Fantasy Football

Lynch, Bryant docked in rankings

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch and Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant
Possible suspensions and trust issues knock Lynch and Bryant in our rankings.
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Joel Beall

Joel Beall is a writer for FOXSports.com and WhatIfSports.com. He lives with a Golden Tee machine and a jump shot that’s currently broken. Reach Joel on Twitter @FOXSportsBeall.

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The commencement of training camp remains 10 days away, but two off-the-field incidents have already served as catalyst for upheaval in the 2012 FOXSports.com Fantasy Football rankings.

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was arrested in the Oakland area over the weekend on suspicion of driving under the influence. Also running afoul of the law was Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, who was taken into custody and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence in a Dallas suburb on Monday. These are just the latest transgressions for the talented-but-troubled stars, as both have a history of making as much news off the gridiron as on it.

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While Bryant’s character has long been questioned, this is his first arrest. Unfortunately, coupled with previous predicaments, including a benefits scandal in college, embarrassing debt issues and club quarrels, expect the gavel of Roger Goodell to come down firm on the third-year man out of Oklahoma State.

Though he was far from consistent in the 2011 campaign, Bryant did post 63 receptions for 928 yards and nine touchdowns for Big D, and was envisioned to undertake a greater role in the aerial attack with Laurent Robinson leaving for Jacksonville. In my initial WR rankings, I had Bryant slotted as the No. 15 wideout behind Carolina’s Steve Smith and just ahead of Minnesota’s Percy Harvin. Assuming this latest altercation costs Bryant a game or two, I’m knocking the 23-year-old down to No. 22 in the Steve Johnson-Kenny Britt ranks. If Bryant is absolved of his indiscretions, he’ll see a slight bump from this position, but the ongoing issues make him a risky pick in 2012.

Sadly, the rotisserie implications are far more severe in the case of Lynch. The Cal product experienced a pigskin resurgence last season in the Emerald City, submitting career highs with 285 carries, 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns. Alas, as alluded to above, this is not Lynch’s first breach of player conduct, with a traffic hit-and-run offense in 2008 and a misdemeanor gun charge in 2009. Keeping these misbehaviors in mind, early word expects Lynch to be hit with a four-game suspension.

In my initial RB rankings, I had Lynch pegged in the No. 11 hole, admittedly a lower standing than some of my fantasy contemporaries, who graded the two-time Pro Bowler as a top-10 pick. Though a four-game hiatus doesn’t seemingly foretell a fantasy death sentence, remember that most league formats employ a 12-game regular season schedule, meaning Beast Mode will have bench status for a third of the year. Using this predicted postponement as a reference point, Lynch plummets to No. 29, taking residence among the likes of Mark Ingram, Isaac Redman and Donald Brown. In the same perspective as Bryant, if Lynch somehow escapes punishment, his order remains cropped due to an ever-present danger of off-the-field peril.

Tagged: Cowboys, Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch, Dez Bryant

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