In 1983, John Carpenter released the horror film Christine that brought unprecedented fame to the 1958 Plymouth Fury and left moviegoers looking both ways whenever they crossed the road. The movie was based on Stephen King’s book of the same name and featured a story about a car with the ability to possess its owners and make them do unspeakable things. The car itself was virtually indestructible and could repair itself whenever it was damaged, giving it a power that could seemingly make it live forever. No matter how hard an owner tried to get away from Christine, the car would bring them deeper and deeper into a psychological cloud until they lost all reason and couldn’t feel anything but love for their precious possession. You may wonder what this has to do with fantasy football, but I can assure you this movie reminds me of the journey of the dynasty owners of the one and only player with the same name – Christine Michael.
Michael has mesmerized his owners for years as he’s been seen as a dynasty asset like few others. After all, he’s 5’10”, 221 pounds and looks like Atlas in shoulder pads. At Texas A&M, Michael rushed for 2,791 yards and scored 35 total touchdowns – not bad for a player who never had more than 166 carries in a season. He was also a workout wonder as he ran a 4.54 40 and posted a 43-inch vertical jump at the combine (the highest ever for a running back). In fact, his SPARQ score has been calculated as high as 152.1. Elite is considered anything over 140 and Michael’s score is one of the highest recorded in history. In short, this man is a physical freak and I don’t throw that term around often.
He was selected by the Seattle Seahawks with the 62nd pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, despite a litany of character concerns, including the fact he missed meetings at the NFL Scouting Combine because he overslept and took too much NyQuil. He began his career quickly working with the first team at practice and had a great 2013 preseason though, leaving many dynasty owners salivating at the chance to get Michael as the heir apparent to the Marshawn Lynch-led rushing attack of Seattle. The air was let out a bit as he was used sparingly during his rookie season and rushed for only 79 yards on 18 carries.
Still, Michael owners were not deterred. They were actually borderline obsessed.
In May of 2014, The Tacoma News Tribune threw gas on the fire by saying Michael was likely going to be Seattle’s featured runner as soon as 2015. Coaches from Texas A&M were also quoted as saying Michael’s athletic ability was on par with one Adrian Peterson. You know him, he’s that guy in purple who scores a lot of touchdowns and has ligaments you compare with those of newborn babies. Michael’s value went through the roof at this point and getting him for a future first round rookie pick was borderline theft.
Then it got really interesting.
Michael battled a hamstring injury that hindered him for the first part of last season. He was used in limited action yet again and posted just 175 rushing yards on 34 carries. To make matters worse, Michael continued to struggle in pass protection and his tendency to fumble and fail to pay attention to detail really started concerning coaches, despite his Herculean athletic ability.
As this year’s preseason rolled around, many expected Michael to perform amazingly well and solidify his role as Marshawn Lynch’s backup. After all, a player seemingly chiseled out of fantasy football iron just couldn’t fail again, right? Wrong. Michael struggled over the past couple of months and to make things worse, the words “dependability” and “accountability” started being thrown around in a bad way.
The Seahawks signed Fred Jackson to back up Lynch this season and waived Robert Turbin due to his injury this weekend. Instead of giving Michael the RB3 job in the Emerald City, the Seahawks even reportedly wanted to give that right to undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls, who soundly outplayed Michael all preseason.
The infatuation with Michael wouldn’t end there, though. Much like that car, Michael’s dynasty value seems to never die and repairs itself whenever something bad happens.
Michael has now been traded to the Dallas Cowboys and gets a much needed fresh start. As we mentioned earlier today, Twitter blew up with the news and opinions varied widely. Some believe Michael will finally reach his massive potential and flourish behind an offensive line made up of semi-trucks disguised as humans in helmets with stars on them. Others believe Michael will be viewed as an insurance policy since the Cowboys gave only a conditional seventh round pick for his services.
Here’s one thing we know – Michael still has those who believe in him out there. Before you get hypnotized with his measurables and start combing through google to find shirtless pictures of Dallas’ new running back, remember a few things.
First, Michael was traded to a conference rival. If the Seahawks really believed Michael could turn it around and become the Peterson-esque runner some believed he could be, do you really think they’d trade him to a team they could potentially play in the playoffs?
Second, Michael not only failed to unseat Lynch (no shame there), but he was consistently outplayed by Robert Turbin the past two years. He was also beaten out for a roster spot by Thomas Rawls, who wasn’t a second round pick – he was an undrafted free agent. Michael just hasn’t produced well when given his chances and has proven to give us frustration after frustration.
While Dallas will certainly give him another chance to succeed, they seem more than content to roll ahead with the likes of Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, Darren McFadden and possibly Michael in a running back committee of epic proportions.
It’s easy to look at the scenario and see Michael coming into Dallas, flourishing behind that mammoth offensive line, ascending up the depth chart and leaving those other runners in the wake left by the shadow of his physique alone. Unfortunately, we’ve been duped by him many times before. This scenario is far more unlikely than us finding Michael somehow soon finding a way to repair his dynasty value yet again.
Make sure you’re looking at things with a rational mind and not viewing Michael as a 1958 Plymouth Fury. Use the immortal words of Arnie Cunningham as I urge you to say, “Show me.” Without seeing anything different from Michael in Dallas, you’re risking heartbreak.
I’d just make sure to look both ways before crossing the road.
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