Marshawn Lynch was once considered a rock-solid, sure-fire first-round Fantasy draft pick. Heck, that's what he was last year!
Boy, have things changed. Lynch is coming off of a 400-touch season that included a Super Bowl run, a double whammy of red flags that indicate he could falter. And now he's reportedly decided to hold out.
If he somehow turns 30 and adds 500 carries to his resume before the season starts he'll have hit the grand slam of running back breakdown warning signs.
Even as it stands, Lynch is a dangerous proposition for Fantasy. The longer he decides to hold out, the even more dangerous he'll be. As I mentioned in a blog I wrote about Jamaal Charles' holdout (which lasted a few hours), players who miss a large chunk of training camp and/or the preseason tend to get off to a slow start and open themselves up to having a bad season. Lynch is already coming off a year where he was overworked and has racked up 1,002 carries over the Seahawks' last three seasons. Now he's going to chill out and not show up?!
I might give Lynch the benefit of the doubt and figure that even if he were on-time for camp that the Seahawks wouldn't let him practice every day at full throttle. And I'd bet a foofy coffee drink that he wouldn't play in three of the four Seahawks preseason games anyway. And I'd bet another foofy coffee drink that when he did play in the one preseason game the team would want him in, it would be for a series or two tops. But I'd still want him to be with the team and get adjusted to football again for a couple of weeks instead of, say, showing up the week before their kickoff game vs. the Packers and saying "let's play."
So the date I'd want to see Lynch with the team is Aug. 16, a generously late deadline given how I would have wanted to see Charles back with the Chiefs nearly a week earlier. If he reports by the 16th he'd have plenty of time to gear up for a few reps against the Raiders in the Seahawks' last preseason game and he'd have nearly three weeks to get into good enough shape to take on the Packers on opening night. If I don't see Lynch by then, I'm not just sinking him in my rankings, I'm dropping him down far enough to where I won't draft him.
And I'll aim for his backup, Christine Michael, instead.
If he reports before the 16th then I'll still consider him with a late-first/early-second draft choice but I'll be forced to spend an eighth round pick on Michael. Fantasy owners can't take chances with Lynch no matter what.