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Camp Battles Seattle RB
Maybe the biggest surprise about Marshawn Lynch’s retirement this offseason is that most didn’t view it as much of a surprise. Fans have come to expect the unexpected from America’s favorite Skittles connoisseur. But Lynch’s departure has left a void in one of the NFC’s most balanced offenses, one the team MUST fill if it is to get back to another Super Bowl.
Every race has a favorite, and second-year Thomas Rawls is the back favored heading into camp even though he is not expected to be at full health. Rawls did well in replacing Lynch for periods last year, and he has the most experience among the contenders. But the Seahawks wouldn’t have used two draft picks on running backs if they’d been totally comfortable with Lynch.
Why Rawls is your best bet: As a rookie, Rawls had barely touched the ball when he torched the Bears in late September. His 104-yard performance made everyone take notice. Three more 100-yard efforts followed, including a 209-yard game against division rival San Francisco. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry as a rookie and logged 22 carries of 10-plus yards. He is not Lynch, but he is the only back with much experience, and at times he was more effective than Lynch last year when the two shared the field.
Why it’s C.J. Prosise: Rawls has a checkered injury history and was bumming around on a bad ankle this offseason. The Seahawks do still have Christine Michael but he has just 106 carries in three seasons. For these reasons Seattle padded their roster in April, beginning with Prosise. The third round pick was a 1,000-yard back for Notre Dame last year, and that included having missed extensive action at the end of the season. He averaged 7.5 yards last season against USC, and 9.0 against Georgia Tech. And Prosise showed he can catch the ball – an area Rawls didn’t excel in last season; in the past two seasons Prosise caught 55 balls for the Irish.
Don’t forget about: Alex CollinsThe Seahawks picked up Collins in round five. He was a three-time 1,000-yard back for Arkansas. That alone says plenty (SEC country) and Collins’ 2015 season – 1,577 yards, 20 touchdowns – suggests he could have more big days ahead of him.
Who fantasy owners should pull for: RawlsHe’s already proven to be a breakout fantasy back, when healthy. If he can secure the job and remain on the field Rawls could be a top 10 fantasy back.
Follow Mike Beacom on Twitter @mikebeacom