After sitting out four games with a sprained foot, Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson made his return to the field Monday, and while it was a quieter outing compared to his performance before his injury, he cemented his status at the top of the depth chart.
Carson posted 41 yards and a touchdown on eight carries while adding 18 yards on two receptions in Seattle's 23-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
The 26-year-old had averaged 53.8 rushing yards in the six games he played this season, and before he left a Week 7 contest with 34 yards, he had posted four consecutive games of at least 50 yards. That was highlighted by a Week 4 outing against the Miami Dolphins in which he found the end zone twice with 80 yards on 16 carries and 20 yards on three receptions.
Carlos Hyde, who filled in following Carson's injury, was relegated to his backup role Monday, adding just 22 yards on 15 carries and seven yards on two catches.
Hyde started in Week 11 for the first time this season after returning from a hamstring injury, and he performed just like he had before he missed three games. He recorded 79 rushing yards and a touchdown to go with 16 yards on two receptions after posting 68 yards on 15 attempts with a score in Week 7, when he added three catches for eight yards.
But with Carson back, the outlook for Hyde won't improve. When both running backs played in the first two games of the season, Hyde had 14 touches for 60 yards and a score, while Carson did the bulk of the work, tallying 93 yards on 23 carries plus 81 yards and three touchdowns on nine catches.
The Seahawks—and any managers who look to Seattle players at running back—face a tough matchup next week in a New York Giants defense that has allowed 95.4 yards per game on the ground, fifth-best in the league, and ranks ninth in yards allowed to running backs (900).
A healthy Carson is a must start against the Giants, but the same can't be said for Hyde. He's not worth a drop just yet, as he's proved he can fill in when needed, but he should move back to the bench on any teams that have used him to fill a void throughout the last few weeks.