It's a very important week for the Seahawks as they attempt to hold onto the No. 5 playoff seed in the NFC against a regularly tough opponent, the St. Louis Rams. For many Fantasy owners, the stakes don't get any higher than this week, as the greater percentage of seasonal participants are vying for their Super Bowl championships. Those who have been riding the memorable wave of the Seahawks passing game can certainly enter their big game with a lot of confidence that they can indeed win it all this time.
Russell Wilson has led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl win and back-to-back NFC Championships in the past two seasons. He also was a key player on many Fantasy championship teams during those 2013 and 2014 campaigns. Wilson was a major Fantasy producer in the past two seasons because of his solid passing production combined with his outstanding rushing numbers for a QB. This year, though, Wilson has made even more advancements as a pure passer, and his incredible and historic run over the past five games have catapulted a lot of Fantasy teams into their championship game this week.
Wilson has totaled an amazing 153.05 Fantasy points over the past five games and now has vaulted to third among all Fantasy quarterbacks for the entire season with 295.72 total NFL.com points for 2015. In recent weeks, he has soared past top standouts such as Carson Palmer, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees on the overall Fantasy QB scoring ladder on NFL.com. The good news is that his owners should expect the roll to continue this week at home against the Rams.
St. Louis held Wilson to 15.14 Fantasy points on NFL.com in the 2015 season opener, but obviously the Seahawks passing game has made great strides since then and will be much tougher to contain. The Rams rank 21st in passing yards per game allowed, and opposing passers have completed 67.6 percent of their passes against them, which puts St. Louis at 28th in the league in that category. The Rams have totaled 36 sacks, but had none against Tampa Bay last week and the Seattle offensive line has been ultra-sturdy since Patrick Lewis took over for good at center in mid-November. Wilson is a great bet to throw more than two TD passes again and is ready to help you win it all this week.
While Wilson has flown quickly to the upper Fantasy echelons at his position over the past month-plus, Doug Baldwin has naturally zipped to his own lofty spot among the very best players at his position. Baldwin is now firmly entrenched as a Fantasy WR1 after scoring 122.0 standard Fantasy points on NFL.com over his past six games. Baldwin has emerged as a must-start Fantasy force recently and is now ranked seventh overall at WR on NFL.com with 168.50 Fantasy points for the season. With the best Fantasy statistical run of his career, Baldwin has now outscored major Fantasy names such as A.J. Green, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas. He has started to draw comparisons to longtime Panthers and Ravens superstar Steve Smith, who has been a top-notch Fantasy producer for most of his career.
The Rams allow only 17.84 standard Fantasy Points Per Game to opposing wide receivers on NFL.com, the fourth-fewest among the league's defenses. But Baldwin has produced to the point where you cannot sit him in any matchup, as the Seahawks will still likely lean heavily on the passing game and he is undoubtedly the prime playmaker for Wilson. The two have a terrific and rock-solid on-field relationship that has been built over four seasons together, and now is not the time to start second-guessing starting Baldwin when you need him the most. He is looking matchup proof and simply must be in your lineup as you play for the league title.
As we indicated in the preseason, Tyler Lockett was a candidate to break out later in the season, and that is exactly what has happened. He has scored 33.90 standard Fantasy points on NFL.com over the past two weeks and has emerged as a regular Fantasy WR3 candidate. He is a viable starting option again as Wilson often looks to hit him quickly and let him use his after-the-catch skills to extend plays and build his Fantasy numbers. Because Wilson is playing so well, Lockett is getting the opportunity to blossom and is a strong Fantasy starting candidate again.
Jermaine Kearse caught seven passes for 110 yards last week against the Browns and will continue to draw frequent targets as defenses give a heavy dose of attention to the sizzling Baldwin. He is definitely worth starting consideration in deeper PPR formats, and as Seahawks fans well know, Kearse is capable of delivering a big play at any time when the Seahawks are playing in an important game.
The Rams allow 19.46 standard Fantasy Points Per Game to opposing running backs, ninth-most among league defenses. They also surrender 118.1 rushing yards per game, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. Christine Michael made a successful return to Seattle last week, rushing for 84 yards on 16 carries, displaying good vision and patience. With so many Fantasy teams dealing with key RB injuries at this time of the year, he is definitely worth adding to your roster as a possible Week 16 plug-in.
Steven Hauschka scored 12 Fantasy points last week and ranks sixth among all kickers on NFL.com with 118.00 points. He should be good for at least two field goals this week. The Rams average 17.2 points per game, the second-lowest in the NFL, which makes the Seahawks defense an outstanding start again this week. St. Louis ranks last in the league in passing offense and the Seahawks will focus mainly on containing outstanding rookie RB Todd Gurley. LBs Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright will be among the keys to another successful defensive performance.
In other games, Blake Bortles has a very good matchup against the Saints defense and is one of the better QB starts of the week. Matthew Stafford should deliver another quality outing as he faces the 49ers. Kirk Cousins is a streaming option as he takes on the Eagles.
Charchandrick West has a very good matchup with the Chiefs. Latavius Murray is a solid starting option against the Chargers. Look for a rebound game from Lamar Miller against the Colts. Danny Woodhead is a fine PPR start in the same game after last week's four-TD outing. Bilal Powell should be busy against New England and is a good PPR flex start.
DeSean Jackson will be highly motivated to make big plays in a major NFC East showdown with the Eagles. Allen Hurns should be locked into lineups as he faces the Saints. Willie Snead is a very good PPR start in the same game. Kamar Aiken is a terrific WR3 start vs. the Steelers.
Julius Thomas is one of the top TE starts of the week as the Jaguars should score frequently against the Saints. Will Tye (vs. Minnesota) and Zach Ertz (vs. Washington) are solid PPR options. The Bengals defense is a good streaming option against the Broncos, and also consider Buffalo at home against Dallas.
Visit RotoExperts.com this week for more Fantasy Super Bowl week coverage from Scott Engel and his team. You can also watch Scott on the RotoExperts Morning show on the Fantasy Sports Network (FNTSY), available to stream on AppleTV, Xbox One and Xbox 360.
The Seahawks returned to CenturyLink Field for their Week 15 matchup against the Cleveland Browns, with all the holiday excitement from the 12s to locker room captured by team photographer Rod Mar.