Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has never been known to stay out of trouble in the past. Despite being a great talent in Seattle's backfield last year, with the Skittles flowing every time he scored, Lynch can't seem to let his off-field demons go. More bad publicity popped up last weekend when Lynch was charged with a DUI early Saturday morning. While it's not known if Lynch will be found guilty, one has to wonder if this latest incident will land him a lengthy suspension from the league. For now, we just have to wait and see. However, for fantasy owners, it looks like a new fantasy sleeper has popped up on the radar.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Robert Turbin.
First let me say why Turbin could be this year's big sleeper at running back. ESPN's Ross Tucker was informed by an NFL executive that suspension for conduct detrimental or substance abuse defaults Lynch's recently-signed contract and voids his guaranteed money. Kudos to the Seahawks for covering their behinds when they added that language to the deal.
But back to Turbin. Not many owners know about him. He was selected in the 2012 draft as the No. 106 overall pick. A bigger back at 5'10/220 pounds, some have compared the former Utah State star to Marion Barber. In 2011, Turbin racked up 1,517 rushing yards, 23 total touchdowns and averaged 6.1 yards-per-carry, which earned WAC Offensive Player of the Year honors after missing 2010 with a knee injury. Turbin has also shown pass-catching ability, notching 67 total receptions in three years at Utah State.
In May, the Seahawks' official site said HC Pete Carroll liked Turbin enough that he envisioned him as the team's third-down back because of his size. Carroll said:
He has not had to block a lot in pass protection, but I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t. He's perfectly suited to do that and he didn’t look far off, technique-wise. So he’s just got to get guys roaring downhill at him and we’ll see.
People will argue that Leon Washington should also get a shot if Lynch is suspended. But looking at his stats and what he has done lately, does he really deserve it? Washington may have a fairly high yards-per-carry average, but his overall talents are best left as a special-teams option and change-of-pace back. And I'm sure if the team thought Washington could be a lead back, they wouldn't have used picks on Lynch in 2011.
Fantasy-wise, it's still too soon to say what Turbin's 2012 role will be. As of now it looks like Lynch will avoid suspension due to the court process. And we have yet to hear anything regarding an NFL suspension. However, if Lynch is dealing with an in-season injury, I'd definitely look at Turbin as a low-end handcuff in deeper rosters. He's been having a great camp and is one small "knee tweak" or "strain" from having value in Seattle's offense.