I had a very common reaction when I saw the news that the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to sign Rashaad Penny. It is a far better football move for the Eagles than it is a Fantasy Football situation for Penny.
Both of those will depend on whether or not Penny can stay healthy. And given his injury history, I can't say I have a ton of confidence in Penny playing 16 or more games this year.
However, the Eagles still have Kenneth Gainwell and also re-signed Boston Scott today. Despite the presence of those two backs, Penny should still see the bulk of the RB carries in Philadelphia. And should Penny have to miss a game or two (or more), Gainwell and Scott should fill in quite adequately.
That however is why this deal makes plenty of sense from the Philadelphia Eagles' perspective. But does Penny make sense as a member of your fantasy team now that he will be wearing an Eagles uniform?
Here are my two cents on the Penny signing.
Philadelphia Eagles Sign Rashaad Penny
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Philadelphia Eagles Side
I think it is now pretty clear that the Eagles were not planning to sign Miles Sanders. That is somewhat understandable given the question surrounding Sanders' ability to be a three-down back. However, Penny is not necessarily an upgrade as he will exit the game in obvious passing situations. He has just 27 catches in his 42 games over his five-year career.
Yet given some of the other options in Philly's backfield, that's not an issue for the Eagles. In addition to being pulled on passing downs, this team still runs through Jalen Hurts. I would be shocked if Penny sees even 20 carries in more than one or two games this upcoming season. And that is assuming he's healthy.
And therein lies the rub. Because Penny is one of the most explosive RBs in the league, but alas he has never stayed healthy. He managed to play 14 games his rookie season, but that was a career-high. He has yet to play more than 10 games in any of his last four seasons. This is not to say you should not draft Penny, but simply buyer beware.
Because part of the reason that Penny has trouble staying healthy is his bruising running style. But that bruising running style has led to some pretty impressive runs. I'll leave it to the folks from Next Gen Stats to make the "bulk" (get it? See what I did there? Haha.) of the argument for Penny:
Rashaad Penny has been one of the more explosive running backs in the NFL over the last two seasons when healthy.
Penny has averaged the most yards after contact (4.6) and rushing yards over expected (+1.8) among RB since 2021 (min. 100 carries).@pennyhendrixx | @Eagles https://t.co/OWHOzTZd9M pic.twitter.com/1L1oJY7p0h
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 14, 2023
Penny's upside is downright Derrick Henry-esque. Should he play 16 games, Penny could easily close in on 2K yards. But if you get a dozen games out of him this upcoming season, you should be ecstatic. If he plays that many games, he should easily match Sanders' season totals of nearly 1300 yards and 11 TDs.
The Eagles have one of the best offensive lines in the league and Penny could be scary good. But he is also a scary option period given his injury history. He'll likely be a top-25 pick for his potential ceiling, but his floor will scare many away.
Seattle Seahawks Side
Much like Sanders in Philadelphia, there was little surprise that the Seahawks were willing to let Penny become a free agent. We've already discussed Penny's strengths and weaknesses, but from a Seattle perspective, they are pretty much irrelevant. That's because Seattle has Kenneth Walker III.
Kenneth Walker III with the house call 🏠pic.twitter.com/VuDQOHLim2
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 9, 2022
All Walker did his rookie year was rush for nine TDs, over 1K yards, and averaged over 4.6 YPC. The Seattle run game will be just fine. And the loss of Penny isn't one.
But now that Penny is gone, the more interesting takeaway is that Deejay Dallas sees his value increase. Dallas was behind both Penny and KWIII on the Seattle depth chart. He did however impress with his 35 carries, rumbling for 186 yards and an impressive 5.3 yards per carry. He also added 17 catches for 126 yards. I expect DeeJay to be drafted in nearly every league as the obvious handcuff to Ken Walker III.
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