Thanks a lot, 2023. Thanks so much for such a smooth, easy football season. So please, have a seat at the Madman’s peaceful Thanksgiving table as we start a fantasy food fight by slinging some mashed potatoes in your face.
From Joe Burrow to Kirk Cousins injuries, from Cooper Kupp in and out to Justin Jefferson missing significant time, from Nick Chubb to Mark Andrews … to Deebo, Achane, Tee Higgins, Mike Williams, Anthony Richardson, J.K. Dobbins … and Aaron Rodgers. Don’t forget Aaron Rodgers. The misery never ends.
Every year seems to have a parade of injuries. And every year we make mention of this normality, yet every year we also ask: But this year seems different, right?
Now, maybe the oblique strain suffered by Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker isn’t terribly serious, perhaps he will be back soon. But also, this is 2023, so best of luck, Ken.
What we can pretty much take to the bank is that he won’t be playing in the Turkey Night clash with the 49ers, considering coach Pete Carroll called the injury “legit.”
So this Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for the sliver of clarity that “legit” declaration provides, and the comfort it brings in knowing Zach Charbonnet should absorb most of the workload gravy.
If Walker misses significant time, Charbonnet could turn into one of the season’s top waiver finds. Now, Walker wasn’t posting such huge numbers. Sure, he was doing fine, RB9 on the season in PPR entering Week 11, but he wasn’t carrying your roster.
In fact, in a vacuum, we think Charbs perhaps could do a better job carrying your team, mainly because we think he will inherit more volume than Walker was getting.
We don’t expect a huge drop-off in production or efficiency with Charbonnet as the primary ball-carrier — so far, he has a better success rate and per-carry average. Plus he already had a virtually equal role in the passing game, a role that should now increase.
We also don’t expect anyone to cut into Charbonnet’s workload the way the second-round rookie cut into Walker’s. DeeJay Dallas is next in line, but when given opportunities during his four-year career, he has flaunted his blandness. It is hard to envision Seattle being motivated to give Dallas more work than just what is required to give Charbs some rest.
Walker was averaging 16.1 carries and 1.8 receptions per game, Charbonnet 4.8 and 1.6. So if Charbs assumes the entirety of Walker’s workload, plus keeps half of his own (the other half going to Dallas), that would give Charbs 21.1 touches per game.
We like any RB getting that much volume. Even one with a difficult schedule. And there is the rub with Charbs —the schedule. In the next three weeks, the Seahawks face the 49ers, Cowboys, then 49ers again. Plus, we don’t have a clear timeline on Walker’s return.
What we will have in the immediate future, though, is some clarity on his volume, and it should be bountiful. For that, we are thankful.
You belong with me
A.J. Dillon RB, Packers
If Aaron Jones misses any significant time with a knee injury, Dillon would fill that blank space. He isn’t great, but … our love of volume is difficult, but it’s real. It’s a love story.
Odell Beckham Jr. WR, Ravens
Jinx alert: We bought in during drafts, then bailed earlier this season. We’re back after a four-catch, 116-yard outing. Get some of this while there’s some getting to get got.
Calvin Ridley WR, Jaguars
Jinx check: We knew you were trouble when we bailed last week. Sunday, he reminded why we bought in initially (7-130-2). Move him off the chopping block, even if you don’t play him yet.
Adam Thielen WR, Panthers
Jinx check: Benched him last week, and he did OK Sunday (8-74 vs. a good Dallas defense). With coach Frank Reich calling plays again and juicy matchups upcoming, got a feeling he will shake off recent humdrumminess.
Tony Pollard RB, Cowboys
Jinx alert: Expected him to smash a porous Carolina run defense. He was only fine — closer to what you expect most weeks (12-61-1), not a top-tier RB in a top-tier matchup. To the bench you go. Look what you made us do.
Jerome Ford RB, Browns
Split carries evenly with Kareem Hunt. Neither stood out (but Ford got the TD). Don’t expect share to change until the results do, it’s karma. Find an alternative, even this coming week against the Broncos.
Betting on the NFL?
De’Von Achane RB, Dolphins
Jinx alert: Look, we know everyone loves this guy, but you need to calm down. Pulled quickly Sunday after mildly aggravating his previously injured knee. Don’t put him back in your lineup until he has a “wow” moment.
Khalil Shakir WR, Bills
Had a big TD (81-yarder) and some weirdly awesome stats (3-for-115), but he has scored double-digits just twice all season. Expect he and Gabe Davis to frustratingly swap big games seemingly at random.