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Thomas Rawls will be the starter and a top-shelf fantasy option when healthy

Despite Christine Michael's strong preseason, Thomas Rawls is still the undisputed lead back in Seattle. We look at the fantasy implications.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls is just about healed from his ankle injury and ready to go for the regular season. Head coach Pete Carroll said on Wednesday that "there's no question" Rawls will be playing in the Week 1 opener against the Miami Dolphins.

The Seahawks' backfield competition got some intrigue in August when a resurgent Christine Michael tore it up in the preseason. But despite his presence, Seattle isn't planning to use any kind of committee backfield. The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta says that there's "no dispute" Rawls will be the starter and taking first-ream reps in practice.

An undrafted rookie out of Central Michigan in 2015, Rawls rushed for 830 yards and four touchdowns on just 147 carries before breaking his ankle in Week 14.

Fantasy impact: Rawls will likely get some playing time in Thursday night's preseason finale, if only to get some live contact reps before the real games start next week. But if he doesn't, he figures to be a strong fantasy asset in a Seahawks offense that should continue being run heavy even after Marshawn Lynch's retirement. Rawls has a good shot at crushing his late third-round ADP value.