By Eighty Six @86ThePoet on August 10, 2014
I love Marshawn Lynch. I want a wall-sized video screen showing nothing but the Beast Quake run, Shawn Kemp dunks and Ken Griffey Jr. home runs. But I'm not drafting him to my fantasy football team. Most rankings have Lynch as a top five back going in the middle of the first round, but I don't think so. I'd love to see Lynch run through walls again all year, but it's time to separate the heart from the brain and make tough choices.
The NFL is a violent place. Running backs have shorter life spans than any other position. Many RBs have ground down after only a couple of good years. For every Emmitt Smith there are a thousand David Wilsons or Barry Fosters. What do Lynch and Shaun Alexander have in common? Five career 1000-yard seasons. After his fifth, Alexander missed nine games in two years and faded away. Lynch may have seen his best days already.
Note the change in Seattle strategy from Russell Wilson's first game to his last. Pete Carroll began cautiously with his young starter, relying on defense and ball control running. Bit by bit, he has pushed forward the throttle and let Wilson taxi down the runway. With the best group of receivers in his career, Wilson could lead a more balanced attack this year. If running and gunning works, Seattle may stick with it.
The Seahawks have been that delicious fantasy rarity with a true old-school feature back. That may no longer be the case. They are grooming a pair of 5-foot-10 Marshawn clones named Robert Turbin and Christine Michael. Running back platoons are great for real, not fantasy, football teams. You always have a fresh thoroughbred. Expect more platoonage this year, especially if Chris Mike busts a long touchdown early.
The Seahawks, Lynch, Martians and your Grandma all suspect Seattle may cut Lynch next year rather than pay an aging runner several million. They need to sign Wilson and Bobby Wagner. So this year, it's Super Bowl repeat or die trying. Carroll will save Lynch's toughest miles for the playoffs. The first sixteen weeks of the year when we're on Fantasy Island, Marshawn will be saving up for a big finish.
I always remind myself to keep the heart and brain apart when making calculated decisions. Someone in your league can't do that. At least one guy ahead of you dreams Lynch will shatter every tackler this year on his way to 20 touchdowns and 2000 yards. Now, if Lynch fell into the second or third round, I'd take him. That's not going to happen. Just like Jimmy Graham and Seattle's defense, someone's taking him much earlier than I would.
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