The Seattle Seahawks selected UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet with the 52nd pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. Here's what you need to know about how his Fantasy stock in both season-long and Dynasty formats is affected by his landing spot.
Charbonnet's Fantasy fit with Seahawks
I have my questions about team needs here for Seattle, but I probably shouldn't considering this is a clear case of fool me once shame on you, fool me 713 times, shame on me. The Seahawks grab a running back with a premium pick just one season after selecting breakout rookie running back Kenneth Walker in the second round last draft.
Charbonnet is my RB2 in this class over Jahmyr Gibbs so my outlook may be rosier than most, but I see a complete skill set here with the natural hands to make an impact in the pass game early. Walker earned somewhat of a target share in his rookie season but Charbonnet can provide an upgrade on passing downs. I also like Charbonnet's overall profile as a runner better than Walker. While he doesn't have Walker's breakaway speed, he will create more tough yardage for a head coach in Pete Carroll who absolutely reveres backs who can hit doubles and singles at a high rate.
Charbonnet is going to be a late-round Fantasy pick and start off as the No. 2 in a committee that might not be much of a split at first, but this is a clear-cut bet on talent situation for me. I will be drafting Charbonnet in a lot of leagues. Bet on talent with your back end bench slots.
After testing out as one of the best athletes at the running back position, despite running a 4.53 (Charbonnet dominated the explosive and quickness testing drills), Charbonnet caught the attention of Fantasy managers participating in rookie drafts prior to the draft. He was a back-end Round 1 pick in rookie drafts then but he will now fall into the second round. Those leagues who stress the importance of landing spot may let him slip all the way into the back end of Round 2.
Zach Charbonnet: What to know
When you do this long enough, there are examples of when you'll turn on the tape of a player and know after eight quarters that this going to be "one of your guys" in this draft class. For UCLA running back Charbonnet, I barely even needed eight quarters. I started with his 2022 games against Arizona and Stanford before moving on to his 2021 performance against an SEC staple -- LSU. Charbonnet is often discussed in draft circles as a well-rounded running back prospect without the speed, but I think those evaluations are missing what his actual trump card is -- his contact balance.
Out of the past three seasons evaluating the top-15 running back prospects in every class to enter the NFL for Fantasy Football and real-life NFL purposes, Charbonnet has the best contact balance of the bunch. Defenders fall off him both in the open field and in the hole. If you're looking to see what I see, watch any of Charbonnet's full-game cut ups and notice how many times he finishes the sideline plays upright on his feet. He doesn't go down.
Contact balance is Charbonnet's trump card, but he has a slew of other translatable traits for the NFL game and I'm excited to see him at the next level. Charbonnet is my RB2 in this class, over Jahmyr Gibbs and in some classes he'd be my RB1. While I don't see the breakaway ability translating like a Bijan Robinson or even a Gibbs, Charbonnet's vision and ability to make defenders miss in open space will lead to chunk plays.
Age as of Week 1: 21 | Height: 6-foot-0 | Weight: 214 | 40-time: 4.53
Comparable body-type to: Michael Turner
We're breaking down everything you need to know about Charbonnet from a Fantasy manager perspective, including best fits, Dynasty outlook, measurables, scouting report, key stats and an NFL comparison.
- Contact balance. When it comes to contact balance, Charbonnet possesses arguably the best in the class. This is his defining trait and trump card. When he's running outside of the tackle box and ends up on the sideline, he more times than not ends each play upright rather than on the ground. In between the tackles, he routinely bounces off first contact.
- Short area burst is evident. Although Charbonnet is not a burner and doesn't have straight-line speed that will translate to home runs at the NFL level, he has plenty of quick acceleration.
- Charbonnet is a bowling ball in the red zone and uses his creativity (with a plan to always cut back and get vertical) to make him a weapon not just from within the five but also within the 10-yard line. He will translate to a red zone threat immediately and that makes him Fantasy relevant on most teams right away.
- Charbonnet forces missed tackles in the open field at a high rate and is at his best when forcing the end man on the line of scrimmage (overhang defender) in the wrong direction to create extra yardage.
- Natural hands catcher of the football. Charbonnet learned to be a receiving back in Chip Kelly's offensive system that used him on screens, swing passes, flares and arrow routes. He made several impressive hands catches including one that was thrown behind him and forced him to flip his shoulders and still make the catch (with his hands rather than letting it come into his body).
- Incredibly productive at the collegiate level -- averaged 7.0 yards per carry on 1,359 rushing yards in 2022.
- Explosive athlete -- as evidenced by his elite postings in the vertical and broad jumps at the Combine and you see it on tape when he's in space or trying to get through a crease.
- Can accelerate from 0-to-60 fast to get through a crease -- elite testing in the 10-yard split with 1.54 seconds flat.
- Breaks tackles at a high rate in large part due to always having a plan in the open field. He sets up defenders well to create broken tackles.
- Plenty of moves and variety in his arsenal -- Charbonnet uses a stiff arm when he needs to but does an excellent job positioning his lower half to shake off tackles and/or create forced missed tackles.
- Has experience as a bell cow/foundational back plus the passing down chops to play all three downs at the NFL level as one of the rare workhorse types in this class.
- Straight-line long speed and home run upside is not in the cards for Charbonnet. Although he ran a much better 40-yard dash than expected at 214 pounds (4.53), that isn't quite the number you need to break off long runs at the NFL level. And even at UCLA, he was often tracked down on longer runs.
- Although Charbonnet has the natural hands and athletic traits to be a great receiving back, he doesn't have much experience running a full route tree. He was mostly used on swing passes, flares and screens in the receiving game.
- Charbonnet benefited from an excellent blocking scheme and well-executed blocks within the scheme. It was a very power/gap-heavy blocking scheme.
Advanced stats to know
- His 145 rushing first downs/touchdowns since 2021 led all Power Five players, per Pro Football Focus.
- 806 yards after contact, 13th-most, per PFF.
- 122 forced missed tackles over the last two seasons -- third-most, per PFF.
- 26 carries of 15-plus yards in 2022 -- fifth-most, per PFF.
Charbonnet reminds me of a bigger version of Maurice Jones-Drew and not just because they both played at UCLA. Check that, he's a combination of MJD and former Falcons running back Michael Turner. Charbonnet's ability to run behind his pads but also make defenders miss in space is reminiscent of MJD in his prime.