Fantasy Football Instant Reaction: Doug Martin, Jalen Richard have opportunity with Marshawn Lynch out
With Marshawn Lynch out for at least the next month - and potentially even longer - Chris Towers tries to make sense of the Oakland backfield.
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The running back landscape got shaken up across the country Friday – Dave Richard Raiders received quite a shock during their off week. NFL Network reported Friday we've seen the last of Marshawn Lynch for at least the next month – and possibly quite a bit longer – after an MRI revealed a serious groin injury.– and the
The exact details of the injury aren't yet known to the public, but the report indicates Lynch will be out at least a month – however injured reserve is a "strong possibility," per Ian Rapoport. It isn't known whether Lynch will require surgery, but if he does go on IR, that would effectively end his season. Even if he is designated to return, that would keep him out until at least Week 15.
Even the lower range of the timeline has Lynch missing several games. Even including the team's Week 7 bye, missing a month would likely keep Lynch out until Week 11 or 12. That's right at the edge of the Fantasy regular season, meaning you'll have a tough decision as to whether to hang on to him. The good news is, you won't need to make that decision for several days, so see if we find out something more concrete before waivers run Tuesday for Week 8. Even if he doesn't go on IR, you may not need to hang on to Lynch.
As for how the Raiders' running game will look, there's the wishful thinking outcome and what's most likely to happen. Most Fantasy players would probably like to see Jalen Richard thrust into an every-down role, because he has shown big-play ability whenever given the opportunity over the last three seasons. Richard hasn't done much with his paltry 11 carries this season, but already has a career-high 31 receptions for 253 yards through six games.
The more likely outcome, however, probably sees Richard stay in his current role, with Doug Martin stepping into Lynch's role. Martin was talked up by the coaching staff in the offseason and has 27 carries to Richard's 11, however he has produced an uninspiring 99 yards with them. That is in continuing with a theme for Martin, who hasn't averaged even 3.0 yards per carry since 2015. He was, of course, excellent in 2015, rushing for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns, but has been a total non-factor since.
So far this season, Lynch had been playing 50.5 percent of the Raiders' offensive snaps, while Richard has played 35.7 percent and Martin has logged 13.6 percent. Richard could see a slightly larger role, but I would guess the half of the team's offensive snaps going to Lynch will be transferred to Martin. At least at first. If he can find a spark of his former Pro Bowl form, the Raiders may not miss a beat without Lynch; if not, there's an opportunity available for Richard to prove he's something more than just a passing down's specialist.
The Raiders won't be caught by surprise with this news, with more than a full week to come up with a game plan before Week 8 against the Colts. It's not a bad landing spot for the running game, but expectations should be low until Martin especially proves otherwise.
Martin will be one of the top targets on waivers in all Fantasy leagues in the wake of this news next week, and probably should be added in all formats based on the workload opportunity in front of him. Richard is also worth adding, especially in PPR formats. He may remain primarily a pass-catching specialist in the near term, but if Martin continues to struggle, there's an opportunity there for him to carve out a more significant role.
Who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 7? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 5 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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