Marshawn Lynch is reportedly planning on coming back to play for the Oakland Raiders. Should you rush out and add him to your dynasty team? Yes, but only in certain instances. Let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons.
- Lynch took the 2016 season off from football and as a result is presumably healthy and fresh
- The Raiders have a good offense and offensive line
- In his prime Lynch was a 1st round level fantasy back putting up over 1,200 yards and 10+ TDs from 2011-2014
- Lynch is 30 years old which is generally the point RBs begin to decline. Last year only 2 RBs over 30 had 1,000 yards (L Blount and Frank Gore) and one of those (Blount) turned 30 during the season
- Lynch has a history of injuries including his final season in 2015 where he only played 7 games
- The Raiders have some good young backs in Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. Latavius Murray led the team last year with 788 yards rushing.
- Let’s be honest Lynch is a bit of a different character and could up and decide to retire at any point in time
There are going to be a lot of people in leagues that jump at the chance to add or draft Lynch should he decide to come back. This is a much easier decision to make in a redraft league. Seeing as DSE is a dynasty league this makes the decision much more difficult. Many questions arise like when should I take Lynch, how many years does he have left, what is his trade value and more. In a DSE league I see only two reasons to take a chance on Marshawn.
- You are a contending team where one more RB could put you over the top. In this case, it absolutely makes sense to take a chance if it means potentially winning your league. A good example of this would be my DSE team where I finished the regular season last year in first place but lost in the playoffs. My weakest point is at RB and Lynch might be enough to push me over the edge and win a championship.
- You are not a contending team but know that someone in your league will trade something significant for Lynch. If adding him can help you build your team through the acquisition of additional assets then by all means it is worth it.
My point is to have a strategy behind your thoughts on him like with any player. Because of his age, Lynch becomes an even more difficult evaluation in a dynasty league. Which players would you take him over on the list of 2016 NFL rushing leaders?
- Ezekiel Elliott
- Jordan Howard
- DeMarco Murray
- Jay Ajayi
- Le’Veon Bell
- LeSeason McCoy
- David Johnson
- LeGarrette Blount
- Devonta Freeman
- Lamar Miller
- Mark Ingram
- Frank Gore
- Melvin Gordon
- Carlos Hyde
- Isaiah Crowell
- Spencer Ware
- Todd Gurley
- Jeremy Hill
- Jonathan Stewart
- Matt Forte
There might be a few names on this list that I would take Lynch over but not many as the majority of these guys are significantly younger. Not only that but we have a much better idea of what we are going to get from them. One of the best lessons I have learned in playing fantasy sports is to draft and evaluate players on what is most likely to happen not what could happen. It is ok to take a chance or two on guys with a potential huge upside but go in knowing what is likely to occur. The best example of this to me is Dorial Green-Beckham. Every year in every type of league he gets drafted too high. Why? Someone inevitably falls in love with what he might be instead of seeing what he is. Ask that person why they took him in the top ten rounds of a dynasty draft and they will tell you because of his upside. Last year in DSE leagues he was the 54th WR off the board at an average of pick 142. This is the 10th round of a draft in a 14-team league. For some perspective, he went ahead of players like Mohamed Sanu, Steve Smith, Rishard Matthews, Davante Adams, Terrelle Pryor, Ty Montgomery, Jamison Crowder and Tyrell Williams.
Another good example of this is Josh Gordon. There are still plenty of dynasty players who hold out hope that Gordon is going to come back after not playing in the NFL since 2014 and be a 1,000 yard WR. For some perspective on this the last time Gordon had over 1,000 yards in a season (2013) Ezekiel Elliott was a Freshmen at Ohio St. and Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Deshaun Watson were in High School. At some point in time you have to look at things and say this just isn’t likely to happen and the most likely outcome is that Josh Gordon is never a productive NFL player again.
With all of this said, what is likely to happen with Marshawn Lynch? In my opinion, I think he plays 10-12 games and gets about 15 touches per game. I would expect him to come in around 650-750 rushing yards and contribute maybe 20 catches on top of that. The one area where he will have the most value is in the redzone as the goal line back. I would expect that even with limited touches he could get 8-10 TDs. Anyone who expects Lynch to come in and rush for 1,200 yards and 15 TDs is fooling themselves. Is it possible that could happen? Sure, but it’s note what is most likely to happen. Beyond the fact that he is 30 and hasn’t played in a year, is that the Raiders have a lot of additional offensive weapons including Crabtree, Cooper, Jared Cook and others. I honestly don’t see him being anything more than a complimentary piece to what is already a very good offense built around Derek Carr.
This article isn’t meant to push you away from Lynch but is to show you the reality of the situation. There is no way I would take him over CJ Anderson, Mark Ingram, Spencer Ware, Todd Gurley or many other RBs. Personally, I want guys I can count on week in and week out to get touches and produce points. Taking this one step further with DSE being dynasty leagues I want guys I can keep for several years. As I said earlier, this all changes if your team is one player away from contending as in this case it is absolutely worth taking a shot in hopes that you can squeeze one more good season from Lynch.
My best advice to you as we move towards draft season is to evaluate Lynch on what is most likely to happen and draft him accordingly. Understand that he is a 30-year-old RB who didn’t play last year. Know that it is very likely in a year or two he is going to retire again. Make an educated decision and don’t get caught up in the maybes. Think of all the owners who drafted Green-Beckham last year ahead of Jamison Crowder and Terrelle Pryor knowing those other players were in better situations and don’t be that guy. Be the person that understands where their team is and makes a decision on value not on what could be.