The Seattle Seahawks have one of the best running backs in the NFL in Marshawn Lynch, but that also leaves little room for others to contribute to one the best rushing attacks in the league. Backups Robert Turbin and Christine Michael combined for 95 regular season carries in 2013, but Lynch will turn 28 in April and it would make a lot of sense for the team to look for ways to lessen his workload a bit.
Based on talent and physical tools Michael should have been a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, but a poor senior season at Texas A&M and reports of missed interviews with teams at the NFL Combine led to him falling to the second round (62nd overall). He wound up seeing action in just three games as a rookie, with 18 carries, as Turbin kept the No. 2 spot on the depth chart all season.
Michael and Turbin will likely have a training camp battle for who will be Lynch’s primary backup next season, but Michael is a more talented runner and should be considered the favorite to win the role as long as he shows some progress in his all-around skills through the offseason.
Lynch will still be one of the first five running backs drafted in fantasy leagues this summer, and he’ll again be a top-tier RB1 as long as he is healthy. But the need to handcuff him is becoming greater in deeper leagues, with his age and workload (1,002 carries over the last three seasons, counting the playoffs) bringing some risk into the picture. Aside from his potential value as Lynch’s handcuff in single-season leagues for 2014, Michael has terrific upside in dynasty leagues and he is someone to keep a close eye on in that format.