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Is Christine Michael really a potential starter for your Fantasy team in Week 1? Is he really a potential starter for his own team?

The star-crossed Seattle Seahawks running back had a bang-up preseason to follow up a satisfactory finish to 2015. Not looking like the timid rusher from his first two seasons, Michael has run with confidence and quickness. There’s no hesitation from him after the handoff as he’s morphed into a downhill runner with good power and speed.

Christine Michael RB / Seattle Seahawks (2016 preseason stats)

ATT: 26YDS: 157TD: 0TAR: 2REC: 1REC YDS: 9REC TD: 0

It’s his successful offseason that has made the Seahawks coaching staff confident in him again. It has also allowed the coaches to take their time in bringing incumbent starter Thomas Rawls back from his slow recovery from an ankle injury.

Rawls seems ready — he played a couple of snaps in the Seahawks’ fourth preseason game and even ran off a sharp 8-yard run. But coach Pete Carroll twice made reference this week to Seattle’s home opener against the Miami Dolphins as Rawls’ “second preseason game.” Carroll wouldn’t rule out using Rawls, but wanted to see how he looked and felt first before committing him to any kind of workload or role.

With uncertainty and risk comes conservative coaching. The last thing any coach wants to do is put a starting-caliber player on the field too soon only to have him get hurt again. So no one should expect to see Rawls play a ton unless Michael morphs into a slow cement truck or Rawls morphs into a Ferrari.

Furthermore, the Dolphins aren’t expected to impose a serious defensive threat for four quarters. The game is predicted to be a blowout (Seattle is favored by double digits), in which case it would make perfect sense for the Seahawks to take it easy with Rawls and give the heavy lifting and clock killing to Michael.

That’s why Michael is the safer choice to start in Fantasy in Week 1, but that’s just over his own teammate. What about the rest of the league?

If the Seahawks offensive line was stronger, Michael would rate higher. But an already iffy Seahawks front five took a hit this week when rookie guard Germain Ifede suffered a high-ankle sprain. He won’t play, giving the Seahawks one of the most tepid-looking units to start in Week 1. That’s not great when going up against Ndamukong Suh , Cameron Wake and Mario Williams , among others.

Then again, it’s not like the Dolphins have a star-studded linebacker corps behind their big D-line, so it’s not inconceivable for Michael (and Rawls, when he plays) to put up some decent numbers. Maybe not great numbers, but enough to help pad your Fantasy score.

Michael registers as a low-end No. 2 running back this week. Guys like Melvin Gordon , Frank Gore , Chris Ivory and Arian Foster are a little worse in standard leagues while Matt Forte , Ameer Abdullah and Jeremy Langford are considerably better. Michael could also be part of your team’s flex talk, though in a PPR setting he probably wouldn’t make the cut. Rawls is decidedly a risky No. 3 option — you should try to sit him.

The situation beyond Week 1 isn’t clear. If Michael continues to rock and roll then he’ll cut into Rawls’ work even longer. If he stinks while Rawls ramps up to his regular workload, the Michael awakening will hit the sack. And rookie C.J. Prosise was drafted to work in a passing downs role could take both backs off the field!

As messy as it sounds, Rawls still has the best chance to re-take the big workload role. Don’t be upset if you drafted him but don’t feel good starting him in Week 1. There’s plenty of time for him to be an asset to your team.


Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Week 1 Fantasy Football Strategy: What to do with Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls?