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It’s still speculation at this point, but Fantasy players could soon be asking, “Should I draft Marshawn Lynch in my 2017 Fantasy Football draft?”

Beast Mode will reportedly come out of retirement if he can sign with the Oakland Raiders. And for a running back in his 30s, he couldn’t ask for a better landing spot. The Raiders now have a young and talented offense, finishing with a 12-win season in 2016.

In 2017, this team should be in the playoff hunt once again. And most importantly for Lynch’s Fantasy value,  the offensive line for the Raiders was one of the best in the NFL last season. According to Pro Football Focus, the Raiders had the fourth-best offensive line.

Behind that line, Oakland finished with a total of 1,922 rushing yards, as well as 19 plays of 20 or more rushing yards. That shows the line gives its backs room to run. In comparison, Oakland’s opponents finished with a total of 1,881 rushing yards and 10 plays of 20 or more rushing yards. So we know Lynch could be playing for a team with one of the best offensive lines in the 2017 NFL season.

That will help his opportunity for Fantasy success, but we also need to consider his competition…

Should I Draft Marshawn Lynch?

Primary Competition: DeAndre Washington & Jalen Richard

DeAndre Washington, a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, finished 2016 with 467 rushing yards off of 87 rushing attempts. He scored two rushing touchdowns, and he also caught 17 passes for 115 yards.

His strongest performance of the season was in Week 16, where he rushed for 99 yards and scored two touchdowns off of just 12 carries. However, Washington never had a chance to showcase his skill set. Week 16 was the only game where he recorded more than 12 carries.

While he was used sparingly in the passing attack in Oakland, Washington posted impressive stats as a receiver at Texas Tech. In his final college season in 2015, the 24-year old back hauled in 41 passes for 385 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions.

Given how the Raiders utilized him in 2016, Jalen Richard would be a bigger threat to Lynch’s PPR value. In 2016, Richard posted a 29-194-2 stat line as a receiver, and he was also effective in the passing attack at Southern Mississippi.

Year Receptions Receiving Yards Touchdowns
2012 8 39 1
2013 21 168 1
2014 24 184 1
2015 30 284 2

 

It’s true, Lynch has recorded three seasons with 300 or more receiving yards, so he has been able to function as a dual-threat back in the past. But because the Raiders will want to keep the soon-to-be 31-year old running back fresh, Richard could cut into his opportunities as a receiver.

That means most of Lynch’s Fantasy value in 2017 will revolve around his rushing performances.

So should you draft Lynch in 2017 if he signs with the Raiders?

That depends on your risk tolerance. I wouldn’t want to draft him before Round 8, and I wouldn’t want to rely on him as my RB2 for the reasons stated below.

  • He hasn’t played in a 16-game season since 2014
  • He hasn’t played football since 2015
  • He only averaged 3.8 yards per carry (tied for the second lowest in his career) in the seven games he did play in 2015
  • He had a massive workload from 2012 to 2014 in Seattle, averaging 330 touches per season
  • He will be a 31-year old back when the season starts

The SCFE staff seems to be in agreement that Lynch is more valuable to the Raiders than he will be in Fantasy. Lynch could have a handful of big games, but he won’t be a consistent producer like he was in his prime in Seattle.

 

“Predicting when he has one TD and 80 yards and when he has six carries for 30 yards is a game I’d rather not play, “So-Called Fantasy Experts contributor Mark Strausberg said.

SCFE co-founder David Gonos told me he would only draft Lynch as an RB3 or an RB4. However, he may consider drafting him in Round 7.

But if you can draft him at a good price (I still wouldn’t draft him before Round 8), he is perfect for an MFL10 format. You get all the upside of owning Lynch when he does have those big games, but you also minimize your downside when he disappoints.

He’s still worth adding in regular leagues, as long as you can get him at a good price and don’t set the bar too high.

While you’re preparing for the 2017 season, make sure to also check out our latest analysis on Latavius Murray, Eddie Lacy, and Pierre Garcon.

But if you can’t wait until the 2017 Fantasy Football season, we have you covered for the 2017 Fantasy Baseball season.

 

What’s the best Fantasy Baseball draft tool ever created? Check out the details right here provided by David Gonos, where he discusses in great detail, the Draft Wizard and Draft Assistant. Voted the best Fantasy Baseball draft tool for 2017, the FantasyPros’ Draft Wizard is all you need for a successful draft, as well as in-season management, on your way to a championship.

 

 

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