Marshawn Lynch set to return to roots, ignites fantasy fervor

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Marshawn Lynch will be sporting a slightly different Bay Area jersey this upcoming season. (AP)
Marshawn Lynch will be sporting a slightly different Bay Area jersey this upcoming season. (AP)

For weeks, rumors of a Skittles storm unloading on Oakland floated in the air.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Marshawn Lynch and the Raiders agreed to a two-year deal. If the rusher passes his physical later this week, Seattle and Oakland will complete a trade sending Lynch back to his hometown.

Among fantasy players, Beast Mode’s re-activation triggered a firestorm of social media discussion. His perceived 2017 value is sure to divide leagues and question friendships. After all, though he is a brand name, Lynch is a 31-year-old rusher, ancient by most standards, coming off a one-year siesta who struggled with back problems previously. The attached risks are undeniable.

Still, the eternal optimist in me believes Lynch will be a valuable fantasy commodity this fall. The Raiders, who ranked No. 11 in run-blocking last year, boast a mountain-moving offensive line. Couple that with a very healthy passing game and the veteran back is suddenly thrust into an ideal situation, one on par with his last couple seasons in Seattle. Compared to Adrian Peterson, who signed with the Saints earlier this week, he’s the more attractive option.

And let’s not forget what Lynch accomplished in limited action two years ago. Dissecting advanced analytics, he ranked No. 2 in tackles avoided per attempt among RBs with at least 100 carries, averaged a spectacular 4.6 yards per carry and compiled a respectable 2.6 yards after contact. His skill set didn’t fall off a cliff.

It’s anyone’s best guess how his body will respond to renewed violence. He could break down quickly, but I suspect the time off fully healed him. Most importantly, he won’t be relied upon to shoulder 20 touches per game (71 percent opportunity share in ’15). DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are sure to spell him occasionally. More than likely, Lynch will be asked to handle roughly 14-16 carries per contest which should minimize extreme physical punishment and keep him on the field.

Last year, Latavius Murray finished the season RB13 in total standard points, compiling 1,052 combined yards and 12 touchdowns over 14 games. Assuming the revitalized RB stays upright, it’s entirely possible he comes close to matching his predecessor’s production functioning as Oakland’s primary early down and goal-line back. If a deal is finalized, think 850-950 rushing yards with 10-12 TDs. Accomplish that and he’ll be worth every penny as a Round 4-5 RB2 in 12-team formats.

Unleash the Beast.

Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise

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