Having finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in every season
of his career, Russell Wilson is once again being looked at as a
potential stud heading into the 2017 NFL season. His pass attempts
have increased in each of his five seasons, topping out at 546 attempts
in 2016 but while he threw for a career high 4,219 yards, Wilson
also tossed just 21 touchdown passes with a career-high 11 interceptions.
On the bright side, that interception number was still low in comparison
to the averages throughout the league. Wilson has typically been
extremely efficient which has helped him remain a decent fantasy
contributor throughout his career even when he’s not having
particularly huge yardage or touchdown weeks.
The biggest concern stemming from the 2016 season was Wilson attempted
just 72 rushes, resulting in a career low 259 rushing yards. That
put him below the elite running quarterback options but also behind
the likes of Blake Bortles and Andrew Luck, who are not necessarily
known for their running. An ankle injury and MCL sprain contributed
to the decreased rushing output but it’s also likely the team
asked him to reduce his rushing attempts in order to preserve his
health. He did drop some weight this off-season which should help
him be more elusive, but the team still has major question marks
across their offensive line which could be a cause for concern for
Seattle added players in other positions, but didn’t really do much
to address their weak group of wide receivers. The team won’t have
much overturn at the position this season and while that can lead
to added chemistry, only Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham are likely
to be weekly fantasy options this season. Still, look for a return
to form for Wilson in both the passing touchdown and rushing yardage
areas, which should allow him to finish as a top 10 quarterback
provided that he remains healthy. After being ranked in the top
three heading into 2016, Wilson’s lower ADP heading into 2017 could
make him a great value for those who opt to wait a bit on quarterback
After struggling to stay healthy and battling conditioning issues,
Eddie Lacy now finds himself in a new home as the projected early
down back in Seattle. The Seahawks signed the former Packer to what
is essentially a one-year “prove it” deal, including numerous production
incentives and even some much talked about weight incentives that
he has already begun to achieve. The added pressure and accountability
should help Lacy stay in shape but it also goes to show that Lacy
is not yet fully trusted by the coaching staff.
He’s likely the most physically skilled runner on the team but
Lacy’s job is one of the least secure in the league and there’s
no guarantee that he even makes it out of the pre-season as the
team’s top back. Not only that, but with the league moving toward
running back by committee, Lacy could end up leading the team
in touches while only getting around 50 percent of the carries.
He’s also unlikely to get much passing down work as long as C.J.
Prosise remains healthy. Unless he returns to his impressive touchdown
efficiency from his early days in Green Bay, the lack of touches
could lead to Lacy being a frustrating player to own and a bit
of a bust for fantasy purposes.
Still, the upside is huge for Lacy, especially given his dwindling
ADP. If he can secure the role as the team’s primary red zone
runner as he did in Green Bay, there should be plenty of opportunities
for Lacy to get back to the fantasy producer he was early in his
career. Still just 27 years old, one could argue that Lacy is
just now hitting his physical prime.
When Marshawn Lynch walked away from the game, Seahawks fans believed
that they were in good hands with Thomas Rawls stepping into the
role as the team’s top running back. After compiling just 54 yards
on 15 touches in Week 1 however, Seattle fans, and fantasy owners
alike, got the bad news that the young tailback had broken his
leg. When he did finally return, it was not in the capacity that
many had hoped as Rawls put together just one game of real fantasy
production (Wk 13 vs. CAR) for the remainder of the regular season
before a big game against the Lions in the playoffs.
Still just 24 years old, Rawls now finds himself in a battle for
snaps with veteran tailback Eddie Lacy heading into his third
season as a pro. It’s hard to write him completely off given that
his 2016 season was so injury-riddled, but all reports out of
Seattle suggest this is Lacy’s job to lose. We’ve seen Rawls put
together some impressive fantasy performances in the past, but
his value is tied to the health and production coming from Lacy.
Pass-catching specialist C.J. Prosise is likely to get plenty
of playing time, but Rawls could find himself getting fewer than
10 touches per game early in the season, which really limits his
upside for fantasy purposes.
If things pan out how the Seahawks seem to want them to with Lacy,
there will likely be many fantasy leagues where Rawls gets drafted
and then dropped not long into the season. He then becomes a player
to watch on waiver wires as the team could very well opt to go
in his direction if they’re not getting what they want from Lacy.
That’s not necessarily a given, however, as Prosise is not built
to be only a “pass catching specialist.” There’s a real chance
that if Lacy does not get the job done that the team could opt
to implement a shared workload between Rawls and Prosise, or even
one that favors Prosise. This Seattle backfield is a mess right
now for fantasy purposes, especially given the team’s poor offensive
line, and unfortunately Rawls seems to offer the least upside
of the group at the moment.
While he’s been shoehorned into being a “Darren Sproles-like”
player comparison by many fantasy analysts due to his ability
in the passing game, the truth is that there is much more than
meets the stat sheet for this talented young tailback. At 6’1”
and 225 lbs, Prosise does not fit the mold of a traditional pass
catching specialist at the running back position. Most of those
players are undersized and are used sparingly as runners in order
to keep them from taking a beating. But in Prosise’s case, that’s
not really a concern. Prosise is built like a feature back who
simply also has the skills to take the majority of the backfield
work on passing downs.
With that said, there is obviously a reason why the team opted
to sign veteran Eddie Lacy and not simply hand over the job to
Prosise and Rawls. In Prosise’s case, health concerns come into
play. A former wide receiver in college, Prosise’s body has not
held up well to the wear and tear of playing the running back
position. He suffered a concussion and a high ankle sprain in
his senior year at Notre Dame, then followed it up with hip, hand
and shoulder injuries as a rookie. These injuries caused him to
much the majority of the season and have to give the coaching
staff pause about whether or not he can physically stand up to
the beatings that NFL running backs take.
It’s certainly possible that Prosise’s injury history is just
a string of bad luck and all reports out of Seahawks camp seem
to be that he is fully healthy and ready to take on a significant
role for the team in 2017. Projected to be the team’s primary
back on passing downs, Prosise’s value is obviously boosted significantly
in PPR formats as he might only touch the ball a handful of times
per game to start the season. There is concern that his PPR value
might be inflated as the Seahawks have not proven to be committed
to passing the ball to their running backs in the Pete Carroll
era. The player who has caught the most passes out of the backfield
since Russell WIlson took over at quarterback is Marshawn Lynch
and the most he ever caught in a season was 40 passes. Of course,
the team hasn’t been loaded with many pass catching specialists
in the backfield, but the concern is still there.
Rawls and Lacy are expected to battle for the early down work,
but if Prosise can remain healthy while showing the flash and
excitement that he did at times as a rookie, there’s no reason
to believe that he can’t work his way into some early down work.
His ADP makes him a cheap investment for those in PPR formats,
but he might just have the highest upside of any player in this
Seattle backfield while also providing the highest, most consistent
floor due to his work in the passing game.
One of the premiere slot receivers in the league, Doug Baldwin
has also proven that he is one of the top fantasy wide receivers
after back-to-back years finishing as a WR1. Baldwin’s 2015 season
was seen by many as being a little fluky due to an insane touchdown
run, but he was able to remain extremely productive even when
his touchdown total was chopped in half in 2016. At 5’10” and
less than 200 lbs, Baldwin doesn’t project as a prototypical red
zone threat so his seven touchdowns in 2016 would seem to be more
in line with what we should expect moving forward, but Baldwin
does the majority of his fantasy damage with sheer volume. Baldwin’s
94 receptions in 2016 were 16 more than he had caught in his best
previous season and he also set a career high with 1,128 receiving
Perhaps the best thing for Baldwin’s fantasy value is the reality
that the Seahawks simply did not invest into their wide receivers
heading into the 2017 season. Baldwin was clearly the team’s top
target in each of the past two seasons and that doesn’t seem likely
to change this season. The nice thing about Baldwin being the
team’s top target while primarily playing out of the slot is that
he is able to avoid many of the league’s top cornerbacks as most
of them simply are not asked to play inside, even against teams
like Seattle who do not have great outside weapons. That should
mean a continued high target volume and thus a high floor most
weeks making Baldwin of the safer options on the board.
After being hobbled by a PCL injury for much of the 2016 season,
Tyler Lockett disappointed fantasy owners by finishing with fewer
than 600 receiving yards and just one total touchdown in his second
season as a pro. To make matters worse, Lockett ended up breaking
his leg in Week 16 and started training camp on the PUP list.
He was removed from the PUP list on August 4th and has been participating
in camp ever since.
While he has certainly had some big moments, including a breakout
performance of seven receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown
the week prior to breaking his leg, Lockett has not shown much
consistency as a fantasy contributor. He’s still just 24 years
old, so there is plenty of room for him to continue to grow, but
the fact that he’s still expected to battle veteran Jermaine Kearse
for snaps is not exactly a great sign for his potential fantasy
Many will simply look at Lockett’s production in his sophomore
season and write him off as a player who’s not worth fantasy consideration
because he did play in every game prior to breaking his leg, but
those who dive deeper into the situation would realize that the
speedster’s game was drastically affected with the PCL injury.
While nagging injuries are a cause for concern for players like
Lockett, his current ADP is so low that he’s practically free
in most leagues. If he can get healthy, Lockett is certainly the
kind of player who could put together some big games and substantially
out-produce his ADP, especially in best-ball formats.
One of the more boring players who is likely to get regular playing
time this season is veteran Jermaine Kearse. Expected to be pushed
down to the WR3 spot behind Baldwin and Lockett in 2016, Kearse
ended up playing more than ever in no small part due to Lockett’s
nagging injuries. He ended up being targeted a career-high 89
times and while that sounds good on paper, his catch rate was
so horrendous that he finished with just 510 receiving yards and
one touchdown - his worst fantasy season since his rookie season
of 2012 when he played in just seven games. Kearse’s catch rate
was literally more than 30 percentage points behind that of teammate
Doug Baldwin. It’s a bit unfair to compare him to one of the league’s
most efficient pass catchers who does most of his work underneath,
but the point is that this isn’t just a matter of Russell Wilson
not being able to get him the ball - it’s a matter of Kearse simply
not being very good.
With Lockett expected to be ready to go by Week 1, Kearse seemingly
offers little upside unless Baldwin and Lockett both go down with
injuries. Even then, he’d be the projected WR1 on what would likely
be a terrible offense. Kearse will go undrafted in most leagues
and rightfully so.
A former second round pick in the 2014 season, the Seahawks are
still waiting for some return - any return - on that investment.
He played in all but one game this past season but Richardson
caught just 21 total passes for 288 yards and one touchdown in
the regular season. While he did flash some big play ability late
in the season, Richardson is still extremely raw and will be fighting
for playing time with Kearse and other depth options at the position.
It’s very likely that Richardson will be out-produced on
the season by Kearse, but fantasy owners should hope that he does
beat Kearse out as the team’s third receiver. While he’s
not a big target at just 6’0” and around 185 lbs,
there really isn’t a big-bodied receiver on the roster aside
from tight end Jimmy Graham. Richardson has the physical skills
to go up and make plays on jump balls, including making some crazy
circus catches, so there’s reason to hope that he could
eventually end up being one of Wilson’s favorite red zone
He’s not worth drafting at the moment in anything other
than deep best-ball formats, but Richardson remains a player to
keep your eye on from a fantasy standpoint. If he starts to get
consistent playing time, he could develop into an intriguing fantasy
Following an abysmal first season in Seattle, tight end Jimmy
Graham reminded all of us how good he really is when he exploded
back into the top of the fantasy ranks with a 900-plus yard season
with six scores, allowing him to finish as the No. 2 fantasy tight
end in 2016. While those numbers are still a far cry from the
numbers he was putting up in New Orleans, Graham remains one of
the top fantasy tight ends heading into this season, even if he
is on an offense that is substantially more run-heavy than the
ones he was a part of with the Saints.
What’s even more impressive about Graham’s return
to fantasy greatness is that he did so less than a full year after
suffering a horrific patellar tendon rupture in late November
of 2015. Now fully recovered, Graham should be in line to remain
one of Seattle’s primary weapons in the passing game.
The tight end position as a whole is a mess heading into this
season, but Graham represents what should be considered about
the end of the “safe” options at the position. He’s
going behind the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Jordan
Reed and even Greg Olsen in most leagues, but he’s certainly
safer than the players like Tyler Eifert, Martellus Bennett and
Hunter Henry who are going behind him.