No good can come of this. Nor can this blow over easily.
On Saturday, July 14, Marshawn Lynch was pulled over and arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence (DUI).
Further reports indicate that Lynch came close to striking other vehicles and his blood test did indeed show that he was over the legal limit of .08 blood-alcohol content.
The latest news has to deal with Lynch's contract he signed with the Seahawks. It turns out that the team protected themselves in the event Lynch did something of this nature, which made sense, because Lynch has been down this road before. Check out his legal issues throughout his NFL career.
If this sounds like bad news to you, don't worry. It's actually way worse than you think. When we draft in fantasy leagues, we forget about players with past issues. Whether it's something to do with drugs (arrest or failed drug test) or DUI, the suspensions lengthen with each instance. Guys like Santonio Holmes and Vincent Jackson could be looking at one-year suspensions if they foul up again.
Nobody knows precisely where Lynch sits in the pantheon of NFL discipline. We know that he's had plenty of run-ins with the law and he's been suspended for his off-the-field conduct before. Even if he somehow escapes being charged or beats the charges in court, NFL discipline will still be coming.
Will the Seahawks actually void his contract? I don't think so, but who knows. I would imagine that even if Seattle cut Lynch, he would be picked up by another team, at least after he'd served his suspension. But without a clear replacement on the roster, I would guess that they retain Lynch. It will cost Lynch some money and security, though.
Assuming Lynch remains on the Seahawks, what's next? My best guess is a suspension of at least four games. Missing an entire season might seem extreme, but ask Jonathan Vilma. That's how the NFL rolls these days.
What happens from a fantasy perspective? Massive, massive downgrades. Both in rankings and average draft position. It has to be this way. Any time a player misses games, it cuts into his overall value, which is what you are drafting these players for.
It even gets a bit worse. The Seahawks don't have their bye until Week 11. So let's be kind and say that Lynch is suspended for four games, and he regains his previous workload upon his return. Most fantasy leagues do not count Week 17, which for the Seahawks is their home match-up against the St. Louis Rams..
That means that fantasy owners will (in a best-case scenario) get eleven games from Marshawn Lynch in 2012. That knocks Lynch down from a top-10 RB to a top-25 RB, at best. He was going in the second or third round of fantasy drafts recently. Expect him go between rounds six-to-eight for now.
I say "for now" because that's all I can say. Some people will have their drafts between now and when Lynch appears in court. Who can say if Roger Goodell rules on a suspension before or after court? If a miracle occurs (and it will take a miracle) and Lynch escapes suspension, he will jump back into the top-15 RBs, but few people will have the gall to take him in the second round.
If it goes the other way and Lynch is suspended for eight games or longer, he'll drop like a stone attached to an even bigger stone. And rightfully so. With the Seahawks' late bye week, Lynch would only play in seven games for fantasy owners if he were suspended for eight games.
What should you do if you're drafting tomorrow, or this weekend? I wouldn't touch Lynch before the seventh round. And he probably won't drop that far. Somebody will take the gamble. Look at how high Adrian Peterson is being drafted, despite his late-season ACL tear. Stud RBs are so few and far between these days that people will take drastic risks to acquire them.
At this point, I have no idea if a suspended Lynch would be eligible for a DL spot, if your league has one. If you could stash Lynch on the DL, I would feel a bit better about drafting him. In most leagues, you really don't have enough bench space to carry injured players once the bye weeks begin. Stashing Lynch on the DL would give you the opportunity to grab one of the RBs that will pop up on the waiver wire early in the season.
You have to take your chances in fantasy football, but I'm not taking this one. Last season will most likely be the best season that Marshawn Lynch ever has. That means that you would've most likely been overpaying by drafting Lynch where you had to draft him.
He was always better suited to be a RB2 as opposed to a stud RB. He just got carries and scored TDs. It's pretty tough to do that when you're at home watching the game, eating Skittles on the couch. I can attest to that.
Thanks for reading. If you have anything to add, please comment. Did you draft Marshawn Lynch already or do you have him as a possible keeper? I'm interested in what other owners will do with Lynch, so please let me know.
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