January 15, 2021

Is DeeJay Dallas a potential starting RB in fantasy for Week 8?

6 min read
Fantasy football, just like the NFL, is all about opportunity. To find success, you have...

Fantasy football, just like the NFL, is all about opportunity. To find success, you have to be ready to look in the unlikeliest of places in hopes of finding that diamond in the rough. In Week 8, you will be hard-pressed to find someone that fits this narrative better than Seattle Seahawks running back DeeJay Dallas. With only two carries on his NFL resume, injuries have thrust Dallas into a prominent role and potentially into the starting spot. So now, we must ask if he is worth rolling the dice on and starting in your fantasy football lineup, or should you completely avoid this situation? Further, what is DeeJay Dallas’ fantasy outlook for the remainder of the season?

Remember – as with any situation where injuries and questionable status are involved, be sure to check back as we will publish updates on all of the involved injuries as this is still a very fluid situation.

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DeeJay Dallas is the only healthy running back on the Seattle roster entering Week 8

I wish that were an exaggeration, but it’s honestly that bad for the Seahawks backfield. 

First, starting RB Chris Carson suffered a foot injury on Sunday night against the Arizona Cardinals. A Monday MRI discovered that he has a mild foot sprain that has him week-to-week, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Carson was held out of Wednesday’s practice as they are being cautious with the leading rusher’s health. From this point on, it gets murkier in terms of who is going to be active.

Backup Carlos Hyde and third-down back Travis Homer were also sidelined in the latter stages of Seattle’s 37-34 overtime loss on Sunday night. Hyde had his hamstring tighten up on him near the end of the game after taking over for Carson with his foot injury.

To make matters even worse, Homer suffered a knee contusion that kept him out of the game as well on Sunday, which led to DeeJay Dallas seeing touches for only the second time in his career. In Carson’s absence, Hyde played on 41 of the offensive snaps, compared to 16 for Homer.

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Carson, Hyde, and Homer were all held out of practice on Wednesday, leaving the rookie from the University of Miami as the only healthy running back on the roster. 

Everyone has been advocating for Hyde to be the waiver wire claim of the week, but I am not convinced of this as I have serious doubts he suits up. Granted, when Hyde took over for Carson, he looked solid and rushed 15 times for 68 yards and a touchdown. However, hamstrings are as fickle as they come, and there is always the additional risk of coming back too soon and reinjuring the muscle. 

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The Seahawks aren’t carrying any running backs on their practice squad at the moment, and former first-round pick Rashaad Penny remains on the PUP list as he recovers from a torn ACL sustained last December. There is a solid chance that Dallas is the last one standing as Sunday approaches, but does that mean you should start him in fantasy?

DeeJay Dallas lacks the athleticism to secure a permanent role in the offense

Relative Athletic Score takes player measurements and puts them on an easy to understand 0 to 10 scale compared to their position group. A final score is then produced, which is also on a 0 to 10 score to show overall athleticism for a draft prospect. This data can be used to chart trends over time, indicating that overall athleticism is likely a contributing factor to player success in the NFL.

Dallas’ RAS score doesn’t jump out at you. He was just okay in explosion and agility. His best metrics would have been his performance during the broad jump and the 40-yard dash. Just for comparison’s sake, Jonathan Taylor finished with a RAS score of 9.53.

Pro Football Network’s Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline had this to say when discussing the selection of Dallas by Seattle in the 2020 NFL Draft:

“While DeeJay Dallas will add depth to the Seahawks running back position, he’s not a prospect I’ve been high on watching the film. He’s been very spotty on the field and really doesn’t show any outstanding single trait to his game. Then again, Seattle always selects system players and it’s worked out for them.”

I had to go back to my notes from draft season to see what I had since it has been a while since breaking down his film, and I had a similar sentiment on Dallas. He doesn’t seem like a guy who will break away from anyone or give you those large chunk plays on any regular basis, and his athletic profile backs this notion. He has versatility as a runner and a blocker but doesn’t excel at any one part of the game.

Even if DeeJay Dallas is the primary ball carrier, the 49ers are a difficult fantasy matchup

With literally no one else available, Dallas might stumble his way into 15+ touches within the NFL’s highest-scoring offense (33.8 PPG). However, there is a massive elephant in the room, and that is a San Francisco 49ers rushing defense that allows the second-fewest fantasy points to RBs in 2020 at just 16.64 per game.

There’s been only one running back who’s rushed for more than 63 yards against the 49ers, and it was Darrell Henderson, who had 88 yards but was kept under 10 PPR points. The only running back to place higher than RB17 in any week against the 49ers was Dolphins RB Myles Gaskin in Week 5, in large part due to a touchdown and five receptions.

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The one spot the 49ers defense has been vulnerable in is the passing game, allowing 5.70 yards per target. Whether or not Dallas can take advantage of that remains to be seen, as he only caught 28 passes during his college career for 293 yards and two touchdowns. 

From a pure volume play, any running back that will see 12 or more touches is worthy of starting in fantasy, even just as a flex play, which is what Dallas would be. If you can afford the spot on your roster to add him while not sacrificing someone who has a secure role or taken, maybe the one-week rental of Dallas is not worth the investment. But if you are in a deeper league or one where a player is out on a bye week, DeeJay Dallas’ fantasy potential could be enough to go and get him – just temper expectations. 

The one place that you need to double-check your waivers is in dynasty leagues. DeeJay Dallas’ fantasy outlook is going to be different in dynasty. Likely, Dallas is already on a team as guys don’t tend to part ways with rookie RBs quickly. If he is out there, grab him and then maybe flip Dallas if he has a decent performance. 

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Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.

Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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