Marshawn Lynch or Isaiah Crowell
Jun 13, 2017; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) carries the ball during minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Fantasy Football: Marshawn Lynch vs. Isaiah Crowell


I love my job, well actually it is more of a hobby to me. Never will I consider writing about fantasy football a job, especially when I can talk about Marshawn Lynch and Isaiah Crowell. It is something I enjoy too much for it to be work. One of the aspects I love most is the freedom I have to write about topics from various angles.

So, a few years back Fantasy Football Theories (FFT) was born. Since this is my first piece on INSC, I wanted to give a small rundown. The article series is looking at two players of similar value and deciding who is better. It is based on ADP (10 man league, standard scoring), past statistics, the strength of schedule, and long time personal experience. Enjoy.

Lynch Vs. Crowell

Player Review

Do I think that Marshawn Lynch will be a bust? Yes. Do I think that Isaiah Crowell will be better than last season? Yes. Awesome job done, this was a lot easier than I remember. See you next week.

Okay, okay, yes, I think that the reports of Lynch’s revival have been greatly exaggerated. Some may believe that he walked away because the scars from Head Coach Pete Carroll not running the ball at the one-yard line never fully healed.

All conspiracies aside, Marshawn Lynch was simply beaten up. He played only eight games in 2015, his explosiveness was gone. At over 2,000 carries he has a lot of tread on his tires and it showed. Father time always wins, and even Lynch will succumb. Owners need to keep that in mind, no matter how tantalizing the thought of Beast Mode behind the Oakland Raider’s offensive line may be.

Isaiah Crowell on this other hand is hitting his stride and going into his prime. I do understand that drafting Cleveland Browns may be a fantasy faux pas, but Crowell has top-8 RB written all over him (hot take alert!).

With the Browns being an absolute train wreck, Crowell managed 952 yards, 4.8 yards per carry (ypc), and seven touchdowns. Kevin Zeitler and JC Tretter were added in the offseason to go with Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, and Cameron Erving to form a top three o-line.

The bigs up front will be paving holes for Crowell all season long.  Crowell had a lot of bad in 2016 due to the offense around him, the offensive line will remove the worries of a sub 50-yard performance.

ADP

Lynch comes into this season with an outstandingly high ADP of 18.

The fact that he is being drafted in the same area as Jordy Nelson, and higher than Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Rodgers, and Dez Bryant says a lot about the hype Lynch has going into the season.

Don’t @ me I fully understand that Gronk is consistently hurt, and Dez has been up and down. When they are healthy and on the field, they are top players at their position. Lynch at his peak may not even be a top 10 back.

Marshawn Lynch right now is probably the biggest question mark, and gambling a second round pick on him is too much. Running backs do not age well and the physical AFC West may cause him to miss a few games.

Isaiah Crowell, on the other hand, comes into this season as a light sleeper. He has an ADP of 32, and he can be had in the middle rounds in some leagues.

He will be a huge steal as he is the main bell cow and Duke Johnson only steals a few carries a game. The aforementioned offensive line improvements will give Crowell his first 1,000-yard season.

Schedule

The AFC West is the best division in football, and it features some of the best defenses. The Broncos’ defense is stout, but weak against the run. The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the best overall defenses, and the L.A. Chargers probably have one of the best young defenses. Sprinkle in games against the New England Patriots, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens and Lynch will have some tough sledding all season long.

Given how effective Derek Carr and the passing game was in 2016 if the running game is not effective early games in, then the Raiders may move to a pass-heavy attack. Yes, Lynch could chew up the clock at the end of the game, but the Raiders will be in more shootouts than blowouts.

Isaiah Crowell has it a little easier in the AFC North, the two matchups against the Ravens are the only two threats in the division. The Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, and L.A. Chargers are not favorable match-ups Crowell will still put up respectable numbers. He simply is their only consistent offensive threat.

His value will come in his bulk carries. Some games, such as the one against the Texans, will not be pretty but throughout the season Crowell will get too many touches to not be effective.

Predictions

Marshawn Lynch is probably the most intriguing player this year. He comes into a situation with a great offensive line, weapons around him and a quarterback in Carr that can handle a defense. Latavius Murray left a void of 38 red zone carries that he should be able to fill. Yet at a hefty price tag will lead owners to see that hype is Lynch’s value right now.

Betting heavy on a player missing a season and coming back strong isn’t always smart money. Sure Marshawn Lynch could come back and put up huge numbers from the start, but do not expect that. The Raiders will be putting the ball in the Carr’s hands more often, and owners will be disappointed with the balance of run vs. pass.

The Raiders passed 58% of the time in 2016 for those keeping track.

The Browns seem content to hand the reigns over to Cody Kessler at the quarterback position and that will give the team some stability. The position was a disaster in 2016, and I am sure that I would be an upgrade over the newly acquired Brock Osweiler.

With Kessler poised to play for all 16 games, the offense will be able to settle in. This will be an average offense at best, but Isaiah Crowell will be the most dynamic option. The Browns will ride him for 300+ touches.

Both players have the potential to be great running backs, but that is the issue. Lynch and Crowell potential can end up with numbers so similar that Lynch’s price tag makes no sense.

Value is everything in fantasy football. Ignore the names and look at what the two can produce. Crowell may not be the sexy pick of the two, but he will be the better pick.

Marshawn Lynch- 13 Games Played. 970 rushing yards, 9 touchdowns. 15 catches, 120 yards. 163 fantasy points.

Isaiah Crowell- 16 games played. 1,240 rushing yards, 9 touchdowns. 50 catches, 450 yards, 1 touchdowns. 229 fantasy points.

Yes, I can predict injuries, everything is fair game. And if you’re not down with that then I got two words for you…. Oh, wait I can’t say that. Well, then this is just a theory, a fantasy football theory. Thanks for reading.

 

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