It was a bloody battle between the Seahawks and Cardinals last Sunday. The two teams played five quarters of football and the turf in Arizona may have claimed the first three running backs on Seattle's depth chart. Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde, and Travis Homer all missed practice time this week, leaving the team potentially short-handed at the position.
Carson has already been listed as a game-time decision and is expected to be a week to week case with a mid-foot sprain. Hyde is dealing with a hamstring injury after missing three weeks with a shoulder injury, while Homer is dealing with a knee injury.
Even DeeJay Dallas, who entered last week as fourth on the depth charts, finds himself on the injury report (arm) but has been a full participant all week. So the question remains: how should one treat the Seahawks backfield this week?
One thing we know is that there will be no help coming from outside of the organization. Seattle does not have a running back on the practice squad and any players from outside the organization are subject to a five-day quarantine before being allowed to practice.
Assuming Carson doesn't play, should you trust any of the remaining three players against the 49ers? The answer is a clear no. Not only is the risk of re-injury on Hyde and Homer still in play, but the 49ers have been death to running backs in the fantasy game, allowing the second-fewest points to running backs in ESPN standard scoring.
Despite the loss of Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas, the 49ers have remained stout against the run. San Francisco has allowed an average of just 68 yards on 19 carries and has allowed just two rushing touchdowns to backs all season. In addition, the 49ers have only allowed an average of 4 catches for 32.7 yards while giving up just one receiving touchdown all year.
So are we supposed to start Dallas against an elite run defense in a pass-first offense? Hardly.
What to do with Chris Carson
While he's listed as questionable for Sunday, it seems likely that Carson is going to miss at least one game. So what do his fantasy managers do? Well if you afford it, your best course of action is to just hold tight. Trading him at the bottom of his value is pointless. So too is dropping him. If you have Carson, he's going to help you more on your bench than in trade talks.
But if you do not have Carson on your roster, this might be the best time to go and get him. Carson's injury history is well documented and we are entering the point of the year where teams are jockeying for playoff positions. If Carson is on a team that has fringe playoff chances, offering a player who could help immediately could be a good way to gain value if you can afford to wait a few weeks on Carson.
Try offering David Johnson or David Montgomery for Carson, especially if Carlos Hyde or Rashaad Penny is available in free agency. Other potential players to offer for Carson include Darrell Henderson, Will Fuller, Chase Edmonds, and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Injuries can often present opportunities for savvy fantasy managers, especially if you have the depth to wait them out. Being in a position to get build the best team possible for weeks 14-16 is the goal. And getting Carson for the price of a decent flex is an opportunity you should be pursuing.