caused a minor fantasy shock when he served as the Seahawks’ lead RB in Week 4. Should you add him off the waiver wire?

Alex Collins caused a minor shock in the fantasy football world Week 4 when he served as the Seahawks’ lead running back in a big win against the 49ers. So, does this mean you should add him off the waiver wire? Or was this past Sunday a fluke?

Alex Collins’ long and winding fantasy road

Collins has teetered on the edge of fantasy relevance since Seattle drafted him five years ago. As a rookie, he played a bit role before becoming the Ravens’ bellcow in 2017, finishing 21st among fantasy RBs. The following year, he struggled before landing on the injured reserve with a foot injury.

It has been a long road back to Seattle. And with Rashaad Penny and DeeJay Dallas backing up bellcow Chris Carson this summer, it appeared Collins would once again be an afterthought. His RB93 preseason ADP meant he was essentially undraftable.

Chris Carson isn’t going anywhere

But an injury to Penny opened the door, and perhaps Carson’s injury history opened another. Carson has missed time in each of his previous NFL seasons. His talent has never been in doubt — reliability has. When he’s on the field, Carson can be a weekly RB1 and was 13th in RB fantasy points per game last season. The story has always been the same — if you can handle his higher-than-normal injury risk, he’s worth drafting at his preseason price.

So it’s quite possible what happened in Week 4 has less to do with a changing of the guard in Seattle’s backfield and more to do with workload management. This year marks the NFL’s first 17-game season. While it’s only one extra game, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if head coaches are thinking about ways to keep their core players fresher for the longer campaign.

Carson played on 45% of Seattle’s snaps last week, while Collins saw action on 39%. Even Travis Homer got involved (16%). Carson’s struggles against the 49ers (13 rushes for only 30 yards) might have hastened Collins’ involvement. Or maybe this was the plan all along.

The key takeaway is that Collins has apparently earned a top-two role in this backfield. The question is whether he has a shot of supplanting Carson as the No. 1 option in Seattle. That seems like a stretch, as the 27-year-old Carson has not shown any notable signs of slowing down. The one knock on him fantasy-wise is his significant drop in receptions (only 6), which makes him a bit more TD-dependent than in past years.

Should you add Alex Collins off the waiver wire?

For now, Collins is a must-roster RB and should be added off waivers if he’s available in your league. At worst, he’ll revert to a prominent handcuff role. At best, he’ll continue to earn double-digit touches and become Seattle’s most productive RB. The likely outcome lies somewhere in between.

BJ Rudell is the Fantasy Football Director for Pro Football Network. You can read all of BJ’s work here, listen to him on PFN’s Fantasy Football podcast, and check out his contributions in PFN’s free fantasy newsletter. Give him a follow on Twitter: @BJRudell.