By Eric Schmidt

The Marshawn Lynch arrest is one reason why I am not a fan of drafting fantasy football teams early. I generally wait until the third week of preseason prior to drafting my teams because there are a variety of factors which transpire in the next few weeks and Lynch’s arrest is one prime example.

On Saturday morning, Lynch was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Police reports suggest that the running back was observed swerving in and out of his lane, nearly colliding with two other vehicles and that Lynch failed a field sobriety test.

Lynch received a new contract this offseason with $17 million in guaranteed money. Lynch posted career highs last season in carries, total yards and touchdowns and appeared poised for another solid season in 2012. Several fantasy owners were planning on making Lynch their number one running back heading into 2012.This is not Lynch’s first run-in with the law. He had his drivers license suspended in 2008 after striking a pedestrian. He served a three-game suspension in 2009 after being arrested on a weapon’s charge and several pundits suggest that Lynch will serve yet another suspension after his latest arrest.

If you have already drafted your fantasy team and were planning on riding with Lynch as your RB1, you are going to have to make alternate plans if he receives a league imposed suspension. It is being speculated that he will serve a four-game suspension from the league so you’ll likely have to look at the other options that the Seahawks will roll out in the backfield.

The bad news for Lynch owners, is that Seattle might roll with a split backfield with Leon Washington and rookie Robert Turbin splitting carries. Washington is a seventh-year back who joined Seattle via a draft day trade with the New York Jets in 2010. He posted 248 yards on the ground for the Seahawks last year, scoring one touchdown and plays a role in the return game for Seattle.

Turbin was selected in the fourth-round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He played his college career for Utah State and rushed for 1,517 yards and 19 scores last year. He is a muscular specimen and is nearly the same size as Marshawn Lynch (5′ 10″ 216 compared to 5″ 11 215).  Draft scouting suggests that Turbin might possess a similar running style when compared to Lynch.

Lynch has not been officially charged with DUI as of yet and that charge might not come until his court appearance on August 14. There has been no word out of the league office regarding any possible suspension. The league may wait until his court date before rendering any suspension. The August 14th date lands in the middle of preseason and many fantasy owners will have already drafted their teams by then. Seattle will have played one preseason game by then and perhaps an idea of which back might receive the bulk of the carries could emerge by then.

If you do draft Lynch prior to the NFL league office making a ruling in regards to a possible suspension, you’ll likely be handcuffed by selecting one of the other backs on the Seattle roster, at least having him available for the first quarter of the NFL season.

UPDATE ALERT-

Fantasy owners should closely monitor the status of Marshawn Lynch with the Seattle Seahawks. According to Ross Tucker on Twitter, Seattle put personal conduct and substance abuse clauses in his contract. A suspension for conduct detrimental or substance abuse will void his contract. Robert Turbin could quickly become one of the fastest rising running backs in the NFL this season.

 

 

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