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End of a dominant fantasy run for Marshawn Lynch

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Marshawn Lynch has been one of the most productive and exciting running backs in the National Football League, and fantasy football, for the better part of the last five seasons. Heck, the man caused an earthquake during a 2011 NFL Wild Card playoff game against the New Orleans Saints!

No, I'm serious ... on a memorable 67-yard run that saw him break nine tackles, a Pacific Northwest Seismic Network station registered a small tremor (based on fan noise) near Qwest Field in what will forever be remembered as the "Beast Quake."

Unfortunately, Lynch won't beast anymore ... at least not on an NFL field. The talented runner appeared to announce his retirement with a tweet during Super Bowl 50. NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport later tweeted confirmation that Lynch did "indicate to the Seahawks that he's retiring."

Our last look at Lynch wasn't a memorable one. The veteran returned after a long absence (sports hernia) to rush for 20 yards on a mere six carries in a 31-24 Divisonal Round loss to the Carolina Panthers. Lynch finished the 2015 campaign with 111 carries, 417 rushing yards and three touchdowns (seven games). Those numbers ranked him 56th in fantasy points among running backs, which was his worst finish since 2011.

Prior to 2015, he had ranked no worse than fourth at the position in his previous four seasons. During that time, Lynch rushed for 5,357 yards (or an average of 1,339 yards a season) and scored a combined 56 touchdowns. He was also a lock first-rounder in all fantasy football drafts.

That level of success came with a price though, as Lynch carried the football 1,292 from 2011-2015. That was the fourth-most in the league during that time. At least in some part, you can blame that workload for Lynch's physical breakdown in his ninth NFL season. It could also be a big part of the reason he's moved on from professional football.

In his absence, Thomas Rawls will take over as the new lead back in Seattle. He looked like "Beast Mode Jr." during his time as the team's top runner in 2015, rushing for 100-plus yards four times, including a 209-yard performance against the San Francisco 49ers, before suffering a broken ankle in a Week 14 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

At the age of 22 and set to be featured in a run-based offense, Rawls will be a virtual lock to be a top-25 overall selection in 2016 fantasy drafts. He will have some big shoes to fill though, as Lynch concludes what was a highly productive career at the NFL level.

Now that his time in the league is over, I'll raise a bag of Skittles in his honor and remember Lynch as one of the best (fantasy) running backs of this era.


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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