Zach Charbonnet Fantasy Forecast 2023
Zach Charbonnet was selected in the 2nd round of the NFL draft. The Seattle Seahawks nabbed him with the 52nd overall pick. Spoiler alert: I think this was a less-than-ideal spot for fantasy purposes, but it’s probably a really good thing for Seattle’s actual ground game.
Recruiting and Collegiate Background
Zach Charbonnet was a 4-star (out of a possible 5) recruit from Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, CA. His high school coach sang his praises, calling him one of, if not the best, RBs in the country. Despite not playing football until 7th grade, Charbonnet had over 4700 rushing yards and 62 TDs in his high school career.
His junior year was particularly impressive as he accumulated over 2,000 rush yards and 23 TDs. He received offers from schools like UCLA, USC, Washington, and Wisconsin, but he committed to Michigan prior to the start of his senior year.
Due to things like injuries, lack of playing time, and being closer to his family, Charbonnet transferred to UCLA prior to the start of his junior year. As a junior and senior, Charbonnet had two monster years, eclipsing 1,000 yards and netting double-digit TDs. This was an extremely good decision and one that helped catapult him to becoming a 2nd round pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
Statistical and Athletic Notes
Below are the notes I made for Charbonnet prior to this year’s draft:
- Heavy, powerful back. “A downhill runner.”
- Capable of making and committing to decisions after being handed the rock
- Can wear down defenses if team has a lead
- Was with Michigan for 2 years before transferring to UCLA
- Had an odd sophomore season at Michigan, took a backseat to Hassan Haskins
- Dealt with some injuries throughout his career
- Pass protection likely needs improvement at NFL level
- Likely 2nd or 3rd round pick. Need to pay attention to landing spot to appropriately discern potential fantasy value
40-yard Dash: 4.53
10-second Split: 1.54
Broad Jump: 10’2″
Vertical Jump: 37″
Good for Seattle for trying to return to its history of an exceptional running game, but there are increasingly more mouths to feed in this offense.
Charbonnet’s injury history is probably a cause for concern amongst GMs and coaches, so any team taking him with the goal of making him an RB1 on their depth chart was probably slim. Why is that good? Well, for Seattle, they likely see Charbonnet as the perfect complement to Kenneth Walker. They now have flexibility at RB and can use both backs depending on their situational needs. Need someone on the goal line? It doesn’t have to be Walker. Need someone to close out games when you’re up? It doesn’t have to be Walker. Third and short? Seattle has options. Need someone to fill the RB1 role should Walker miss time? It could be Charbonnet.
This could be a real headache for fantasy owners to figure out on a week-by-week basis. Charbonnet’s fantasy output could be directly tied to game scripts. For owners like myself who try to eliminate guesswork, this is a situation I might want to avoid. Even if I had both RBs on my roster, it could be detrimental to my weekly scores if I constantly have to decide who my personal RB2 is each week. Also, let’s not forget that Deejay Dallas Multi-pass is still here.
2023 Redraft Outlook
Charbonnet has a current ADP of 106, which is in the 8th or 9th round for traditional leagues. That’s a tough pill to swallow for a back who is not the RB1. If you’re drafting him at that ADP, I really hope he is your 3rd RB or an early handcuff if you have Walker already. The ADP is high for me. I’m going to need him to drop a round or two, thus making the draft capital more palpable. It’s worth noting that the Seahawks used a first-round pick on Jaxon Smith-Njigba and their two other first and second-round picks on the defense. They passed up the chance to improve their offensive line until round 4. As you’ll see with some of my other articles this summer, offensive lines are something I put a lot of stock in. All that is a long way of me saying that I think the Seattle offense will continue to be inconsistent from game to game.
Outside of the occasional generational talent, gone is the day of a true RB who handles a significant majority of the workload in his offense. I feel we all hope that the rookie RBs we draft will someday ascend to the top of depth charts and eventually put up LaDainian Tomlinson-type numbers. The truth is that most RB stables have 1 – 3 RBs who have significant roles in their team’s offense. It’s the frustrating part about younger RBs like Miles Sanders, Javonte Williams, and D’Andre Swift. Every time I saw Boston Scott, Melvin Gordon, and Jamaal Williams on the field last year, I immediately got upset. I expect some sort of that going forward for Zach Charbonnet, even a few years down the line. If I already have Walker on my dynasty team, then I want Charbonnet as well. If I don’t have Walker, well then I’m not sure I want to put myself in a situation where I’m getting upset because Charbonnet isn’t on the field.
Zach Charbonnet credits transferring to UCLA to his family, particularly his younger sister Bella, whom he refers to as his inspiration.
Matt, aka Boris, had a friend in his high school freshman English class once mistakenly call him that, and the nickname has somehow stuck ever since. He has been playing fantasy football since the early 2000s and Daily Fantasy Sports since 2015. Boris has been writing about DFS since 2020 and is excited to be a part of GridIron Experts. He has a wife (proving someone can stand him) and a daughter. Boris loves the beach, skiing, hockey, soccer, and football. He attempts to teach high school English, and aspires to make a ton of money in DFS. Follow him on Twitter @Borisnow00.