Marshawn Lynch: Why Seahawks RB Is a Must-Sit vs. Cowboys

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 09:  Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes the football against the Arizona Cardinals during the season opener at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Carindals defeated the Seahawks 20-16.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

For fantasy owners of Seattle Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch, the running back's Week 2 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys probably looks like a big-time scoring opportunity.

The bruising back was among the Seahawks' few positives from Week 1, rushing for 85 yards on 21 carries against a surprisingly stingy Arizona Cardinals defense. And considering Lynch had a huge game against the Cowboys in 2011, carrying the ball 23 times for 135 yards and a touchdown, it stands to reason he'd have another great game.

Unfortunately for fantasy owners, I wouldn't count on it. Lynch comes into this week in a tie for 10th in ESPN's expert rankings for Week 2. That makes him a starter in every conceivable format.

He won't perform up to that lofty ranking and should be sat on your bench (if possible) on Sunday. 

Here's a look at a few reasons why:


Dallas Run Defense: Not Too Shabby

Though it is well-documented how much the Cowboys' defense struggled against the pass last season, the unit was among the league's best at stopping the run. 

According to Football Outsiders' DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) metric, Dallas had the NFL's eighth-best run defense in 2011. That metric is backed up with basic stats, as the Cowboys gave up just 1,585 yards on the ground last season, good for seventh in the league. 

And considering Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy destroyed the Cowboys for 185 yards and two touchdowns in Week 8 last season, those numbers are a little skewed. 

With the secondary vastly improved this season, the Cowboys should ostensibly be even better against the run this in 2012.

That looked to be the case in Week 1 as Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw was ineffective all game, and the Dallas defense put the clamps on both facets of New York's offense.

If Lynch hopes to repeat his performance against Dallas from last season, he'll need Russell Wilson to open up the field.


The Russell Wilson Factor

If Week 1 was an indicator of future performance, don't expect that to happen on Sunday. 

For all of the (rightful) hysterics about Wilson's sensational preseason performance, he looked every bit the part of an overwhelmed rookie quarterback last week. 

Facing off against a middling Cardinals secondary, Wilson completed 18-of-34 passes for 153 yards with both a touchdown and an interception.

While those numbers weren't the worst by a rookie quarterback in the opening week by a long shot, there are still some concerns about the QB that could hurt Lynch going forward.

Wilson didn't make many mistakes against the Cardinals, but he also took very few chances. His 4.5 yards per attempt was the second-worst of any qualifying quarterback opening week, just ahead of the Cleveland Browns' Brandon Weeden.

That conservative mindset should allow the Cowboys defense to creep its safeties toward the line of scrimmage to guard against the run. If Wilson refuses to take more downfield chances to spread the opposition out, Lynch will struggle to find holes no matter how well the line blocks.


Offensive Line Musical Chairs

After seemingly getting all of the team's offensive line woes straightened out in the preseason, the Seahawks will once again be shuffling on Sunday.

Out of the lineup is breakout rookie J.R. Sweezy, and replacing him at the right guard spot will be John Moffitt, who was inactive last week against Arizona.

Though Sweezy struggled trying to guard Darnell Docket in Week 1, and Moffitt will ostensibly be better in that spot, the constant changes on the offensive line hurt its cohesion in the long-run.

Moffitt has not taken full-game contact since the last game of 2011's regular season and will be expected to pick up Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's complex defensive schemes on the fly. 

Switching out Sweezy for Moffitt may be the better long-term move, but it won't pay dividends on Sunday.