Marshawn Lynch is going to be back ... in Silver & Black.
NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo report that the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks have agreed to a trade that will send Beast Mode's contract rights to the Bay Area, pending a physical. The move is chock full of fantasy implications, as Lynch had been one of the best running backs in the league over the last decade. In fact, he still leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns since 2011 despite the fact that he was retired last season.
So, where does Lynch fit into the fantasy landscape? First, let's take a look at the positives of this move ... and there are several.
Lynch will be joining a Raiders team that needed a power running back to pair with DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard. He fills that void, and it should benefit him in the stat sheets. Last season, Latavius Murray received 41 red-zone touches (tied for 10th among running backs), tied for seventh in green-zone touches (17 inside the opponent's 5-yard line) and rushed for 12 touchdowns. There's a great chance that Lynch will inherit a lot of those end-zone opportunities next season.
The veteran will also have the benefit of running behind an offensive line that was near the top of the NFL in terms of run blocking. In fact, Pro Football Focus ranked it fifth in that category among all 32 teams. Their line was also tied for ninth in terms of yards before contact (2.4) at the running back position, which is good news for a back who is, well, a little long in the tooth.
That brings us to the potential red flags when it comes to Lynch's fantasy value, and the first one is his age. He'll be 31 years old at the start of the 2017 season, and he wasn't what you would call durable in his most recent NFL campaign. In 2015, Lynch missed a combined nine games with hamstring and abdomen ailments. He also averaged just 3.76 yards per attempt, which was his worst total since 2010 when he played between Buffalo and Seattle.
Weighing the pros and the cons, I would place Lynch in the No. 2 running back conversation in upcoming fantasy drafts. Is there risk? Absolutely. But look at the positives ... he'll be in one of the league's best rushing offenses with what I would project to be a high number of touchdown opportunities. Even with the time off, which should have helped heal his body at least somewhat, I don't doubt that Lynch can rush for 900-1,000 yards and eight touchdowns on the conservative side.
Those numbers would be comparable to Isaiah Crowell, who finished 14th in fantasy points among running backs last season.
While Lynch's name value alone is enough for some people to overdraft him, I'd feel comfortable with him as a borderline second- or third-round selection in standard scoring leagues. Fantasy fans who want to err on the side of caution would also be wise to handcuff him with Washington, who along with Richard will now be worth more of a late-round selection.