The favorite number of Seahawks fans is, of course, good ol' 12, which represents the number retired and regularly saluted when referring to the team's passionate and vociferous backers. The Number 3, however, also holds a lot of significance when you think about it.
Obviously, 3 is the uniform number of Russell Wilson, who has already become a major fan favorite not just in Seattle, but all across the country. It's also the number of Super Bowl appearances the team has earned in the past decade leading up to this season. There is a total of three recognizable superstars that have long been the core of the Legion of Boom: Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Of course, three is also the amount of points you see register on the scoreboard just about every time the reliable Steven Hauschka is called on to kick a field goal.
This year, however, the Number 3 represents two new historical notes regarding the Seahawks from Fantasy Football perspectives. For the first time in franchise history, and even more relevant, for the first time in the "Fantasy Football age," which we will refer to realistically as the mid-1990s, when the pastime really started to take off, the Seattle Seahawks have three bonafide Fantasy superstars on their offense at the same time. To boot, all of them are being widely drafted or ranked in the the Top 3 at their respective positions.
The Seahawks have rostered some legitimate Fantasy standouts on the offensive side of the ball throughout team history. Running back has produced the most statistical stars, with Marshawn Lynch and Shaun Alexander being regarded as the two greatest Fantasy players in team annals. Ricky Watters and Chris Warren were highly productive, and Curt Warner was the team's first true Fantasy luminary at the position, in the pre-internet age, otherwise known as the "pen and pad" era of Fantasy scorekeeping.
At the other positions, Steve Largent was obviously a prime Fantasy option in his prime during the same era as Warner, and Joey Galloway provided some explosive performances for Fantasy owners. Matt Hasselbeck was a steady Fantasy passer who was sometimes outstanding. Wilson and Lynch have been an outstanding Fantasy duo since 2012. In 2015, though, with the acquisition of top-level tight end Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks' roster has become a Fantasy resource like never before.
There are only a small handful of teams that can offer more than two possible superstar performers to Fantasy players: The Packers have Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy and Jordy Nelson. The Broncos have Peyton Manning, C.J. Anderson and Demaryius Thomas. The Steelers now have to be considered in that group with a big year expected from Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, plus Le'Veon Bell. The Seahawks joined that select circle when they traded for Graham.
Graham's current Average Draft Position on NFL.com is 30.65, behind only Rob Gronkowski at 13.16. Since 2011, Graham and Gronkowski have ruled the tight end position in Fantasy Football, with other standouts sometimes in the mix near the top with them. Over the past four seasons, though, they have been decisively regarded as the top two players at their position overall. That isn't about to change this season. When you draft either player, you are definitely getting a firm advantage over your Fantasy opponents at TE for this season. The position has only two true superstars right now, and one of them is a Seahawk.
Graham was third in tight end scoring on NFL.com last year with 144.90 points, but there does not appear to be anyone at the position standing in his way to finishing second in overall totals this year. He could certainly challenge Gronkowski for the top spot as well, it would be nothing new. While he played in a much more pass-heavy offense in New Orleans last season, and the Seahawks are perceived as more of a run-based team, I am not foreseeing any major slippage in Fantasy production. I have Graham projected for 75 receptions, 850 receiving yards and nine TD receptions on RotoExperts.com.
The Seahawks have never featured a tight end weapon such as Graham in their history, and Wilson now has the type of difference-making playmaker that boosts his passing outlook like never before. While Wilson has always been lauded for his efficiency and diverse production as a runner and passer in the past, Graham gives him a brand new weapon to threaten defenses like never before. Graham will be a prime target on key passing downs when first downs are needed, he'll beat opponents downfield and he will continue to be a significant threat in the red zone, where defenses must also be concerned about Lynch running or Wilson throwing elsewhere or even running it in for a TD himself.
Graham will continue to be a matchup nightmare for opponents, and that will not change with his new team. He's going to make a lot of important catches and cannot be blanketed by defenders, who have to be concerned with the other two standouts in the offense beating them in other ways. Look for Wilson to enjoy throwing frequently when it counts to his newest target, and you'll see Graham perform at a very high Fantasy level again. I was able to nab him in the fourth round in a recent draft, and that's a good spot to get him and still gain the advantage at the TE position.
Wilson had the best Fantasy season of his career last year in his third (there's that number 3 again) pro campaign, scoring 327.60 points on NFL.com. This season, naturally, he is the third Fantasy QB off the board in NFL.com drafts, with an ADP of 29.59. Many Fantasy analysts have him ranked third at QB this year, and I have still been able to land him anywhere between rounds four and seven. Savvy Fantasy owners wait to get their QB a bit later in drafts, but even when competing against very experienced players, you should be able to get Wilson two or more rounds after Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck are taken.
With Graham in the fold now, you could see more TD passes from Wilson this year and sometimes he may throw to him in a pressing or scoring situation instead of scrambling like he did in the past. So I would look for a slight shift in Wilson's Fantasy numbers this year, with more scoring passes and a minor decrease in overall rushing totals. But he will still be a major threat as a scrambler/runner, because that's who he is, and he'll remain the best "hybrid" QB in Fantasy Football. So he should still finish in the Top 5 at his position.
Lynch showed no signs of wearing down whatsoever last season and ever since he and Wilson became teammates, he has been the ultimate picture of Fantasy reliability and excellence on an annual basis. Lynch is durable and maybe the safest pick at his position to deliver that very high floor of Fantasy statistical production. He has also finished in the Top 4 in NFL.com Fantasy scoring in all of his seasons in Seattle.
Lynch's current NFL.com ADP is 5.64 on NFL.com. I have him ranked third overall, and some other Fantasy analysts have him as high as first. When you talk to different Fantasy analysts, you often get differing opinions, especially this season. But I confidently put Lynch in that same Top 3 territory as Graham and Wilson. There is not much reassurance in the game of Fantasy Football, but Lynch is as close as it gets. He plays every week, battles through injuries, delivers over 1,200 rushing yards every year, scores double-digit TDs and has emerged as more of a pass-catcher in the offense over the past two seasons. That's why I will take him in the Top 3 of any of my drafts this year. The further he slips beyond that, the more thrilled I am to land him if I can.
Scott Engel is an 19-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 by entering the promocode "seahawks" at checkout.