As we told you in July, before exhibition games began, that the preseason should not be overlooked when doing your Fantasy homework. The Seahawks offense made it abundantly clear in the second and third exhibition games that their efficient offense could be even more productive this season. With Russell Wilson leading the way, Seattle has rolled over their opponents and completely imposed their will in the past two weeks. Smart Fantasy players will take note of the results and either draft, add or trade for key Seahawks before next Thursday’s lineups have to be locked.
Wilson is currently the 12th quarterback off the board in NFL.com drafts, with an Average Draft Position of 85.92, putting him in the ninth round. Yet his most recent preseason performances indicate that Wilson could be an outstanding value at that spot. He has rushed for three TDs in the past two preseason games and threw two scoring passes last week against the Bears. He has been his usual crisp and efficient self as a passer, completing 26 of 33 attempts during that span. Yet his five total scores in the past two tuneups mark him as a notable dual threat in a very balanced offense. Wilson could be in for his best season yet as a Fantasy QB.
Defenses simply have too much to handle when facing the Seahawks this year, as the running game is obviously well established, yet there is also more speed at wide receiver this year with a healthy Percy Harvin and the drafting of rookie Paul Richardson. With Jermaine Kearse and tight end Luke Willson evolving more in the offense, Wilson has a myriad selection of options to throw to, or he can simply take off to scramble when he decides it’s best to do so. With a more diverse passing attack and his own rushing abilities, Wilson is looking like an outstanding dual threat and upside Fantasy performer for this season. You can start him with a lot of confidence and anticipate some statistical excitement in the weeks ahead. Wilson is definitely a Top 10 Fantasy starter heading into the new season.
Harvin’s current ADP is 56.22, putting him in the sixth round. He is ready to go for the regular season and his very presence puts a lot of added pressure on defenses. Harvin is certainly one of the most electrifying players in the game, and can make big plays from anywhere on the field, as both a receiver and ballcarrier. He’s going to deliver some big games that can boost your Fantasy teams to victories this year, making you very glad you drafted him as a WR3. Opponents can’t devote a significant majority of their attention to Harvin as they have done in the past because of the Seahawks’ offensive balance. He could be primed for some memorable Fantasy outings in 2014.
Doug Baldwin’s current NFL.com ADP of 146.79 makes him one of the top sleepers in Fantasy Football to watch in 2014. While Harvin will be Wilson’s explosive difference-maker, Baldwin is a familiar and dependable tough guy. With the departure of Golden Tate, Baldwin will be ready to take on more responsibility as a key pass-catcher on critical downs, and he has great sheer determination to make the important play. Baldwin is going to rise in Fantasy this year as a consistent producer in PPR leagues and he will also help statistically with his timely TDs. Look for him to have a career year in the TD department, possibly scoring six-plus times and emerging as a viable Fantasy starter, especially in leagues larger than 10 teams.
Kearse is going in the final rounds of many drafts, and could also be an early-season free agent pickup in some leagues. He flashed his playmaking ability again vs. Chicago, catching four passes for 63 yards and a TD. Kearse immediately fits on rosters as a bye week plugger with promise, and he has the potential to gain Fantasy starting consideration if he ever pressed into more service. Richardson should be monitored by dynasty players. Zach Miller remains a TE2 worth consideration when the matchup is right. Willson is a future Fantasy starter. Watch as the Seahawks work him more into the passing flow this year, as he is a promising package of size and quickness. Willson will surely show signs of progress this year that will make him even more notable in Fantasy circles in 2015.
If anyone needed a reminder that Marshawn Lynch will remain a top-level Fantasy running back in 2014, he provided it with a seven-yard TD run against the Bears. Consistency and high-level reliability can seem like rare traits in Fantasy Football. Lynch provides both qualities and is showing no indicators of declining in level of performance at all. He may yield some carries to his younger backups this year, but ceding some touches will only ensure he stays fresh and durable. Lynch is going in the second round in many late August drafts, and he can return RB1 Fantasy production again, making him something of an early-round value at that point.
Robert Turbin confirmed this preseason that he will easily fit into the flow of the offense if he is ever called on to play an expanded role. Christine Michael has generated a ton of Fantasy buzz because of his incredible talent and potential. He is a Fantasy star of the future, and carries significant appeal in dynasty and keeper formats. Michael could join Seahawk standouts such as Shaun Alexander, Chris Warren and Ricky Watters in Fantasy RB lore when his story is more fully written down the line.
The Seahawks defense clearly remains the top unit in Fantasy Football, as it flashed its best form again vs. Chicago, shutting out a potent Bears team for three quarters, stifling the first-team offense consistently. The outstanding secondary retains its core, and top pass rushers Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril will lead the fearsome pass rush. Continued pressure up front means more turnovers and possible TDs, which Fantasy players seek first and foremost when tabbing their defensive units. In Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues, Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner figure to be among the very best at their positions again.
Kicker Steven Hauschka emerged as a top option last year and can be started without worries every week.
At quarterback, you may see a career season from Jay Cutler, as he now has solid protection and a tremendous supporting cast on offense. Matthew Stafford could also have one of his best seasons ever, as Golden Tate is now part of the most balanced and diverse offense the team has featured in some time. Andrew Luck could take that next step forward into Fantasy stardom this year.
Young running backs offer a lot of upside this year, as Montee Ball could have a big breakthrough season in the powerful Denver offense. He appears ready to seize a larger opportunity. Giovani Bernard is versatile and exciting and looks like a PPR league thriller. Andre Ellington could become the next version of Jamaal Charles, an explosive and well-rounded threat from anywhere on the field. Rookies Davonta Freeman and Bishop Sankey could come on later in the season.
If Julio Jones stays healthy, he could actually be the best WR in Fantasy Football this year. Maybe the only wideout with an equally high ceiling is Dez Bryant. Keenan Allen is very polished for a young WR and will cement his reputation as a top Fantasy starter. Torrey Smith will blossom as Gary Kubiak directs the Baltimore offense this year, and Tennessee’s Justin Hunter has a lot of TD promise. Look for a big bounce-back season from Roddy White, and Michael Floyd will be an outstanding Fantasy WR2.
Zach Ertz and Kyle Rudolph are among the tight ends on the rise this season. Dwayne Allen is a top sleeper, and Travis Kelce’s fine preseason has marked him as a nifty late-round pick. If you didn’t get the Seahawks defense, you will do well with New England, New Orleans or Tampa Bay. Adam Vinatieri is a kicker who some others pass on who will do very well for you, and Dan Bailey should be among the top producers at the position.
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!