Ken Walker III Fantasy Football Outlook 2022 (Will He Take Over the Seattle Backfield?)
A transfer to Michigan State prior to the 2021 season allowed Ken Walker III to tap into his true potential as a running back. He balled out with 1,725 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns on 276 touches, eventually landing with the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
With that being the case, it's no surprise to see Walker featured in fantasy football rankings this year as one of the top rookie options. His average draft position (ADP) has him going as the 35th running back off the board and as a ninth-round selection.
Ken Walker III Fantasy Football Outlook
There's rookie breakouts in fantasy football every year. Last year, Najee Harris finished as the No. 3 RB in PPR-scoring leagues and Ja'Marr Chase checked in as the No. 5 WR. Fantasy managers need to be careful not to expect a similar outcome for Ken Walker III, though. The Michigan State product enters a Seattle backfield that should be led by Rashaad Penny. Penny rushed for at least 135 yards in four of his final five games of the 2021 season and showed a lot of promise as a workhorse.
The emergence of Penny does not mean that Walker cannot provide RB3 numbers in 2022. After all, Seattle averaged 5.0 yards per rush attempt in 2021 and has long been a run-heavy team under head coach Pete Carroll. Walker was also the second RB taken in the draft. The Seahawks aren't going to use that kind of capital to select someone that is just going to sit on the bench. The retirement of Chris Carson and the departure of Alex Collins as well as Russell Wilson leaves the door open for the 21-year-old. That is 205 carries from last year now up for grabs.
Think of it like this. On average, Walker is being drafted just one round after Penny is. Fantasy managers looking to wait at the RB position can grab both players with back-to-back selections and lock up the Seattle backfield for the season. No matter what happens, you will have a starting RB on a team that tied for the ninth most rushing yards per game in 2021 (122.0). That's nothing to scoff at.
Ken Walker III Projections
Projections from the NFL odds on FanDuel Sportsbook expect Walker to finish in the middle of the pack. He's 26th to lead the NFL in rushing yards (+5000), which compares to where Miles Sanders finished the 2021 season at with 754 yards. Walker's also 42nd to lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns (+10000). That is obviously going to be a much harder title to take home considering his expected role in the Seattle backfield. Walker averaged 5.8 yards per carry in college, meaning he would need to see upward of 121 carries to post 700 yards on the ground. That's certainly doable considering Collins saw 108 carries as a Seattle backup RB in 2021.
Is Ken Walker III a Good Fantasy Football Pick?
When it comes down to it, is Walker someone to target in the middle rounds? For sure, but having patience with his early season production will be crucial. Walker's the No. 35 running back in The Duel's PPR fantasy football rankings and could end up as a RB2 if Penny misses any time.
Walker's upside is capped in PPR-scoring leagues given the fact that he hauled in only 19 passes in college (32 games). That means the ground-and-pound style running back actually gets a boost in standard scoring leagues. Watch out for the dynamic rookie.
If you've drafted Walker this year, or you're a Seahawks fan, make sure to check out the best Seattle Seahawks fantasy football team names for your squad.
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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.