Adam Levitan

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Beasting On?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Marshawn Lynch is perhaps the best power runner in the league. He reads his zone blocks beautifully. After posting 103 yards on 19 carries in Thursday night's 13-6 loss to the Niners, he has 652 rushing yards in seven games. I’d still consider selling now in any kind of point-per-reception format. Here’s why:

Seattle - San Francisco Box Score

1. Lynch is a reliable, but not explosive fantasy asset because he doesn’t get in space very often. The Seahawks’ inept passing game has led to eight-man boxes on every play. Lynch showed his lack of chops in the passing game by dropping a big screen pass in the third quarter. In seven games, he’s caught a brutal 10 passes.

2. Due to the above, most of Lynch’s big-game value is tied up in touchdowns. That relies upon the Seahawks sustaining drives into the red zone, something their offense is having real trouble doing. Russell Wilson has topped 200 passing yards twice in seven weeks.

3. As Evan Silva pointed out in Matchups, five of the Seahawks’ next eight games are against teams with top-12 run defenses.

4. To top it off, the Lynch hasn’t had his bye yet and the Seahawks play the Niners’ nasty defense again in Week 16 – fantasy Super Bowl week.

* Frank Gore was a beast with 131 rushing yards and 51 receiving yards. The 49ers run the trap play better than anyone in the league and they gashed a really good run defense repeatedly Thursday. Gore left late with some bruised ribs, but it doesn’t sound like a major issue.

* Yes, Vernon Davis played just about every snap. Somehow, he had no catches and no targets. It wasn’t like the Seahawks were doing anything special to stop Davis – he matched up with safeties and linebackers, running plenty of pass routes. Alex Smith just never looked his way. Stay the course.

* Russell Wilson was better than his stats looked. Ugly drops by Robert Turbin, Golden Tate and Evan Moore on perfectly thrown balls killed some monster plays.

* Doug Baldwin hurt his ankle late in the first half and never returned.

Ahmad Bradshaw returned to practice Thursday. That’s where the good news ends for owners.

The recurrence of Bradshaw’s foot issues is worrisome for the Giants. They want their lead back healthy for the long haul and undoubtedly regret riding him for 57 carries in the last two weeks. That’s why coach Tom Coughlin confirmed that Bradshaw will work in more of a committee in Sunday’s game against the Redskins.

It’s not like the Giants don’t have good options behind Bradshaw. Andre Brown (concussion) is healthy and took first-team reps on Wednesday. He’s certainly reliable. And flashy rookie David Wilson has worked his way out of the doghouse. He can be a special change-of-pace option.

So take Bradshaw’s claim that his latest foot injury isn’t related to his previous problems, couple it with his participation in practice and make a trade.  

It’s really hard to get a read on the Jimmy Graham (ankle) situation. On Thursday morning, the ultra-reliable Adam Schefter reported that there’s “not a lot of optimism” regarding Graham’s Week 7 status. That came on the heels of unsubstantiated rumors that Graham has sustained a high-ankle sprain in Week 5.

Graham did get back in a limited practice Thursday, but interim coach Aaron Kromer hinted at a true game-time decision against the Bucs. If Graham does suit up, we could be looking at a limited role and effectiveness.

Normally, that would make for an easy benching in fantasy. But Graham’s elite talent makes this one sticky. Secure a backup option –David Thomas if you’re desperate – and wait for more info.  

Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and Isaac Redman (ankle) are both headed for game-time calls. Look for a pass-heavy attack out of the Steelers Sunday night. … Trent Richardson (ribs) remains on track to start Sunday. Even if the Browns cap his workload, he’s impossible to sit. … Jermichael Finley continues to be bothered by his shoulder injury. Hard guy to trust right now. … Aaron Hernandez (ankle) missed practice but confirmed that he’s feeling better than last week. Must start. … Brandon Bolden (knee) is looking doubtful for Week 7.

Vincent Jackson was added to the injury report with a calf injury. It’s something to monitor. … Pierre Garcon (foot) doesn’t appear close to playing. Stash him. … Same can be said for Greg Jennings (groin). He wants to get to 100 percent before returning. … Hakeem Nicks (knee, foot) practiced for the second straight day. He appears over the hump. … Kenny Britt is not listed on the injury report. Major upside this week against the Bills’ No. 29 pass defense.

Michael Vick will reportedly start in Week 8. That was never the question. The issue come to a head if Vick faceplants against the Falcons. … Even though Bilal Powell (shoulder) and Joe McKnight (ankle) are both out, the Jets didn’t sign a running back. That’s because they plan on giving Tim Tebow more carries as a running back. … The Chiefs are holding an open quarterback competition during their bye week between favorite Matt Cassel and underdog Brady Quinn.  

Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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