Fantasy: Seahawks set for potential defensive battle

Posted Nov 8, 2012

Fantasy writer Scott Engel, the managing director of, has a look at Week 10 in the NFL.

This season, the Seahawks have built a new reputation as a team with a sturdy defense. Well, it’s new as far as the mainstream football fan masses are concerned. Ardent fans of the Seahawks knew the team was set to move forward as a prime unit, and savvy Fantasy players drafted them as a unit on the rise.

Seattle ranks third in points per game allowed (17.1), seventh in takeaways (13), is tied for third in sacks (25) and also has eight interceptions, so the defense is very solid for Fantasy purposes, as those are the categories that count the most in Fantasy Football. The secondary, led by the likes of Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, has been tough to move the ball on consistently, and the defensive line has led the charge up front, with Red Bryant continuing to be a force along with Chris Clemons and kinetic rookie Bruce Irvin.

Another team with a strong defensive reputation visits CenturyLink Field this week when the Seahawks host the New York Jets. They are without top cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Yet the rest of the unit has adjusted well without Revis, as Antonio Cromartie has been a near-shutdown cornerback in recent weeks, and the team has ranked sixth in passing yards per game. But New York has allowed 141.4 rushing yards per game, so their unit has not been quite as balanced as Seattle’s.

The rush statistic certainly has owners of Marshawn Lynch excited, as he is starting to flash his stretch run of 2011 form again recently. Lynch is on the injury report with wrist and back issues this week, but his owners should not be worried about his status. With his ultra-physical style of running, Lynch is sure to pick up significant bumps and bruises along the way, but not enough to keep him out of action. Still, it is always very smart to own the backup of your top running back, so here is another reminder to keep Robert Turbin on your roster.

Russell Wilson has been a very good No. 2 Fantasy QB when you consider he has been quite useful in home games, with nine TD passes and no interceptions, including three scoring tosses in Week 9. Yet Wilson could have to be much more careful and conservative this week against the Jets. You may want to go with the likes of Joe Flacco or Ryan Tannehill this week if you need a bye week replacement for Aaron Rodgers or Robert Griffin III.

It simply may be time to put your top Seahawks in the passing  game aside for this week as you watch the defense and running game take over. Sidney Rice and Golden Tate will have to battle hard to get open against the Jets secondary, and while they and Wilson should be up to the task because of quality game preparation, they might not quite produce the Fantasy numbers you desire.

Owners of the key players on the Jets offense, though, will be quite frustrated. Shonn Greene has started to play better in recent weeks, but the Seahawks will be focused on containing him up front. Greene does not break many tackles and his straight-ahead style does not bode well against an active Seahawks front seven. Mark Sanchez simply lacks any prominent playmakers to challenge the Seattle secondary, and New York could really sputter on offense this week. In fact, this may be a low-scoring game that caters somewhat to kickers Steven Hauschka and Nick Folk.

If you do need to look elsewhere around the league for your alternate quarterback options, we did already mention Tannehill and Flacco, who face the Titans and Raiders respectively, and should take advantage of friendly matchups. Another quality choice is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who may engage in a battle of passing TDs with Tom Brady as the Bills take on the Patriots. Eli Manning’s owners can also look for him to start getting back on track against the Bengals.

At running back, Stevan Ridley should score at least once against the Bills and C.J. Spiller will prove he is still a top-level Fantasy RB despite some widespread concerns about a limited workload. Willis McGahee should approach 100 yards against Carolina, and Reggie Bush will surely perform well against the Titans. Teammate Daniel Thomas is also seeing more work and should score.

Vincent Jackson is one of the top wide receivers of Week 10, as he faces his former team and will surely burn the Chargers. Torrey Smith will make some big plays against the Raiders. Denarius Moore is also a very good start in the same game. If you are looking for a good plug and play option, you should strongly consider Emmanuel Sanders, who replaces the injured Antonio Brown as a starter and faces the Chiefs.

Many Fantasy owners are having consistency issues at tight end, and should consider the likes of Heath Miller and Brandon Myers for respectable totals. Defensively, the Dolphins are top start against the erratic Jake Locker, and the Cowboys will perform quite well against an Eagles team with some offensive line issues.

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