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Fantasy Football: Start or Sit Thomas Rawls in Week 16?


December 22, 2016

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Going into the season, Thomas Rawls was the consensus #14 running back off fantasy football draft boards, and by mid-season, injuries and with The Awokening in full effect, he was waiver wire fodder. Rawls was an afterthought, who was thought to be headed to the scrap heap. Christine Michael is a Packer (backing up a wide receiver), the rest of the backfield is a mess, and Thomas Rawls is the only game in town in Seattle as they host their division mad bird rivals, the Arizona Cardinals.

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Thomas Rawls was drafted so highly coming into this year because last season he was fantasy gold. He ran hard and violently, and through people, in a style that mirrored the man who he backed up (the now-retired Marshawn Lynch). He had six games with start-level touches last year, and he went for over 80 yards in all but one (and over 100 yards in four-of-six games). He was destined to be the next big thing, but that never really materialized this year.

Offensive line woes and ineffective running have left Rawls owners wanting more. Excepting a 106-yard, two-TD outburst against Carolina, he has been completely useless, despite averaging 14.8 carries per game since returning from injury. Those two touchdowns against Carolina are his sole scores of the year, and outside of the Carolina game, he has a high of 67 yards. So far on the year, he has as many games with negative yardage (one) as games with over 100 yards. The Seattle offense has been messy this year, and the offensive line is mostly to blame. Rawls hasn’t been immune to this.

Unfortunately for those hoping to roll him out in their finals, he has an awful matchup this week. He takes on an Arizona squad that allows the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs, a title they hold after a massive shootout last week that saw three running backs combine for 36.6 fantasy points. Between their week nine bye and last week, only Devonta Freeman topped nine fantasy points against them, and now they have Tyrann Mathieu back, who should help their already stout run defense.

If you have Thomas Rawls on your squad, chances are you got this far because you have a better option on the roster. Unless you’re exceptionally desperate this week, Thomas Rawls isn’t a player that is worth starting. He has been ineffective, and the Cardinals defense does not yield fantasy points to running backs in a prolific enough manner to justify starting him despite his struggles.

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