Fantasy Football: Marshawn Lynch and the running back committee

      June 5, 2014 @ 13:56:37 PDT


Marshawn Lynch isn't a top-five pick in fantasy football drafts this year and carries a decent amount of risk for the first round. All those carries are going to catch up at some point, and I think it'll be this season, a Super Bowl hangover special following three straight 300-plus-touch regular-season campaigns, not to mention the Seattle Seahawks' deep postseason runs.

RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Lynchpin? So far, but ...

But while any decreased involvement could take away some numbers, the Seahawks' desire to give sophomore Christine Michael more work -- some reports have hopped on Darrell Bevell's committee quote -- is not by itself a nail in Lynch's coffin. It's important to put such news into context.

Nearly every team in the NFL has some sort of running back committee nowadays. Some (the New England Patriots' constant mess; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' potential vultures away from Doug Martin; the New Orleans Saints group) mean more than others (this one, for instance).

Seattle's fawning over Michael seems like just a plan to take more pressure off Russell Wilson. Have you seen the options he has at his disposal? Talented, brittle Percy Harvin; reliable, not game-breaking Doug Baldwin, and a ton of mystery, even if some of them have sleeper upside. The coaching staff's newfound faith in the second-year Michael is merely a testament that they're going to do more of what has carried them to Super Bowl glory -- and that Michael as a No. 2 is ahead of Robert Turbin, thanks to the former's growth in the receiving game.

It's also a move to prepare for a future without Beast Mode, who could be a cut candidate after this year. Wouldn't you think they'd try to run him as much as possible anyway to use him up before they don't need him anymore?

Even with that receiver deficiency, paper Seattle is built to repeat at least for the conference title, and they'll use Lynch as much as possible when he's active. Any loss of work to Michael won't knock him outside the position's top 12, merely in terms of planned reps. Plus, it may actually help keep him fresh, which could bump his yards per carry.

Of course, someone who relied on so much volume that alleviated a 4.2 YPC two of the last three years has to be in enough danger to fall short of the "gimme" label. I wouldn't stick my nose up at him if he's there at, say, Pick 10, but it'd be a heavy debate, and if I clicked him, I'd be darn sure to handcuff Michael to him later on, and I rarely partake in the tactic anymore. It's one of my few exceptions this year.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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