Rap Battle: Marshawn Lynch is a Strong Buy
Shawn Siegele will take the opposing position in this battle and explains why Marshawn is a strong sell.
In 2012, Marshawn Lynch realized the potential that he flashed during his first two seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Lynch set career-highs in carries, yards and yards per carry. His 11 touchdowns was fifth amongst running backs. By all accounts, it was a banner year for Beast Mode. But, I’m here to tell you to expect even better results this season from Skittles this season. And, wouldn’t you know it, Lynch is my top fantasy back this season. Here’s why.
The Annexation of Percy Harvin
Last season, Adrian Peterson saw a major spike in production following Percy Harvin’s season-ending injury in Week 9. In fact, Peterson’s three highest rush totals and both of his 200 yard games came after Harvin’s injury. But, this was more about Peterson hitting his stride following his return from a torn ACL than a product of Harvin’s absence.
Shawn admits the development of the Seattle offense played a large role in Lynch’s value last season, and it’s hard to see how that can be spun as a negative
In fact, the addition of Percy Harvin continues to add to Lynch’s value. The Seahawks now have a potential triple-threat backfield with Russell Wilson, Harvin and Lynch. Seattle will spread Harvin all over the field in an attempt to create confusion for opposing defenses. That means eyeballs away from Lynch who should get plenty of breathing room as defenses have fewer players in the box to defend against the run.
Now, the Seahawks will likely run a ton of shotgun sets in order to maximize Wilson’s legs and Harvin’s maneuverability. Since Lynch seeks contact, he gives the impression of a classic between the tackles grinder. He didn’t get the nickname Beast Mode because he ducked out of bounds instead of lowering his head. But, thanks in large part to Wilson’s dynamism, Lynch proved very effective in shotgun sets last season.
In 2012, Lynch ran the ball 54 times out of shotgun for 421 yards, which comes to 7.8 yards per carry. Now, that’s clearly a small sample size, but he’s proven to be especially dangerous when he gets a head of steam.
Add Harvin into the mix and you’ve got yourself some serious weaponry. Last season, Harvin caught 32 passes behind the line scrimmage from Christian Ponder. Sure, he averaged just 8.6 YPC on those receptions, but as a big play threat, defenses are forced to key on him. Again, that leaves more room and opportunity for Lynch.
Finally, the addition of Harvin means the Seahawks will use a considerable amount of three wide receiver sets with Sidney Rice and Golden Tate. In 2012, Lynch rushed the ball 98 times for 644 yards (6.6 YPC) and four touchdowns in three wide receiver formations. That’s without Harvin wreaking havoc, which means fantasy owners can expect a similar level of effectiveness this season.
Fewer carries, Better results
Lynch is undoubtedly going to lose carries this season. That’s a given. The Seahawks didn’t draft Christine Michael with the 62nd pick to have him take in the view from the sidelines. Percy Harvin averaged over two carries per game in nine games last season. Russell Wilson ran the ball 94 times last season and could see certainly see a bump in rushing attempts. That’s not to mention change-up back Robert Turbin.
But, is a loss of carries for Lynch really such a bad thing?
Like most backs, especially those that crave contact, Lynch was much more effective in his first 20 carries of the game in 2012. In carries 1-20 last season, Lynch rushed for 1,463 yards on 283 carries. That comes to over 5.1 YPC. On carries 21-30, Lynch rushed for 127 yards on 32 carries or just under 4 YPC. Less wasted carries equals more effective carries. You dig?
Lynch should be a lock for around 20 carries per game this season, which is when he’s clearly most effective. Obviously in fantasy football, it doesn’t matter whether your points come in the first or fourth quarter, but Lynch’s fresh legs and reduced workload should be a benefit to both him and his fantasy value this season.
The Fantasy Value of Playing with a Lead
Lastly, the Seahawks boast one of the NFL’s best defenses, which only got better in the offseason. If things break right, Seattle will spend a ton of time playing with the lead this season. And Marshawn sure does love a big lead. Last season, Lynch ran the ball 103 times with a lead for 587 yards (5.7 YPC). Lynch averaged 7.2 yards per carry when Seattle was leading by nine or more points.
Lynch eats up vulnerable defenses. Beast Mode’s running style is exactly what defenses don’t want to see when they’re beaten and demoralized. That’s when Skittles eats. Just ask the Cardinals.