The Rashaad Penny hype train has ground to a halt.
The Seattle Seahawks running back is dealing with groin tightness and is expected to sit out Saturday's preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rookie Kenneth Walker III should start in his place, and he received gushing praise from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who told reporters Thursday that the team would "feel comfortable with" having Walker play all three downs:
"You talk about surprises, I'm surprised. I'm surprised he's so well-rounded. A runner, he's blocking. Again I think I mentioned it the other day, but his pass-protection stuff, he just turned the page (from college). I mean, he was not very good in college as a pass protector, and we didn't know.
"But Chad's (Morton) done a great job with him and Amanda (Ruller), they've worked really hard with him, so it's important. But I think for this kid, everything is important. He wants to be great, and he's not going to let any stone be unturned. So, I'm really excited to see how he goes. He's going to get some good playing time in this game and get him comfortable with the speed of the game and all of that. I expect him to do well."
Seattle selected Walker with the No. 41 overall pick in April's draft, putting him on the radar of fantasy managers. Expectations have been tempered by the presence of Penny, who was a league-winner down the stretch last season. Penny averaged 22 fantasy points per game in points-per-reception leagues over the final five weeks of the regular season, finally realizing the massive potential that's existed since he was a first-round pick in 2018.
The Seahawks re-signed Penny to a one-year contract in the offseason, ostensibly to see whether he could continue that level of production over a full year.
Unfortunately, Penny is already dealing with a nagging soft-tissue injury. He has never played more than 14 games in a season and has played just 23 total games over the past three years. Penny has no history of being healthy long enough to be a reliable fantasy option.
At RB32 in FantasyPros average draft position, it's hard to call him a potential bust. Running backs in that range are typically crapshoots or guys who split 50-50 timeshares in shaky offenses. Penny is probably still worth taking in that spot.
That said, be ready to pounce if Walker is available in the following round. It might not be long before he grabs the job for himself.