Fantasy Football Team Preview Seattle Seahawks: How Good Is Russell Wilson?
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The Seattle Seahawks are a team that now can boast three top-level Fantasy players with their offseason acquisition of Jimmy Graham. The former Saints tight end and his new teammates, Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson, can all be considered Top 3 at their respective positions this season. With the addition of Graham on offense, you may see a slightly increased emphasis on the passing game this year. Defensively, the unit retains most of the core that has made it an elite group in Fantasy over the last few seasons.
Russell Wilson broke through to the upper echelon of Fantasy quarterbacks last year, as he was easily the most productive rushing QB in the game. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry last year and scored six times as a rusher. A consistently crisp decision-maker, he relied on efficiency as a passer rather than volume to boost his overall statistical production. With the arrival of Graham, though, you may see Wilson’s passing numbers rise some, especially in the TD department, where Graham gives him a new red zone and end zone weapon like he has never had before. The overall rushing numbers may decrease a bit, as he can now throw to Graham on some passing downs rather than running quite as much as he did last year. Wilson’s offensive line is a rotating, inconsistent group and he’ll welcome Graham for those moments when he has to get rid of the ball quicker.
Graham’s numbers are expected to take a hit with the Seahawks because he will play in a passing game that is regarded as less potent, but he was acquired to raise the passing production and make key receptions, so he will be a heavily featured target and that means he will still produce well enough to possibly remain the clear No. 2 TE in Fantasy Football. The second tight end, Luke Willson, flashed some big play potential last year and could deserve occasional consideration in Daily games.
The wide receiver crew mostly remains an afterthought for Fantasy purposes, and has often been more important in real life for the Seahawks. Doug Baldwin is an overachiever who any team might like to have in the locker room and in clutch situations, but he is only worthy of bye week or DFS consideration in Fantasy play. Jermaine Kearse is a postseason hero who does not contribute enough statistically during the Fantasy schedule. Second-year man Paul Richardson could eventually become a more consistent downfield guy but is recovering from a significant knee injury. Super Bowl surprise standout Chris Matthews is a work in progress but will get some red zone looks and may be an occasional DFS play. Rookie Tyler Lockett is a sharp, tough kid, though, and could effectively replace the missing elements that the departed Golden Tate brought to the passing game.
A few Fantasy analysts are making the case that Marshawn Lynch is worthy of a No. 1 or 2 overall Fantasy draft selection, and there’s a lot to back up the position that he is at the very least, a Top 4 player at RB. No other Fantasy running back has offered the pure combination of excellent annual production and durability like Lynch has over the past four seasons. He has only missed one game during that very impressive span while registering double-figure rushing TD totals in each campaign. Those who have submitted they want more of a pass-catcher in PPR formats should note that he has caught 73 passes over the past two years and scored four times via reception last season. Plus, his outstanding and ultra-consistent rushing production always seems to put him near the top of his position anyhow. If you have fear that his physical style and nine years of experience could take its toll and lead to a sharp decrease in production, we’ve heard the same hollow talk each of the past two seasons and it has gone unfounded. Passing on Lynch because of a theory based on unproven fear is drafting scared.
Robert Turbin has the confidence of the coaching staff and is the clear handcuff to Lynch. Christine Michael is very talented but is not nearly as favored by the staff as Turbin is. Undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls has elicited some buzz and could push Michael for a roster spot.
Graham was the only major addition on the offensive side. Defensively, the Seahawks lost CB Byron Maxwell and replaced him with former Eagle Cary Williams, who has the length and demeanor the team looks for in its secondary players. He could be an adequate replacement if he learns the system quickly enough. Former Brown Ahtyba Rubin adds some run-plugging depth on the defensive line, yet the unit remains mostly intact and a top Fantasy selection at the position. The defense did suffer some late-season injuries and felt the impact of some changes on the line last year, though, and can’t be expected to dominate every week, as the expectation seemed to be after 2013.
The rookie Lockett will be one to watch and is definitely worth an endgame flier. He can make plays anywhere on the field and can offer good Fantasy depth at WR with some very deep sleeper promise. He can be a chain mover and after the catch playmaker like Tate was, although he is a bit more of a concern because of his size. Matthews is not draftable, but bears monitoring after he flashed in the Super Bowl.
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