Running Back Thomas Rawls is Seahawks' Next Fantasy Man Up

Previewing Week 4 around the NFL from a Fantasy Football perspective.

In the last few seasons, as the Seahawks have enjoyed their most successful run in franchise history, they have set a league standard for outstanding roster depth. The phrase "Next Man Up" has become very familiar to Seahawks fans, as they have seen players deliver when asked to step forward into larger roles. Byron Maxwell and Luke Willson have been prime examples.

The latest Seahawk to seize a larger opportunity was one of the hottest free agent pickups in Fantasy Football this week. Thomas Rawls shined in the Seahawks home opener, rushing for 104 yards against Chicago. Displaying a determined, authoritative approach that has impressed the coaching staff since the summer, Rawls may be in line for another significant role this week against the Lions. If he will be needed to carry often, there is already a lot of confidence he can deliver respectably as a Fantasy RB2 for Week 4 against the Lions.

If Marshawn Lynch starts on Monday night, he will face a Lions defense that has allowed 112 yards per game and five rushing scores so far. Those numbers certainly bode well for the Seattle RBs. If you are in need of a replacement RB this week in Fantasy Football, Rawls can be the optimum filler as well. He has obviously already absorbed the intense, unrelenting running style that has become a signature of Seahawks RBs over the past few seasons. He has a good shot to get into the end zone if he must play an expanded role this week. Lynch has a really good chance to score for the first time this year if he suits up.

Savvy Fantasy owners know they must keep close tabs on all of the skill position types on the Seahawks roster, because as we saw during the Super Bowl with Chris Matthews, talented players can be let loose at any time. So don't forget about Fred Jackson, either, as Russell Wilson may look to him as a receiving RB if the Lions bring considerable pass pressure. Jackson could also conceivably get some goal line chances as well, so he deserves some flex consideration in deeper leagues.

Detroit's pass defense currently ranks 26th in the league, and has allowed the sixth-most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends on NFL.com (11.27 per game). They have surrendered three TDs to the TE position. Jimmy Graham scored his second TD as a Seahawk last week and will continue to be a major red zone threat. Graham is definitely starting to look more comfortable with his new team and is arguably the best Fantasy TE start of Week 4. The Lions secondary may get absolutely overwhelmed by Graham's size and speed combination that has been such a major challenge to all opponents in the past.

The Patriots are on a bye this week, and as Fantasy owners look to replace Julian Edelman at WR this week, they can look to the Seahawks for two possible pass-catching starters for Week 4. Doug Baldwin has already caught seven passes twice this season and can be an adequate PPR fill-in for this week. Jermaine Kearse has caught six passes twice already this year and has also totaled 76 receiving yards in each of those outings. He is proving to be a quality WR5 in Fantasy this season.

With the running game providing ample support, Russell Wilson will be a solid start for Week 4. Quick strikes to Graham and Baldwin will help stave off pass pressure and there may also be the option to toss to Jackson out of the backfield. Kearse remains a big play threat at any time. There have been a lot of QB issues in Fantasy Football so far this year, so be thankful if you are rostering Wilson right now.

Steven Hauschka should be in position for another very productive week, and with the Lions allowing 28.7 yards per kickoff return, Tyler Lockett will have opportunities to break loose for another potential return for a score. The thrilling rookie has added a great new dimension to the Seahawks elite defensive/special teams unit this season.

The Seahawks defense will have to deal with Calvin Johnson and returning former teammate Golden Tate, along with promising big-play rookie RB Ameer Abdullah this week. The Lions have mustered only five TD passes so far, though, and with Kam Chancellor playing his second consecutive game and Bobby Wagner keeping an eye on Abdullah, it's going to be difficult for those three playmakers to bust out for a big play. Johnson may get his numbers, but the Seahawks may not allow more than 20 points this week.

In other games, Bills QB Tyrod Taylor is exhibiting some Wilson-like qualities with his nimble footwork and crisp decision-making. He is a very strong start against the Giants. Derek Carr will be good for at least two TD passes against the Bears. Joe Flacco can be expected to throw two scoring passes against the Steelers.

Melvin Gordon could be ready for a breakout game against Cleveland. T.J. Yeldon has a good shot to score his first NFL TD against the Colts. Joseph Randle should deliver another good outing against the Saints. DeVonta Freeman is running with a lot of confidence and will score at least once against Houston.

Jordan Matthews should have his best game of the year so far against Washington. Brandin Cooks has a good chance to make some significant plays against Dallas. Terrance Williams is a sneaky play in the same game. Percy Harvin may deliver a big play or two against the Giants.

Zach Ertz should start to show us more statistically this week, and Martellus Bennett may have a big day against Oakland. Also consider Maxx Williams and Charles Clay as deeper TE options. Dan Carpenter and Josh Brown are quality kicker adds, and you'll fare well with the Bengals (vs. KC) and Packers (at SF) defenses this week, The Falcons should keep the score down enough against Houston. The Eagles will be opportunistic against the Redskins.

For more in-depth Fantasy Football analysis from Scott and his team at RotoExperts.com, register now for the Xclusive Edge Fantasy Football package right here and take advantage of a very special discount offer for Seahawks fans by entering the promocode "seahawks" at checkout. You can also watch Scott on the Fantasy Sports Network (FNTSY) with the new app on Xbox One and Xbox 360.

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