ESPN fantasy analyst Matthew Berry made a strong case for Lynch to pick up where he left off last season -- as one of the most productive backs. Lynch led the NFL in rushing yardage from Weeks 9-17. He finished with 1,204 yards for the season.
The subject gave me an idea: one post per NFC West team, each examining the likelihood of a positive trend carrying over from last season.
I'll begin with Berry's thoughts on Lynch's prospects:
He’s only 26. You’d think this guy has been around forever. He’s only 26, and when we talk about repeatability, he had an amazing year last year, we all know that, but he has done it before. It had been a while prior to that. His first two seasons in Buffalo, he had 1,200 total yards in each of those seasons and had been a productive fantasy back those first two years.
"Pete Carroll likes to run the ball, likes to run with a big back. He traded for him and I like that offensive line in Seattle. They are young and they are getting better. They need to get healthier, but given that division and given their commitment to the run, I think their offense will be better. I don’t think it will be amazing, but I do think the Seattle offense as a whole will be better. He’s gonna get the rock and, by the way, he outscored both those guys (Mathews and Johnson) last year."
Berry makes good points. I agree with what he's saying. Lynch reached 100 yards rushing six times in the Seahawks' final nine games last season. He did so while Seattle was replacing injured starters on its line. The blocking should improve as Seattle's line gets healthier and plays together longer.
One concern could be how Lynch responds after receiving a long-term contract. To what degree, if any, did his aggressive running style last season reflect motivation to earn a new deal? That is a fair question in sports; there's no substitute for extra incentive.