One of the biggest surprises of the 2022 NFL season was the breakout of Kenneth Walker as the new lead Seattle Seahawks running back after the team lost Rashaad Penny.
Walker crushed his rookie season, finishing the year as a top-20 fantasy football running back, and was nominated to the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie team. But recent injury news has cast uncertainty on Walker’s future in 2023.
Behind in research? Get a trade offer in your dynasty or redraft league? Not sure who to start or sit this week? Leverage PFN’s FREE fantasy tools — our Fantasy Football Draft Kit, Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and Calculator, and Start/Sit Optimizer! Put the finishing touch on your A+ draft with 1 of our 425+ fantasy football team names.
What Happened to Kenneth Walker III?
Shortly after the first practice of training camp for the Seahawks, head coach Pete Carroll announced that Walker is “week-to-week” with a groin injury suffered in camp.
Carroll downplayed the injury as minor, however, most minor injuries aren’t week-to-week; rather, they are day-to-day. Since there are no regular-season games being played, the team doesn’t have to give clear, concise time frames for how long a player will be out.
Plus, Carroll is historically one of the worst coaches to rely on when it comes to recovery timeframes, as he tends to be generally optimistic about a player’s injury.
There was some real concern when this was first reported because Walker did have a hernia injury before the start of the 2022 season, and those injuries can be diagnosed as groin injuries, but thankfully, that is not the case here.
What Are the Seahawks’Ooptions if Kenneth Walker Misses Time?
During the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seahawks made one of the bigger surprise selections, drafting rookie running back Zach Charbonnet from UCLA. Charbonnet is a very talented back and profiles much more like a pass-catching threat than a pure rusher, but he can fill the need if Walker misses time.
Behind Charbonnet, there is veteran DeeJay Dallas, who has been with the team for his entire three-year career. Behind Dallas is rookie running back Kenny McIntosh, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft. For now, the Seahawks can breathe a major sigh of relief as Walker has returned to practice without limitations.
What Does This Mean for Kenneth Walker’s Fantasy Ranking?
Before the NFL Draft, Walker seemed to be locked in as a top-10 running back for fantasy with him as the primary ball carrier, but the selection of Charbonnet turned his ADP upside down.
Fantasy managers weren’t sure if this was going to be a complete backfield split or if Walker would remain the entrenched starter even after such a significant price was paid for a running back at the top of the draft.
Right now, Walker is currently going in the fifth round of drafts, which shows that his workload risk is being held against him in that draft slot.
But even in a committee, he can still pay off as a high-upside RB2, and if he is able to remain uninjured leading up to the NFL regular season, he might sneak into the end of the fourth round in some drafts, but not higher than that.