Kenneth Walker Fantasy Football Outlook Without Rashaad Penny

Kenneth Walker Fantasy Football

Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny is done for the season, which means that Kenneth Walker is one of the biggest adds in fantasy football. With Penny out of the way, Walker appears to have a clear path to the starting job in a run-heavy offense. However, will the rookie be able to make the most of this opportunity?

READ MORE: Week 6 Stream Team

Fantasy Football: Kenneth Walker Without Rashaad Penny

Before we talk about Seattle’s offense and projected usage, we first need to talk about Kenneth Walker himself. The Seahawks drafted Walker in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft as the second running back off the board. This high draft capital implies that he will be successful at the professional level, but that’s not a given with Seattle.

One of the best things about Pete Carroll as a real-life coach is that he doesn’t let draft capital dictate playing time. Regardless of the team’s investment in the player, he always lets the best guys on the field, which isn’t something you can say of every coach. For example, he started seventh-round pick Chris Carson over first-round Penny for years, and he started a rookie third-round pick in Russell Wilson over the big-money Matt Flynn all the way back in 2012. All of this is to say that Walker won’t just magically inherit the starting job – he’ll have to earn it.

The good news is that all signs point toward Walker being the best running back left in Seattle. While he does not profile as much of a pass-catcher, Walker is a ferocious runner that managed to earn a large workload during his collegiate years. He’s no Saquon Barkley, bur he was a great prospect with tons of traits and measurables that translate to NFL success.

Even before Penny’s injury, Walker had already established himself as the second-best runner on the team. Walker suffered a preseason injury, but once he was fully healthy, he quickly earned a sizable portion of Seattle’s running back snaps. The rookie played in 38% of the offensive snaps in Week 5 and quickly took over the starting job once Penny went down midway through Week 6.

Kenneth Walker In Seattle’s Offense

Now that we’ve established that Walker should be the unquestioned starter, let’s talk about what Walker can do in the starting role. As mentioned earlier, Walker did not catch many passes in college, and his early NFL career has done nothing to change that assessment. Basically, if Walker is going to carry regular fantasy relevance, then he’ll have to do it on the ground.

It’s no secret that non-redzone carries are the least valuable type of touch in the fantasy football landscape. There is no such thing as bad volume, but Walker is going to need to score some touchdowns if he’s ever going to be a reliable RB2. You need a good offense to score touchdowns and, astonishingly, Seattle has one of those, thanks in large part to Geno Smith.

Through five weeks of action, Smith ranks first in PFF grade and fifth in EPA/play. He’s more than capable of moving the ball up and down the field, and he’s needed to do that a lot. Seattle’s defense is one of the worst in the league, allowing 30.8 points per game. Basically, every Seahawks game turns into a shootout, and that’s great news for Walker. He should receive plenty of touches with multiple scoring opportunities per game.

Ultimately, it’s hard for any player to put up RB1 results without catching too many passes. Walker’s lack of projected targets does put a ceiling on his potential, but as long as Seattle’s defense stays horrible and Geno Smith keeps playing well, Kenneth Walker should be able to put up RB2 numbers on a consistent basis.