Percy Harvin’s return a major fantasy storyline in time for playoff push

Posted Nov 15, 2013

Scott Engel of previews the Seahawks Week 11 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings from a fantasy football perspective with an added emphasis on wide receiver Percy Harvin.

Seahawks fans certainly aren’t the only ones who have long been awaiting Percy Harvin’s debut with his new team. If Harvin can make his first appearance in a Seahawks uniform this Sunday as hoped, Fantasy players everywhere will be thrilled to finally be able to set his status to “active’ on their rosters.

Harvin has always been considered a No. 1 Fantasy wide receiver in the past, and his anticipated return comes at a critical time in the Fantasy season. Fantasy owners everywhere are making their pushes to land a playoff spot in their leagues. And it’s clear that Harvin could be back in full form by the time many Fantasy postseason tournaments begin in a few weeks.

Many smart Fantasy players drafted Harvin late or added him as a free agent earlier this season in anticipation of this time of year, when he could instantly boost the point potential of any lineup. The opportunity to play with Russell Wilson arguably gives Harvin the most upside for big plays downfield than ever before. Harvin also is now surrounded by more offensive talent overall than at any point in his career. Defenses cannot heavily gameplan around him like they did in past seasons, because these Seahawks have already proven they can beat opponents in many ways on offense.

Harvin may be eased into the offense this week against the Vikings, but Fantasy players can certainly use him with some confidence. You can at least plug him in as a WR3, because there is little doubt the Seahawks will try to get the ball into his hands and work him into the flow of their offense. Plus, Harvin faces his former team, and that always adds a little extra edge to a player’s outlook from the motivational perspective. Don’t be surprised to see Harvin score in his Seahawks debut, even if the coaching staff tries to carefully manage his reps.

Harvin will have a bye to get some more rest next week, so it may be important to work him in before the off period. The Seahawks will likely want to have him get a feel for working with his new teammates in game situations. His presence is also another reason to consider Russell Wilson a must-start this week.

The Vikings allow the second-most points to opposing Fantasy quarterbacks on, and Harvin gives Wilson the ultimate deep threat to round out his receiving crew. Even if Wilson doesn’t connect with Harvin on a big downfield strike in their first game together, his very presence should put an extra burden on the opposing secondary. Wilson should be able to spread the ball around with ease this week, and you can expect a very strong Fantasy performance as he throws for at least two TD passes.

Fantasy owners of Wilson can be further assured of success because of the expected returns of three key offensive linemen as well. Max Unger should be back at center, and the anticipated returns of offensive tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini should wash away any concerns about his protection that surfaced in recent weeks. Wilson will now have adequate protection against the league’s 26h-ranked pass defense. It’s an optimum time for the reinforcements to arrive against pass rusher supreme Jared Allen. The standout defensive end may get his share of hits, but Wilson will still make more than enough positive plays to raise his Fantasy totals to impressive levels this week.

Expect Golden Tate to flourish again, as the Minnesota secondary is going to have a lot of difficulty containing him and Doug Baldwin as well. When Harvin figures into the mix, it’s going to be too much for a pass defense that allows the eighth-most standard Fantasy points to opposing WRs on Jermaine Kearse has certainly arrived as a playmaker himself and can be considered for use in larger leagues.

The Harvin return also nearly overtakes the other major Fantasy headliners here. Sunday’s game will feature two elite superstar Fantasy running backs on the same field. Marshawn Lynch, the second-highest scoring Fantasy running back this year on with a figure of 154.40, will be opposing the No. 3 top scorer, Adrian Peterson (150.90).

The Vikings allow the seventh-most Fantasy points to opposing RBs in standard scoring on, and with his top blockers expected to be back in action, Lynch is sure to deliver another big Fantasy day. No defense can fully contain Peterson, and he represents a moral dilemma for some Seahawks fans. If you own Peterson, do you want to see him roll up numbers against your favorite team?

The answer is, you never base your Fantasy lineup moves on allegiances. Rooting against Peterson will not stop him from getting good numbers. The savvy Fantasy owner who also is a dedicated fan knows that you should expect the other team to sometimes do some damage even when your favorite team wins. So root for and expect the Seattle victory while conceding some numbers that should also raise your Fantasy totals. You’ll enjoy the best of both worlds.

In other games, the Eagles-Redskins tilt should produce high-quality quarterback points on both sides. Lock Robert Griffin III and Nick Foles into lineups this week. Do not expect Tom Brady to back down against the Panthers, he’ll at least produce solid numbers now that he has an optimum receiving crew to work with. Case Keenum has quickly become a very viable Fantasy starter and is a very strong option as he faces Oakland.

At running back, Andre Ellington is a terrific upside play vs. Jacksonville, especially in PPR leagues. Andre Brown should get into the end zone at least once against Green Bay. Maurice Jones-Drew may score again this week, and Chris Ivory is a good bet to score, too. Watch for Brian Leonard to also start to emerge as a flex play as he gets some quality work with Tampa Bay.

Riley Cooper has exploded since Foles took over as the starter in Philadelphia, and he is a Top 10 choice at wide receiver this week. Victor Cruz should get back into a groove against the Packers, and Josh Gordon will make some big plays against the Bengals, who have lost some key parts on defense. Emmanuel Sanders and Rueben Randle are great bye-week pluggers if you are without Dez Bryant or Terrance Williams.

Charles Clay and Tim Wright can also fill in for Jason Witten at TE this week. Keep your eye on the rising Tyler Eifert in Cincinnati. The Jets defense is a top play this week against an injury-depleted Bills offense, and the Saints may hold the 49ers down as well.

For more in-depth Fantasy Football analysis from Scott Engel and the team, check out the Xclusive Edge Fantasy Football package, now at a special slashed Fantasy playoff push rate for Seahawks fans! Click here for more info.