by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We all have fond memories of Marshawn Lynch and the numbers he posted while in Seattle. From 2011-2014 he averaged nearly 1,340 yards and 12 TD per season, so you’d think that he’d be a lock to step right into a prominent role for fantasy owners. That’s the stance most have taken early on, with an early ADP of 20.0. In his prime he was a lock to be a first round pick, so at this point he has to be worth a second round pick, right?
While he still has that type of potential, it’s actually easy to say that the risk outweighs the reward.
Sure he was a dominant runner, but we have to keep in mind that he’s now 31-years old and is two years removed from a productive season. It’s easy to forget that his final year in Seattle (2015) saw him plagued by injuries, as he was limited to 7 games. Even when he was on the field he wasn’t all that good, with a 3.8 YPC.
We also can’t forget that, even during his prime, you can argue that some of the numbers were due more to volume then productiveness. Look at the carries and yards per carry he posted over that stretch:
Yards per Carry
Playing in Oakland, with Derek Carr at quarterback and the weapons they’ve surrounded him with, do we really think he’ll get close to 300 carries? Last season there were only four running backs who had at least 290 and only 11 who had at least 250.
If Lynch averages 4.2 YPC on 250 carries we’re talking about him amassing 1,050. Two years removed from a productive season (even with one being due to retirement, giving you the argument that he’s “fresh”), is it a stretch to think that he falls below a 4.2 average? What if he actually comes in with fewer 250 carries? He’s a non-factor in the passing game, so that kind of risk can’t be ignored.
He’ll likely score TD, but can we say with certainty that he’ll reach 10? Would it be a big surprise to see Carr throw the ball, even when in close?
We’re not about to say that Lynch is going to be a non-factor or that he won’t hold value. That said at that type of pick we’d want a bit more certainty, as you do have the potential to put yourself in a significant hole by “wasting” a second round pick. Granted in the NFL there’s always risk involved in selecting a player, but the risk with Lynch seems a little bit higher than most.
If Lynch slips down another round we’d be more apt to make the selection, but at his current ADP it’s a tough sell.
Sources – ESPN, Fantasy Pros
Make sure to check out our early 2017 Rankings: