Geoff Freamo

Holdout: How Will The Seahawks’ RB Position Be Effected?

Created on Jul. 30, 2014 7:12 AM EST

As was reported by former Seahawk Michael Robinson on the NFL network, Seahawks running back, and fantasy first rounder, Marshawn Lynch will not be reporting to training camp due to a contract dispute. These questions now must be asked: How long will this holdout last, and what effect will it have on his playing status for Week 1? How does this change his ADP? What about his handcuff?

We all know how these things tend to work out, there being two scenarios that usually happen. First, the team promptly hands the player a fair contract, like the Chiefs just did with Jamaal Charles, to get them into camp. The other option, which nobody wants, is that this will drag out late into the preseason, costing Lynch practice time, and potentially, playing time once the season gets underway.

Under the first scenario, there will be no repercussions. Lynch will still be the lead back for the Seahawks, get his 250-plus carries and make his first round selection worthwhile. Option two, on the other hand, could make for an interesting situation.

There is always some dread about players starting the season without participating in camp. History has shown an increase in muscular injuries that comes from lack of preparation when players work out on their own. Lynch has been fortunate not to suffer any notable hamstring injuries to this point of his career, but that doesn’t decrease his risk. If he does go down for an extended period, owners will be cursing his name.

There is also the handcuff situation to look at. Coming into camp, there has already been talk about Christine Michael having more opportunities this year. With Lynch out of his way, Michael will have a chance to prove that he’s capable of handling the workload from day one. The former second round pick is a different type of back than the bruising Lynch, but his athleticism is getting rave reviews.

This should make Lynch’s owners nervous, but there are some positives to the situation too. The more looks that Michael gets now, the more he will continue to get as the season progresses, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Lynch.

                                            Marshawn Lynch Stats by Quarter - 2013

QUARTER = 1 79 427 5.4 43 1 14 85 6.1 22 0
QUARTER = 2 80 320 4 37 4 7 97 13.9 35 0
QUARTER = 3 75 257 3.4 18 3 7 25 3.6 8 0
QUARTER = 4 57 196 3.4 17 4 7 96 13.7 55 2
OVERTIME 10 57 5.7 14 0 1 13 13 13 0

As you can see by his 2013 splits, Lynch is most effective early in the game, when he’s fresh. While he is still productive, there’s a noticeable drop in usage, and production, in the second half. Lynch is now 28 years old, and is approaching the typical shelf life of an NFL running back. If he can be spared a few carries early, he can grind out more yards in the second half to close out games. This does, however, likely mean that he will be very inconsistent from week to week, fantasy-wise.

It’s likely that this situation will not resolve itself quickly, given the presence of Michael and Lynch’s age. This doesn’t mean that you should value him less. I would still draft him early, but the guaranteed production that he has provided over the last few seasons won’t necessarily be there. This just means one of the safer early picks joins the ranks of backs with question marks. As for Michael, he should see a significant jump in value if the holdout persists. He was already a safe mid-round target, he just might be worth a reach if you're not happy with the draft board.