Perhaps the most anticipated matchup of Wild Card Weekend pitted Marshawn Lynch’s Seattle Seahawks against the Washington Redskins. Choosing a winner prior to kickoff was probably the toughest decision of the four Wild Card Games because the teams involved were so similar.
Now that Seattle has emerged victorious and Lynch has produced against a tough Redskins run defense, all systems are go for prospective fantasy owners of Beast Mode in the divisional round. Lynch averaged 6.6 yards a carry against Washington, amassing 132 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He added a catch for nine yards and lost a fumble.
The Redskins only allowed opposing backfields to total more than 100 rushing yards four times in the regular season. Three individual running backs (Jonathan Dwyer, Ray Rice and Ahmad Bradshaw) accomplished the feat.
Lynch’s opponent in the divisional round, the Atlanta Falcons, have allowed opposing backfields to top 100 rushing yards 10 times in their 16 regular-season contests. Six of them took place in their first six appearances—so their run defense has gotten a little better since—but they ended the season on a low in the run D department.
Their best statistical showing against fantasy rushers in terms of yardage came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12. Atlanta allowed just 50 yards (and two touchdowns) on 21 Buccaneer carries. In Week 17, however, it surrendered Tampa Bay back Doug Martin’s second-highest rushing total in a single game: The rookie ran for 142 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries (5.1 average) after totaling 78 yards on 27 totes in the two games prior.
Beast Mode, meanwhile, is riding a streak of five consecutive 100-yard outings (including the playoffs). Nine of his past 11 appearances have resulted in triple-digit rushing outputs. In his past 10 games (including playoffs), he has scored 10 rushing touchdowns—and he’s doing all of this despite averaging just 18.8 rushing attempts per game.
Seattle hasn’t had to ride him lately because they’ve been blowing dudes out; he’s averaging 17 rushes in his past five games. The Seahawks won’t be afraid to lean on their featured back in the postseason. Fantasy owners shouldn’t be, either.
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