Fantasy Preview vs Jaguars: Seahawks passing game may be unleashed

Posted Sep 20, 2013

Scott Engel of previews the Seahawks Week 3 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars from a fantasy football perspective.

Many casual NFL observers are expecting the Seahawks to easily roll over and past the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. The average Fantasy player is certainly expecting another outstanding performance from Marshawn Lynch.

Yet it won’t be as simple as the Seahawks simply running roughshod over a perceived lesser opponent at home. Sure, Jacksonville is a rebuilding team and their franchise player, Maurice Jones-Drew, will be trying to overcome a foot injury to play in this game. The Jags don’t feature too much on offense, but their defense has played respectably, and Pete Carroll will likely have his team well-prepared to not look past this matchup.

Savvy NFL fans know that Jaguars MLB Paul Posluszny is one of the premier defenders in the game, and the Jaguars defense actually ranks ninth overall in the league after two weeks. So Lynch does not have a necessarily easy matchup this week. Very often, the average Fantasy player will base matchups on record and reputation rather than looking deeper into the game. A smart Fantasy player has seen Jacksonville come to play defensively early in the season, they have just spent too much time on the field and the offense has often put them in unfavorable situations.

Lynch may have to work hard for his yardage, maybe harder than some may think this week. Still, he is an elite Fantasy RB start this week, and should get more than one chance to finish off a scoring drive with a TD. The Seahawks will be well aware of Posluszny, and may actually throw to loosen up the Jacksonville defense against the run this week. Some Fantasy owners are a bit down on Russell Wilson after he did not flourish statistically in Week 2. If you have an owner like that in your league, swoop in and trade for the Seahawks quarterback. He’s about to deliver a strong Fantasy performance and should be a solid starter the rest of the way.

With the Jaguars possibly being very concerned about Lynch, Wilson can attack them in the air. Look for him to spread the ball around very effectively, and Golden Tate could have his first impressive Fantasy performance of the season. Sidney Rice will be a TD threat for sure, and in deeper leagues, Doug Baldwin is re-emerging as a player who deserves strong consideration. Wilson should throw a minimum of two TD passes and if the defense focuses too much on Lynch near the goal line, Wilson can use a read-option play to take it in himself for a TD.

The early numbers have the Jaguars as the AFC’s lowest-ranked rush defense. So they will come in prepared to regain respect against the run. Lynch will eventually wear them down and should still get his numbers. But Jacksonville may not be prepared for Wilson to be the one to aggressively attack them at the outset. That’s where Seattle can take advantage and put up quality passing totals. Even if the Seahawks do not exhibit that sort of initial gameplan, a strong running game should set up Wilson to take some downfield shots later in the game. Ultimately, Wilson is the best QB the Jags have faced yet this year and he will fare much better against them than Alex Smith and Terrelle Pryor did.

The Jaguars simply have nothing to threaten the Seahawks with offensively. The Raiders were able to swarm and neutralize Jones-Drew last week, and the Seattle front seven can certainly keep him in check after shutting down Frank Gore. Richard Sherman will certainly keep Cecil Shorts quiet, and Chad Henne will have a lot of trouble finding anyone else open. The NFL and Fantasy Football’s top defense will provide owners with another high-quality outing. Jacksonville’s defense may play respectably for awhile, but will ultimately be overworked, as will often be the case for them this season.

In other games, Colin Kaepernick could reign supreme at QB after he takes his Seahawk loss-induced frustrations out on the Colts. Carson Palmer is actually a nice value type start against the Saints. Do not hesitate to start him over Tony Romo or Andrew Luck this week. Romo is not quite airing it out as hoped, and Luck has a very challenging matchup at San Francisco. The 49ers are sure to come out fired up after last week’s big loss to the Seahawks.

At running back, expect a rebound performance from Gore, and Chris Johnson may show off some of his classic big-play form against the Chargers. The newest Colt, Trent Richardson, could get enough part-time work to make him a respectable play. Joique Bell should get a lot of work for Detroit this week and is a viable RB2 play. James Starks has disappointed in the past when handed a featured role, so he is far from a must-start. Injuries have played a major role in many Fantasy outlooks early this year, and if you find yourself digging deep for replacement options, consider Atlanta’s Jason Snelling and Danny Woodhead (in PPR leagues) as plug-and-play types.

Some wide receivers to watch include Marques Colston against Arizona, as Patrick Peterson had a lot of trouble with the size of Calvin Johnson last week, and Mike Wallace, who can take advantage of an injury-ravaged Falcons defense that may not get enough pressure on Ryan Tannehill. Antonio Brown wants the ball more, and should see it more frequently this week against Chicago. Josh Gordon returns to action for the Browns and deserves immediate WR3 consideration. Give Eddie Royal another crack in your lineup, as he has become an integral part of the Chargers passing game.

Greg Olsen should continue to serve as a solid TE option as the Panthers try to finally get in the win column against the Giants. In the same game, look for Eli Manning to continue to build his on-field relationship with Brandon Myers. Defensively, you can find two quality options this week in one game. The Buffalo-Jets matchup may be one of the lowest-scoring games of the week, and both teams will keep the score down and force a few turnovers.

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