Michael’s career resurgence has been dubbed The Awakening not only by the fantasy football community but by Michael’s teammates. Michael has always been athletic, and a dynamic ball carrier, but the production just wasn’t there. He floated from team to team, with organizations taking a chance on the athleticism and upside before eventually turning him back to the streets when his knuckleheadedness got too much for them to bear. The difference this year? He got his head on straight.
Michael is running as well as he can behind one of the worst offensive lines the NFL has ever been able to cobble together. The Seattle line is a failure in every sense of the word, yet Michael has managed five yards a carry on 25 carries so far this year. His 5 YPC comes with 3.6 of them coming after contact, which means that he’s doing a lot of the heavy lifting for his team, and not just “getting what the line blocks” because the line doesn’t block. His yards after contact figure is fourth among backs with twenty or more carries.
The main issue with Michael is that he is currently the backup to Thomas Rawls. Rawls broke out last year but has shown that his running style leads to injuries. He just got back from a fractured ankle to find himself back on the shelf with a shin issue. He’s missed practices this week with the injury and is questionable to play Sunday. Whether Rawls is inactive or not is inconsequential to Michael’s success Sunday, as either way Michael is in line for a ton of carries. Especially since Russell Wilson is just two weeks removed from an ankle injury that severely hobbled him.
A ton of carries against the 49ers will be just what the doctor ordered in what will be a get-right game for the Seahawks’ running game. The defensive line of the 49ers is primarily comprised of pass rushers and the 49ers just put starting LB Ray-Ray Armstrong on IR meaning Rawls will get little resistance before he hits the second level (excepting NaVorro Bowman, of course). The matchup is also incredibly juicy because the 49ers are just plain terrible against running backs on the road. A running back from literally every single 49ers road game put up seventeen or more fantasy points on the 49ers last season. Last week would have been the same last week if not for the RBBC approach the Panthers had to go to after Jonathon Stewart went down. They’re stingy at home but stink out loud on the road.
Christine Michael has the perfect confluence of opportunity and opposition to having a big game Sunday. Get him in your lineups.