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Engel’s Angles - N.Y. State of Mind

During these cold winter months, football fans are largely devoid of impactful news. Occasionally, we are treated to speculation of a major impending event or a social tirade rant (thank you Antonio Brown!).

RotoBaller featured writer and FSWA Hall of Fame member Scott "The King" Engel is here to give his takes on some of the most buzzworthy items around the NFL.

As always, be sure to stay tuned to RotoBaller's NFL News Feed for the very latest updates throughout the offseason.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


No Russelling in New York

Earlier this week, Colin Cowherd stirred some serious buzz when he mentioned that he heard Russell Wilson might consider leaving Seattle. His sources seemed to indicate that such a move would be to appease his wife, Ciara and her team, who reportedly would prefer that the couple reside in the New York City area. Seattle is not known as an entertainment mecca, after all.

Immediately, some Giants fans conjured up images of going back to the Super Bowl for the first time in eight years and Seahawks aficionados shivered at memories of Charlie Whitehurst. Fantasy players may have even dared to let images of Wilson throwing to Odell Beckham Jr. flow through their minds.

Yet ultimately, even with Wilson entering the final year of his contract and some speculation being generated that he could simply saddle the franchise with too large of a financial hit in the future, there are too many reasons that point to him staying. As Giants fans well know now, it’s not easy to find a top-quality quarterback in this league, and it would be very difficult for the Seahawks to replace Wilson with any surefire high-quality passer. When a team has an established elite QB, that is so difficult to surrender. That is why the NFL is a QB-driven league. The position is not nearly as deep in real life as it is in fantasy, where you need to fill 32 starting slots instead of 12.

Wilson was the missing piece to making Seattle a true contender in 2012, The year before he arrived, they had Marshawn Lynch, the makings of the Legion of Boom, and won seven games. Now he is an iconic figure for a highly passionate fan base and a key piece to the team meeting the challenge of remaining a consistent winner. His relationship with Pete Carroll is so strong it drove some past members of the defense to eventually show some resentment. He’s been Doug Baldwin’s passing partner since his pro debut and elevated Tyler Lockett into a breakout player in 2018.

Trading Wilson only makes sense for the Giants from a personnel perspective, unless the two teams rock the NFL world with a pre-draft trade that would send Wilson to New York for their first-round pick. Then Seattle could be in position to immediately draft their QB of the future and not commit to an expensive future with Wilson. But that would mean turning the offense over to a rookie a year after Seattle made what was widely regarded as a surprising run to the playoffs. The created instability at QB would just be too glaring for the Seahawks to make such a deal.

Wilson obviously would want to please his wife, but she would want to do the same for him. Plus, you have to believe they want their kids to have a stable home environment and not get shuttled between coasts. So they may have a challenging decision to make. In the end, though, Wilson is too tied to Seattle and its future success, and as we have seen, NFL teams are only too willing to sacrifice a good chunk of their budgets to lock up that franchise QB. Dealing him would also shock and disappoint the fan base, which has already seen many of the team’s best players of all time recently shed the uniform for various reasons. Fantasy players will always fondly recall what a great defensive unit the team fielded from 2012 to 2016.

It should be fantasy business as usual for Wilson in 2019 with the Seahawks. He finished as QB8 overall last season on the second-most attempts of his career. Doug Baldwin will have a full offseason to mend from the injuries he battled in 2018 and could be something of a value pick next year. At 30, he is not “old” for a WR. Tyler Lockett could see some natural regression in his TD total but should still be a Fantasy WR3. The Seahawks could pursue another notable pass-catcher in free agency or draft one, which could mean more offensive balance for Seattle in 2019. That would make Wilson likely a top-five range guy in fantasy for next season, and that is rarefied air to inhabit in the fantasy world, too.


Ringing the Bell

New York City might miss out on Russell Wilson, but if I am a betting man, I am laying down some cash with an eye on Le’Veon Bell signing with the Jets. They do have the best Vegas odds at 3 to 1. It makes too much sense on and off the field.

Earlier this week, Nate Hamilton of FanTrax asked his Twitter followers where Bel might land. I responded with the Jets as my choice.

Nate later admitted that as a fantasy owner he wanted to see Bell in Indianapolis, but not before some others in the thread shot my idea down because maybe it’s simply not what they wanted to see. Both teams clearly have the cap room to sign Bell, but it’s the Jets who have the bigger need at RB. The Colts can simply be comfortable enough with Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines to spend their cap dollars elsewhere, especially on defense. Going to Indy would keep Bell as a championship contender and in a great Fantasy situation, but there is actually better financial and career upside for him in New York.

If Bell goes to the Jets, his superstar profile will explode in the media capital of the world, as the new signature player of a success-starved fanbase. Le’Veon Bell jerseys would become a top seller. There would be nothing more fitting than Bell ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. He will be embraced and highly promoted as the savior of AFC New York Football. Arguments will rage about Bell vs Saquon Barkley among local fans.

If Bell can help Sam Darnold eventually make the Jets into a true contender, he will become a legend in New York City. If he becomes the missing piece to an eventual Super Bowl victory, he will be eternally revered and adored in New York. He’ll swim in endorsements. No other free agent destination offers that sort of career promise.
Schematically and strategically, it is the ideal fit. The Jets need help in running and pass-catching, and we all know Bell offers superb production in both departments. He is the perfect guy to ease pressure on Darnold and elevate the offense.

It’s not the preferred scenario, but Bell would be the axis of the Jets offense and would return to being an elite Fantasy RB pretty quickly as he takes on a heavy workload. He would also draw a lot of attention to help free up Robby Anderson as a playmaker. He’ll be more of a workhorse in New York than he could be in Indianapolis.

Jets fans, save about 100 bucks for a Bell jersey very soon. You can finally get rid of that Santonio Holmes one I saw around MetLife stadium so often last season. Jet fans obviously haven’t had any hope for a new impact player in a while. This steal from the Steelers will turn out much better.

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