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Seattle Seahawks: 2014 Fantasy Football Analysis & Team Outlook

Stephanie Rush, Pacific Regional Medical Command Public Affairs - cropped from Image:NFL_players_at_Wounded_Warrior_luncheon_2013.jpg

The Seahawks go into the 2014 season with a Mount Rainier-sized bullseye placed squarely on their backs. Their opponents, especially those in the NFC West, are licking their chops at the prospect of knocking the champs off their lofty nest. How the Seahawks respond to the challenge of repeating will go a long way in determining each player’s fantasy football value.


Seattle Seahawks Offseason Changes

Offseason Aquisitions – QB Terrelle Pryor

No Longer on the Roster – WR Golden Tate


Seattle Seahawks Quarterback

Rotoballer-Fantasy-Football-Advice-Analysis-Russel-WilsonIt’s the Russell Wilson show. While RGIII, the other mobile quarterback from the class of 2012, struggled, Wilson put up solid fantasy numbers with favorable matchups. Obviously it does not help that he plays in a division with three rock solid defenses. Against the NFC West, Wilson posted a significantly lower completion percentage, QB rating, and average YPC. He was also sacked an alarming 24 times in six games. The main takeaway here is that you may want to look for alternatives when he is playing against upper-echelon defenses.

On average, Wilson is being drafted in the  10th round in 10 team leagues. I think he is a little undervalued with the overall athleticism of the receiving core and depth at the tight end position. He may also squeeze out a few more scores with his feet than last year.


Seattle Seahawks Running Backs

Stephanie Rush, Pacific Regional Medical Command Public Affairs - cropped from Image:NFL_players_at_Wounded_Warrior_luncheon_2013.jpgMarshawn Lynch has been the muscle behind a potent running attack over the last few years for the Hawks. Entering training camp, Lynch is a no-show because of contract issues. It is possible that the money issues may have no effect on Lynch; he is a rare athlete that is capable of tunnel vision with singular focus. However, if and when he makes the decision to report, it is very possible to see a prolonged body language issue/pout session or an injury pop up that may eat away at his immense fantasy value.

Also, let's not forget that Beast Mode has taken a beating over the years and he is nearing the twilight of the typical running back's career. In terms of age, a couple of interesting statistics stand out. Lynch’s production goes down in the second half of ball games, dropping from 4.7 to 3.4 YPC. His long run was only 18 yards in 132 carries during a time in which defenses should be wearing down (in the 3rd and 4th quarter). As the regular season closed in December, Lynch was struggling to find yards at all, averaging 3.6 YPC, and he did not have a run of more than 20 yards. Lynch is still a top five or six running back, and I'd still draft him near the end of the first round, but don’t be surprised if there is a dip in his numbers this year. His value is trending down for sure.

In terms of backups, the Hawks seem to favor Christine Michael over Robert Turbin. Michael was essentially red-shirted last year in an attempt to give him time to round out his game. If Lynch falls to injury or abruptly retires as he's threatened to do, consider Michael a premium sleeper that could step in and make an impact.


Seattle Seahawks Wide Receivers

With Wilson spreading the ball around, Seattle receivers are not coveted during draft day. In Week 1, Percy Harvin will get an opportunity to be the number one option. There is no doubting his overall athleticism and ability to run after the catch. In fact, if the Seahawks choose to use Harvin as a tail back on sweeps and end-arounds it only increases his value. As tempting as Harvin is, be wary--he is fragile and has never been the type to rack up elite catch totals and yards. In his five-year career, there are no 1,000 yard seasons or more than six receiving TD. He may go as early as the third or fourth round, but I think that's too high considering his track record. Look for him in the sixth or seventh round instead.

Doug Baldwin will benefit from Golden Tate’s departure. He now moves from a third down possession guy to a starter opposite Harvin. Baldwin is a grinder that plays with a chip on his shoulder. I would not be surprised if he led the Seahawks in catches this year as Wilson develops a comfort level with him. As with Wilson, watch the difficult NFC match-ups, as Baldwin registered a pathetic seven catches in six games with no touchdowns in 2013. He is a late-round/free agent option that could be a decent flex/third receiver option.

The rest of the receiving core has minimal fantasy value. Jermaine Kearse and rookie Paul Richardson are going to flash some potential. They are both deep threats that will connect with Wilson sporadically as the year unfolds. While Richardson may have the most explosive ability of the receivers, he will have to be patient for his chances to make an impact.


Seattle Seahawks Tight Ends

Zach Miller returns as the steady veteran starter. Expect a handful of touchdowns on roll-outs near the end zone, but not a heavy workload in terms of catches or yards.

Luke Wilson is the more interesting prospect. He has above-average speed for the position and could be a real weapon in the passing game. Unfortunately for fantasy purposes, Luke Wilson will be in a deep rotation that includes Miller and Anthony McCoy. If Wilson makes an impact in early games, the Hawks may give him more passing situation snaps.


Seattle Seahawks Defense/Special Teams

Elite. There is no other way to describe this ball-hawking crew. They strangled opponents by allowing league lows in receiving yards and points allowed, and seemed to specialize in the pick six. As with most champions, a few players were plucked away during the offseason. This will test the depth of the front line and secondary. However, the Hawks seemed to find quality players in the later rounds of the draft that fill in quite well and contribute.

Looking at the schedule, Seattle plays Denver, Dallas and Green Bay at home. The Hawks' Nest will provide protection against those elite quarterbacks. Very few signal callers walk into Seattle’s home and come out the same player. It is a nut house that causes players to perform at mediocre levels or worse. Note that there is an early week four bye. This could result in the defense wearing down a bit as it makes a playoff push with no rest. The Seattle defense should be the first one taken off the board, no question. This will cause some fantasy owners to start looking their way in the 7th-8th round.

Percy Harvin makes the special teams pretty special. Watch the first 12 ticks off of the second half clock during the Super Bowl and you will see why. He will be one of the top returners in the game and worth two to three return touchdowns this year.


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