Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch went into full “Beast Mode” last season, finishing third in the NFL in rushing yards with 1,590 (on 315 carries-fifth in the league) along with 11 touchdowns on the ground and 12 total touchdowns. He also had 10 100-yard rushing games, and averaged a career-best 5.0 yards per carry.
Surely any fantasy football owner that had Lynch was happy with his performance last season, but can he repeat it in 2013?
Lynch was very consistent apart from his outstanding production in 2012, with over 80 rushing yards in 14 games and two four-game streaks with at least 100 rushing yards. Lynch was also highly productive during the playoffs in most fantasy leagues, averaging 117.3 rushing yards per game in Week 14-16 (over 100 yards in all three games) with five rushing touchdowns in that span. Even owners in leagues that use Week 17 enjoyed having Lynch right to the end, as he had 18 carries for 100 yards and two catches for 14 yards against the St. Louis Rams in the regular season finale.
Lynch will be Seattle’s clear-cut workhorse again this season, and despite the team using two drafts picks in April on running backs he has no significant competition for carries. The Seahawks’ offense could become a bit more pass-oriented with the acquisition of wide receiver Percy Harvin and the continued progression of quarterback Russell Wilson, but they should still be one of the more run-heavy offenses in the league this year.
Being paired with a mobile quarterback can affect a running back’s touchdown total (see Eddie George), but even with Wilson scoring four touchdowns on the ground last season Lynch only had one fewer rushing touchdown than he did in 2011.
Assuming he stays healthy, and there is some risk of physical breakdown at age 27 with 600 carries over the last two seasons, Lynch should get 280-300 carries and post 1,000-1,500 rushing yards with double-digit touchdowns for the third straight season.
Lynch is one of the easiest players to project in the entire running back pool this year, with his lack of significant downside making him a sure first-round pick in fantasy leagues and an upper echelon RB1 regardless of scoring format. He does not add much value in PPR leagues though, with just 23 receptions last season, and it’s worth wondering if Harvin’s presence will take Lynch’s catch total down a bit this year.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.