Fantasy Football: Marshawn Lynch, Raiders reach deal; will he still be beast in Fantasy?
In a move that has been rumored for almost a month, the Raiders and Marshawn Lynch agreed to a deal Friday to bring Lynch out of retirement to play in his hometown of Oakland. Jamey Eisenberg looks at Lynch's Fantasy value for 2017.
It's not a completed deal yet, but Marshawn Lynch is headed to the Raiders. The Oakland native is coming out of retirement and going to play in his hometown in 2017.
On Friday, the NFL Network reported that Lynch and the Raiders have agreed to a deal. The Seahawks still hold Lynch's rights, so either Seattle has to release Lynch or the two teams need to work out a trade.
However it happens, Lynch is going to play this season. And he's going to be in silver and black.
Fantasy owners now have Beast Mode back in action.
Lynch steps into an amazing situation with the Raiders, who need a replacement for departed free agent Latavius Murray. The offensive line is among the best in the NFL, and Pro Football Focus ranked Oakland's unit No. 4 in 2016.
But Lynch will be 31 before the NFL Draft. He hasn't played football in over a year, and he struggled to stay healthy in 2015, his final season with the Seahawks.
Fantasy owners will need to keep their expectations in check with Lynch on Draft Day. Don't draft the name or the historical stats because we don't get Fantasy points for previous production.
With the Raiders, Lynch is expected to work on rushing downs and at the goal line. Second-year running backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard will share playing time with Lynch, like they did with Murray, but Lynch is clearly going to be in the lead role.
Lynch will try to replace Murray, who had 195 carries for 788 yards (4.0-yards per carry) and 12 touchdowns and 33 catches for 264 yards. The receiving stats will likely be minimal for Lynch, although he did have at least 36 catches in two of his final three seasons with the Seahawks. But his rushing prowess is what Fantasy owners will gravitate toward, especially if he can get close to 200 carries.
Prior to 2015, Lynch had at least 1,200 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in four consecutive seasons in Seattle, and he averaged at least 4.2 yards per carry each year. But in 2015, after four consecutive seasons of at least 340 carries in the regular season and playoffs, Lynch started to break down.
He only played seven games in 2015 because of hamstring and abdomen injuries, and he retired after the season when he had just 111 carries for 417 yards (3.76-yards per carry) and three touchdowns and 13 catches for 80 yards.
Fantasy owners will be disappointed if that's the player you end up drafting, which could happen given his age and trying to come back after sitting out a full season. However, we understand the chance to run behind that offensive line is enticing, and maybe the year off completely refreshed his body.
It's best to view Lynch as a No. 2 Fantasy running back, and you should plan to draft him in Round 5 in standard leagues and after Round 6 in PPR. If someone else wants to reach for Lynch in the first four rounds then so be it, but we have too much data about old running backs and how they struggle or break down. Just look at Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte and Arian Foster last year.
Richard, who had 83 carries for 491 yards (5.92 yards per carry) and one touchdown and 29 catches for 194 yards and two touchdowns last year, and Washington, who had 87 carries for 467 yards (5.37 yards per carry) and two touchdowns and 17 catches for 115 yards, are now late-round fliers as potential handcuff options. We like Richard slightly better than Washington, but it's close between the two.
We're glad Beast Mode is back in the NFL. It's a fun story that Lynch is going back to his hometown in Oakland, and he gives us another running back to potentially rely on this year.
Just don't reach for him on Draft Day. At the right price, he could be the right running back for your Fantasy team.
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