Rashaad Penny Waiver Wire Week 15: Can the Seattle RB’s breakout game be trusted?

Rashaad Penny had a monster game in Week 14, but should fantasy managers make a play for him on the Week 15 waiver wire?

My goodness, what a day for Rashaad Penny. On Sunday morning, I wrote about Seattle’s backfield, and I said not to be surprised if Penny broke off a long run against Houston. What I didn’t expect was for him to make his case to completely take over the backfield for the remainder of this season. Was it a mirage? A flash in the pan? Or should fantasy football managers expect this level of utilization from Penny throughout the fantasy playoffs and, accordingly, make a waiver wire claim?

Rashaad Penny hasn’t quite found his way in the NFL

Penny was selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, going ahead of future star running back Nick Chubb. His career has never really gotten on track due to a combination of injuries, inefficiency, and a lack of playing time behind Chris Carson (who was a seventh-round pick the year prior and beat out Penny for the starting job). Penny just never quite made the leap.

Still, there have been flashes of an explosive, powerful runner. At 5’11” and 220 pounds, Penny has prototypical running back size and enough speed to make big plays. In 33 career games, Penny has compiled 1,038 rushing yards on 204 attempts (5.1 ypc) and 7 TDs.

He hasn’t been asked to do much in the receiving game, but that’s more on Seattle’s play-calling than anything else. Penny has caught 19 of his 25 career targets for 186 yards and a TD.

Prior to Sunday, Penny had two career games with over 100 rushing yards. He’s had to make those outings happen on the back of explosive plays. Both 100+ yard days came on 14 or fewer carries.

Penny had a breakout game on Sunday

In Week 14, Penny was in the Seahawks’ lineup for the second consecutive week. He looked poised to have a role in an offense that featured an inefficient Alex Collins.

But Penny didn’t just have a role — he took over.

Collins finished the day with only 16 rushing yards on 7 carries (2.3 ypc). Penny dominated, turning 16 carries into 137 rushing yards and 2 TDs. Pending Monday Night Football, Penny is currently the RB2 of Week 14.

Speaking on 710 ESPN Seattle on Monday morning, head coach Pete Carroll said Penny “reminded us what it’s like to have a home-run hitter” in the backfield. The Seahawks’ offense has been severely lacking an explosive element out of the backfield. Collins has been unable to get anything going since taking over for the injured Carson.

Penny’s fantasy expectations

Penny not only commanded the day on Sunday, but he looks to be Seattle’s lead running back for the remainder of the season — as long as he’s healthy. Health has always been the chief issue with Penny. If he can buck those nagging injuries, he could be a nice asset in the fantasy playoffs.

Is Penny going to be a high-end RB1 every week? No, of course not. But he is available in essentially every league on NFL.com (1.4% rostered). That has to change immediately. A lead running back capable of making big plays in a Seattle offense that loves to run the ball is an asset that can’t be taken lightly.

Sure, it’s possible that Penny could wind up injured again. But for his sake and ours, I desperately hope he can string together a stretch of great games. The Seahawks declined Penny’s fifth-year option, meaning he’ll be a free agent after this season. A nice stretch of games could go a long way in helping him secure a role — either in Seattle or elsewhere — next year.

Penny won’t start the fantasy playoffs with a good matchup. In Week 15, Seattle has a date with the Los Angeles Rams, who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. But the Seahawks do have the Lions on tap in Week 17 for fantasy championship week. Add Penny, and he might just help you win a title.