Line of scrimmage: Lynch's upside limited by Seattle's poor run attack

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So, Dave, I'm not going to lambast you for taking a weekend away during football season. After all, Marshawn Lynch's new home in Seattle is beautiful this time of year ... AH-AH ... AH-CHOOO-LOSER! (Sorry, bad cold.) So how was the Northwest?

Washington state was postcard beautiful, and I loved my time in our 51st state, Canada. Did I miss anything in Week 6?

Excessive hits. Excessive celebrations. Excessiveness, Dave. You missed excessiveness. Such as the Cowboys, who added 11 more penalties to their top-three tally, including another one for celebration.

Wow, that's a surprise.

What, that the Cowboys are among the top three of most penalized teams?

No, that the Cowboys had something to celebrate two weeks in a row.

You missed excessively severe hits across the board delivered by James Harrison, Dunta Robinson, and also my psychologist.

Yikes. Just watched them. Mohamed Massaquoi looked massacred. DeSean Jackson looked dead. However, while all three hits looked lethal, they also looked legal.

The latest data on concussions and their permanent effects on the brain say that if we want these guys to keep playing and not become disabled or worse -- write fantasy football columns -- the NFL must act.

OK, so let's get on to our first topic before they do.

Topic No. 1: Marshawn Lynch wasn't able to get much going in Buffalo. Will the move to Seattle bring move him into RB1 consideration?

Block:The love for Pete Carroll in Seattle has been begrudging since he snuck away from U-Dub's Pac-10 rival, USC. But it's hard to argue with a 3-2 record, including wins against the Bears and Chargers. Even though the team is doing it with a bend-but-don't-break defense (ninth in MOST yards against, tied for sixth in LEAST points allowed), there is some offensive value to be had. The Seahawks are fairly balanced with 40 percent of their plays coming on the ground. The game against Chicago was likely the blueprint for the running game, with the newly-acquired Lynch (a former Cal Bear) carrying defenders with him across the goal line, and Justin Forsett (another Cal Bear -- don't these guys scout east of the Rockies?) being the change-of-pace back. Just keep in mind Seattle is 30th in rushing, so that limits Lynch to being a good RB3 or flex player, but when the matchup is favorable (Arizona, Oakland, Tampa Bay), he could show RB2 value.

Counter-block: If 40 percent is balance then clearly you've got an inner ear infection. In the short term, Lynch has done himself few favors, as the only people welcoming him are Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporters looking for articles on gun play. Carroll's team has among the least rushing attempts in the league. They are averaging a paltry 3.6 yards per attempt and 86 yards a game. They are also one of the worst teams on third and short, converting 33 percent of the time, giving you an idea of what kind of line Lynch is rushing behind. True, Lynch will get more opportunities, but as this team skews younger, his short-term output is likely to be grim and none.

Piling on:Lynch is likely the red zone back for the Seattle, which gives him some value as an RB3/flex. However, expect some paltry numbers week-to-week.

Topic No. 2: Deion Branch went to New England and immediately made an impact with a TD. With the upgrade at QB in Tom Brady, what value does Branch have now?

Block: Ah, New England, Massachusetts to be exact. The home of Hah-vahd, and Woo-Stah. And the home of a pass-happy spread offense with a QB who has only won three Super Bowls and two MVP awards. Guess who won the third one? Yes, Branch in Super Bowl XXXIX (I think that's 39). Branch now becomes the player who will stretch the field and be a deep threat New England desperately needs. No, he might not get as many targets week-to-week as Wes Welker, but keep in mind that his final year in New England, 2005, he played 15 games, caught 78 passes and gained 998 yards. Over his entire career as a Patriot, he averaged over 13 yards per catch. He'll make a solid WR2 for your squad with WR1 upside.

Counter-block:Look, I'm happy that Deion and Tom are together again, and hopefully one day we'll live in a world where they can move to a farm upstate and have Johnny Cakes. But until then, learn the lesson Randy Moss learned last week: in New England, it's about the program, not the individual. Branch's value increases jumping from the Seattle bench to the Pats' starting lineup, but with Welker and company also on the field, he'll be fighting for the ball all season long (I call it the "Ben Watson Effect"). Yes, Branch saw more targets than Welker against the Ravens, but that was LAST week. When teams adjust, Brady will spread the ball around, and when he meets Branch in the hallway it will be a disappointing, eyes-down "Yo," not the bro hug he got last Sunday. Just keep in mind that in his 47 games with the Seahawks, Branch scored 14 times. In his 53 games with the Pats in 2002-05, Branch scored ... wait for it ... 14 times. Get him if you can, but overall, he's a WR3.

Piling on:Branch is a must add in all leagues and is likely the cream of the waiver crop this week. Just know his health is a huge concern and the most TDs he's had in a season is five, and that was five seasons ago.

Topic No. 3: Kenny Britt has scored a TD in four straight weeks, including Monday night. Would you trade for him while he's hot?

Block: I'll start by answering any trade question by saying trades are always predicated by what your needs are and what you have to give up to get them. However, as talented as Britt is, and he's definitely becoming the top draft choice the Titans hoped for, he's not the issue now. The loss of Vince Young to injury Monday night means Britt has lost the guy behind center with whom he's developed great chemistry. Kerry Collins has limited vision, and more important, limited ability to get the ball outside and down the field. If Young is quarterbacking, you could make a legitimate case for getting Britt because he's got so much upside. However, I'd hesitate until I know the outcome of Young's injury.

Counter-block:"He who hesitates is lost, and he who hesitates trading for a hot fantasy football receiver is, well, something I can't type here." When it comes to picking a WR, your criteria should be 40 percent talent and 60 percent opportunity. Britt obviously has a connection with Young, so for once I agree with Jon that it's all about Young's knee. But I disagree in waiting, as this is the perfect time to steal Britt away. The Britt owner in your league likely picked him up just before or just after the Cowboys game, and was thinking of selling high anyway. Now with Young limping (it wasn't as bad as it looked, and I should know, because I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express), he's thinking the trading window has closed. If you're really cool about it, you can suggest another trade you know he won't go for, and then counter his counter by throwing Britt into the mix.

Piling on: If Young is healthy, expect Britt to continue getting red zone targets most weeks.

Jon Phillips is the 2008 Champion of the Columbus Dispatch National Fantasy Football Contest "Rate the Experts" and has written for Talented Mr. Roto, and He also hosted Rotoexperts flagship radio show "Xperts Edge" as well as "The Think Tank" with Scott Engel. Dave Young has written weekly fantasy sports columns for Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Talented Mr. Roto, and other sites he can't remember. Called the "Laverne and Shirley of Fantasy Football," catch them both on "Just A Bit Outside" on, Sundays, noon Eastern (9 a.m. PST), and read their column, "Line of Scrimmage" weekly on E-mail Jon at or Dave at for subjects you'd like to see debated on "Line of Scrimmage."