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Countdown to 2021 fantasy football drafts: Chris Carson No. 41

Chris Carson comes in at 41 in our fantasy football rankings countdown to the 2021 NFL season.

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson (32) against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Carson had a down year in 2020 after dealing with a foot injury for much of the season. Good news is that the Seahawks wanted him back back for 2021 and he should again be the lead back. If he can return to his 2018-2019 form, Carson would once again be a strong fantasy running back.

To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.

Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.

The official and often updated fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.

No. 41, Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks, RB

Carson only played in 12 games last season, but wasn’t 100 percent for many of the games he did play. He still was productive when able, as he accumulated 968 total yards and nine touchdowns. His work in the receiving game was especially encouraging, as he had his most receptions per game ever and scored four times through the air.

Competition for touches

Rashard Penny will compete for touches, but more as a third-down back than early down. Penny has shown ability in the past, but is coming off an ACL injury and a cleanup procedure this offseason. His injury history is sketchy at best. Alex Collins appears to be the other back in the mix, and shouldn’t encroach on Carson’s touches unless he’s injured.

Team offensive expectations

The Seahawks went out and picked an apple off the Sean McVay coaching tree after dumping old school OC Brian Schottenheimer while head coach Pete Carroll has doubled down on his commitment to running the ball though. New OC Shane Waldron will have to navigate some murky waters, but the talent with Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett will keep the offense above average no matter.

What’s his upside?

If Carson can keep relatively healthy, he should be in line for the bulk of the touches in Seattle’s backfield. That includes receiving work and goal line work. Even with his injury trouble last year he ended up in the Top-20 fantasy backs due to his 37 receptions and nine touchdowns. A full healthy season would have him in the Top 10 without much trouble.

What’s his downside?

Carson’s recent foot trouble isn’t something we can just overlook. He will need to stay healthy to get the work he needs to be a Top 10 running back. The team could move more toward the pass once again, which could hurt his numbers, but overall it would boost his touchdown opportunities as well.

Projection

260 attempts, 1,150 yards, 8 touchdowns — 40 receptions, 300 yards, 2 touchdowns