When the Seahawks defeated the Chargers this past week, 41-14, it certainly appeared that they had picked up where they left off in Super Bowl XLVIII, dominating the opposition in the same fashion that they did last year. Even in an exhibition game, the Seahawks displayed the same style of ferocious defense and efficient offense that made them champions last season.
Yet as the new campaign approaches, it’s apparent that the Seahawks could actually be a season’s team very enticing for Fantasy players. Here’s some key observations about the 2014 Seahawks that Fantasy leaguers can absorb and use to their advantage.
Percy Harvin makes a big difference: Seasoned onlookers have already indicated that this year’s Seahawks seem built for additional speed. Harvin is the crux of the team’s increased ability to challenge defenses in that regard. It’s clear when he is on the field that defenses become heavily concerned with his sensational abilities. His very presence allows the Seahawks’ other playmakers to face less defensive attention. Zach Miller caught a 37-yard pass against San Diego as the Chargers focused on containing Harvin. Not only will No. 11 deliver big Fantasy plays from everywhere on the field this year, he’ll make everyone else in the offense possibly more valuable from statistical perspectives. Harvin’s not only a Fantasy standout by himself when he is healthy, he makes his quarterback and fellow receivers more productive.
Doug Baldwin is ready for a breakout Fantasy season: Baldwin’s current NFL.com Average Draft Position is 147.45, putting him in the 15th round on average. Baldwin has made his mark in pro football by proving the doubters wrong, and it seems he will be determined to drive up his Fantasy value this year as a result of taking on an even larger role in the passing game. While the preseason numbers haven’t been spectacular, they don’t need to be. Baldwin is consistently challenging defenses when he is on the field and getting into position to make important plays. You will see the actual results when the games begin for real. With Harvin clearing out room for Baldwin to operate, you are going to see very good numbers from No. 89, who was regarded a Fantasy star on the rise in his rookie year. Take advantage of Baldwin’s current ADP and nab yourself a great value. He’s going to build on his impressive performances in the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl.
Russell Wilson is going to win some games for you: Smart Fantasy owners will wait on a quarterback in their drafts this season. The position has good depth and you can nab quality starters in the middle and later rounds. Wilson is the 12th QB off the board in NFL.com drafts right now. That may seem like a fun fact for the No. 12s, but it’s also a clear sign that you can tab Wilson as your starter at a very friendly point in drafts. His ADP of 87.14 puts him in the ninth round. That illustrates an outstanding opportunity to take your starting passer after you have loaded up on some other important skill position picks at running back and wide receiver. Wilson completed 11 of 13 passes for 121 yards and rushed for two TDs against San Diego, displaying the abilities that affirm he will be a quality Fantasy starter again this year. Other QBs may throw more often, but Wilson makes the most of every attempt and he is a smart scrambler as well. He’s versatile and will always be reliable, and sometimes he will be outstanding for Fantasy purposes. He is a winning Fantasy quarterback who complements the rest of your Fantasy team very well. That much was again apparent against the Chargers.
Robert Turbin is underrated: So many Fantasy players are excited about the upside and promise of Christine Michael. Sure, that includes this Fantasy analyst. But along with veteran Seahawks followers, I well know that Michael is not the only Seattle RB with the ability to come through with significant production when needed. Turbin showed what he is capable of with a 12-carry, 81-yard performance against the Chargers that included a TD run. If he is pressed into more service at any time, Turbin will be very productive, as he is the perfect fit for Seattle’s one-cut-and-go running style. It’s obvious he has learned a lot from Marshawn Lynch about how to roll over and through defenders. I would certainly take Turbin as a handcuff to Lynch in the late rounds. Meanwhile, I would still highly value Michael in dynasty and keeper leagues, as he has the look of a future Fantasy superstar. Turbin, though, has used this preseason to further illustrate his own deep Fantasy potential.
Grabbing great value on Lynch: The Seahawks starting RB is the fifth RB off the board in NFL.com drafts, with an overall ADP of 6.75. Yet in many other leagues and drafts I have participated in and observed, he is falling to the second round, and sometimes even the third. In a premier Fantasy experts competition this past weekend, the Fantasy League of Experts (FLEX), I was able land Lynch in the second round of a 12-team league where I drafted from the 10th slot. That means I was able to pair him with Montee Ball for a dream running back combo. I think Ball is in for a major breakout year, and Lynch is a rock of Fantasy reliability. I see absolutely no reason why he cannot be a Top 10 Fantasy RB again in 2014. To have him as a No.2 RB feels as luxurious as sitting in Charter Section 135 at Century Link Field. Other Fantasy owners are locking onto bigger perceived upside plays at RB, which makes Mr. Dependable (Lynch) drop in some drafts. Take full advantage of being able to grab Lynch after the first round, I certainly did.
The newest Fantasy craze: Every few years, there seems to be a hot Fantasy strategy that experts and experienced players embrace. In the past, we have seen NFL.com’s Michael Fabiano preach about the “Faulk Strategy” back when RBs dominated the Fantasy landscape. This year, the “Zero RB” theory is as fashionable as a Russell Wilson jersey is among NFL fans. Many Fantasy players are going with two or three wide receivers at the start of their drafts, and are willing to gamble on running backs. It’s a nifty approach, but not the only one that works. If you are well prepared, you can grab quality players at any point in the draft. Yet if you are very experienced and have the confidence to outsmart your leaguemates by going full tilt on WRs early, it can be an effective approach, especially if Lynch drops to the third round or an Andre Ellington falls to the fourth. Every draft is different, and there’s more than one way to execute a winning approach. In PPR formats, a Zero RB approach could be the ticket to a successful season.
A friendly reminder about the preseason: Earlier this month, we told you that smart Fantasy Football owners do not write off the preseason. Already we have seen performances and notable indicators of rising Fantasy values around the league. Jay Cutler has been very sharp and is getting great protection. He is a terrific value in Round 9 and beyond. Matthew Stafford could be primed for a career year with former SeahawksWR Golden Tate as a new weapon. Chris Johnson could be a real outstanding pick in the middle rounds, and Ben Tate is looking good as a RB2 type. Rookie WRs Brandin Cooks and Marquise Lee look like instant Fantasy contributors in their first NFL seasons. Kyle Rudolph may have a breakthrough year at TE, and Travis Kelce is threatening to burst onto the Fantasy scene in a big way.
Scott Engel is an 18-year veteran of the Fantasy industry and was an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association’s Hall of Fame. For more in-depth Fantasy Football analysis from Scott and his team at RotoExperts.com, register now for the Xclusive Edge Fantasy Football package right here and take advantage of a very special discount offer for Seahawks fans!