Marshawn Lynch's return to the NFL in 2017 went better than expected, and he should be considered a low-end starting option again this year. Lynch came out of a one-year retirement last season and finished as the No. 18 Fantasy running back in standard leagues. He had seven games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in 15 games, and he averaged a respectable 4.3 yards per carry. Lynch has some competition for touches this season with Doug Martin coming to Oakland, and Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington should also get work. But if Lynch, 32, can stay healthy, he should be a candidate for 220-250 total touches in Jon Gruden's offense, which puts him in the range of a weekly starter in most leagues. We would draft Lynch as early as Round 5 in standard leagues and Round 7 in PPR.
Lynch agreed to reduce his 2018 salary by $500,000 in exchange for having most of the remaining money on his contract guaranteed, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports. The new contract ensures Lynch will stay with the Raiders in 2018, ending any rumors that the recent signing of Doug Martin might inspire the team to release its other hometown hero. After coming out of retirement, the 31-year-old proved last season that he's still a capable lead back, overcoming a slow start to finish with 207 carries for 891 yards (4.3 average) and seven touchdowns in 15 games. Martin merely appears in line to compete with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington for backup work.
Lynch will receive his $1 million roster bonus Sunday and remain with the Raiders for the 2018 season, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. The Raiders mulled their options over the first few days of free agency and opted to stick with Lynch for 2018 while also adding former Buccaneer Doug Martin. Lynch rushed 207 times for 891 yards (4.3 average) and had 20 receptions for 151 yards and seven total touchdowns for the Raiders in 2017, and appears slated to be the team's lead back again for the upcoming season.
Lynch seems to have the support of new head coach Jon Gruden, but that doesn't necessarily mean the running back will be back in Oakland for 2018, Michael Gehlken of The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Lynch is scheduled for a $4 million 2018 base salary with the potential for another $4 million in bonuses, including a $1 million roster bonus due March 18, the logical deadline for a decision on his future with the team. That date gives Oakland a few days to explore alternatives in free agency after the league year begins March 14. Lynch will turn 32 in April, but he still looked the part of an NFL lead runner last season, overcoming a slow start to the campaign by ending the year with eight straight outings of 57 or more rushing yards. He produced 4.3 yards per carry in a struggling offense, hitting paydirt on seven of his 207 totes.
New offensive coordinator Greg Olson is in the process of evaluating the Raiders' skill personnel, including Lynch, ESPN's Paul Gutierrez reports. Lynch, who turns 32 in April, is due a base salary of $4 million next season and carries a cap hit of $6 million. That said, per CSN Bay Area, there's still a way to go in terms of determining his fit with the team, with a new coaching staff headed by Jon Gruden now in play. Moreover, we suppose there's always the chance that the veteran back could walk away from the game again. In 15 contests this past season, Lynch logged 207 carries for 891 yards and seven TDs to go along with 20 catches for 151 yards, not eye-popping numbers, but he did gain momentum during the second half of the campaign. Looking ahead, the Raiders also have DeAndre Washington, Jalen Richard and Elijah Hood under contract in 2018, but the direction of the team's backfield hinges on which way things go with Lynch in the coming months.
Lynch rushed for 101 yards on 19 carries and added two receptions for 18 yards on three targets in Sunday's loss to the Chargers. He finishes his 2017 campaign with 207 carries for 891 yards and seven touchdowns to go along with 20 catches for 151 yards on 31 targets. Lynch surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark for just the second time all season in the Raiders' 2017 finale, but the veteran failed to find the end zone for a third consecutive game. Lynch's return from retirement with Oakland was respectable as he posted an average of 4.3 yards per carry while finding the end zone seven times, but the Raiders' offense ultimately fell well short of expectations en route to a 6-10 record. Lynch is slated to return in 2018 when the offense may be under new direction if the team elects to move on from offensive coordinator Todd Downing, which could provide a boost for the potential production of what should be an above-average offensive line.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/11||Los Angeles Rams||27||19.00|
|5||10/07||@Los Angeles Chargers||23||18.38|
|9||11/02||@San Francisco 49ers||19||17.75|
|10||11/11||Los Angeles Chargers||23||18.38|
|13||12/02||Kansas City Chiefs||20||17.76|
|17||12/30||@Kansas City Chiefs||20||17.76|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||106||436||3||11||77||0||68|