So you were counting on LenDale White to lead your team to the promised land and you heard through the Twitter and the Facebook that Mr. White was given his pink slip for smoking a little green, or something else; I really don’t know, but green is a color and it went with the other colors, see? Anyway, he will be suspended four games for taking something illegal, plus it sounds like he was ultra lazy and that leaves the stable door open for Justin Forsett to escape. The farm hands may try to slow him down and let Julius Jones roam free, but they won’t be able to hold him back for long! I better get off this metaphor before the farm hand and the boss’ daughter have an elicit rendezvous in the apple orchard.
So how will the Seahawks’ backfield shake down under new HC Pete Carroll? Since this is pretty much a clean slate for all involved it is a wide open race between Forsett, Jones and Washington. First off, Leon Washington had a compound fracture and could end up missing some time. I am not counting on LDub being 100% for the first half of the season, which will keep him from making a good impression with the new coaching staff.
Next we have Mr. Jones and me, well, sans me. Julius Jones is a run of the mill back who has lost a step and can’t stay healthy. Last season he started out fast and tailed off and never tailed back on. As long as he’s healthy, he is a serviceable back and will get his chances, but how many chances and when? Last season he had 177 carries for 663 yards and 2 TDs, which is a robust 3.7 yards per carry. He also had 35 receptions for 232 yards and 2 TDs, which does show a bit of versatility, but with our next contestant we’ll get to some real versatility.
Last season Justin Forsett was in the same boat as Jamaal Charles and Jerome Harrison, in that they were being run-blocked by shockingly terrible backs. Yes, I know I’m not a head coach or a coordinator or have ever played football or even know how to spell Houshmandzadeh, but when you sit and watch Jamal Lewis, Larry Johnson, and Julius Jones suck over and over while their backups shine when they get a shot, it is hard not to question the powers that be. And then when the younger, faster, and less-decrepit backs finally do get to start, they go off and make us lookie-loos look like the Oracle of Delphi.
While Julius Jones was out with an injury for three games, Forsett averaged 122 total yards for those 3 games and totaled 4 touchdowns. Julius Jones had 4 touchdowns all season. There really is no comparison. Forsett had 44 less yards rushing than Jones last season, but of course Jones had 63 more carries. So, if Forsett would have had 63 more carries and averaged .7 yards a carry, we could say they are comparable, but Forsett averaged 5.4 yards a carry. And when we say, well, Jones did catch 35 passes, we can take a look at Forsett and his receiving prowess and it’s not a good comparison for Julius. In less time on the field Forsett caught 41 passes for 350 yards for an 8.8 yards per catch average. While our friend JJ averaged 6.6 yards per catch. And if you think Forsett is too small to be the lead back, it’s not as if Jones is huge. Forsett is only ten pounds lighter and like many backs in the league who aren’t bruisers, Jamaal Charles and Chris Johnson to name two, he can be used out of the backfield and in space. I easily could see Forsett handling 20 touches a game.
So, will Forsett have 2,000 total yards and 15 TDs? No, no he will not. Even if he was the sole back he still plays for the Seattle Seahawks. Pete Carroll knows offense and if things go as planned the offense will improve from last season, but that might be a bit optimistic. But no matter what, he is the Hawks most dynamic runner and should win the preseason battle with Jones.
When it comes to fantasy, he easily becomes a #3 running back with a chance at becoming a #2. The news of White being dumped might push his ADP up fairly high, but I don’t see any reason not to put him into the top 20 running backs and a little higher in ppr. My initial projections are — 10oo/6 — 50/375/2 Do with them what you will.