It was just four years ago when the Seahawks won the division and were awarded a home playoff game after going 7-9. The NFC West was easily the worst division in football and there was talk amongst NFL fans and the media about not requiring a playoff team from each division. People were disgusted that a team with a losing record could actually make the playoffs.
Fast forward to the 2013 season and it was a completely different story when it comes to the NFC West. The four teams in the division went a combined 42-22 as three teams were 10-6 or better. The last place team was the St. Louis Rams, who were no pushover at 7-9. Seattle went on to win the Super Bowl in convincing fashion, knocking off Peyton Manning and the Broncos to the tune of 43-8.
The Seattle Seahawks should once again be one of the best teams in the NFL. They return almost everybody from a very deep and talented roster in 2013. While they do boast one of the best teams in the league, they do not have as many fantasy studs as the casual fan may think. They pride themselves on running the ball effectively and playing great defense, two things that don't really translate to lots of fantasy production. Let's take a look at what the Seahawks have to offer in 2014 by taking an in-depth look at all relevant fantasy positions.
After being overlooked in the 2012 NFL Draft because of his small stature, Russell Wilson has quickly developed into one of the top young quarterbacks in the game. Entering the league as a third round pick, he has started all 32 games of his career en route to a 24-8 record as a starter. Wilson has thrown for 52 touchdowns to only 19 interceptions and recently added a Super Bowl title to his resume.
Despite all of the impressive accolades, Wilson is just one of many mid to late round quarterbacks who will have solid fantasy value. The quarterback position was said to be extremely deep heading into the 2013 season and there is no reason to think otherwise this year. Once fantasy studs Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees are off the board, I would advise waiting for your QB1 to fall into your lap. I believe guys like Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Ryan, Nick Foles, Philip Rivers, and RGIII all have QB1 value and at least one or two of them can be had in the 9th or 10th round.
Tarvaris Jackson is entering his eighth season in the league and should be Wilson's backup once again in 2014. Although he was underwhelming as a starter in Minnesota earlier in his career, Jackson has proven to become a reliable backup in the league and would hold low end QB2 value if something were to happen to Wilson. In April, the Seahawks traded a 7th round draft choice to the Raiders in exchange for one of the best athletes to ever play the quarterback position in Terrelle Pryor. In two seasons with the Raiders, Pryor has shown the ability to make plays with his legs, but remains a project as a pocket passer.
No other position on the team has generated as much as buzz as the running backs this offseason. Marshawn Lynch wanted a new deal and there were even rumblings that he might retire. Lynch ended up reporting to Seahawks minicamp and those rumors have subsided. It was just several weeks ago when offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell told reporters that the Seahawks would turn to a running back by committee approach. With reports that second year back Christine Michael is impressing during OTAs, some believe that it has some merit. But whether it holds true remains to be seen. As of now, I know I am not buying it.
Four time Pro-Bowler Lynch has seen a ridiculous workload since becoming a member of the team in 2010, carrying the football 285, 315, and 301 times over the past three regular seasons. While Lynch is just 27 years of age, he does have a lot of tread on his tires. Every running back gets to that point where they hit a wall, however, I do not think Lynch has approached that stage yet. He did not show any signs of slowing down, as he continued to look like the nasty, hard-nosed runner in three playoff games last year. He is squarely on the RB1 radar and I would feel good about grabbing him in the late first round of redraft formats.
Christine Michael has been a popular name in dynasty leagues since being drafted in the second round in the 2013 draft. He possesses a thick build and has enough burst to be extremely effective between the tackles as he looks to hand out punishment to defenders every time he touches the ball. I would expect him to see a few touches a game but won't hold much redraft value unless Lynch were to go down with an injury. He is still someone that I will target in the later rounds of a draft as my RB5 or RB6 because of the upside he has in the event of an injury. Third year back Robert Turbin figures to be in the mix as well in his third down role. Like Michael, I would expect him to see a few touches per game. Turbin does not hold great value long-term because of the fact Michael is a superior talent.
Coming off a season in which he played just one regular season game, Percy Harvin returns as the team's top wideout. He has the ability to beat you as a runner, receiver, and returner, as evidenced in the Super Bowl this past season. When healthy, there are not many players in the NFL as dangerous as Percy Harvin with the ball in their hands. With leading receiver from a season ago Golden Tate off to Detroit, look for the Seahawks to get creative with Harvin and move him around the formation to maximize his touches. He is the kind of player I will avoid in fantasy this year because of what he will likely cost. I like to take low risk players through the first 5 or 6 rounds of my draft and grab higher upside players later. His injury history scares me.
Former undrafted free agent Doug Baldwin who has spent most of his career in the slot is said to be the favorite to start opposite Harvin by offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. The Seahawks recently signed the restricted free agent to a three year, $13 million contract, showing confidence in the young receiver. He will definitely see an increase in targets, but in an offense that only throws 25-30 passes a game, he is nothing more than a late round pick in redraft leagues. Baldwin does possess reliable hands, making him a bit more attractive in PPR formats. Jermaine Kearse also returns and will likely enter the season as the number three receiver. Last year he served as a situational deep threat who excels at going up in traffic and making a play on the ball. He is nothing more than a guy to own in dynasty leagues.
The Seahawks decided to address the receiver position twice in the draft this year. They traded back several times from their original first round pick to land Colorado speedster Paul Richardson. He likely won't see much time as a rookie as he has a lot of developing to do as a route runner and also needs to bulk up a bit, weighing in at the combine at just 175 lbs. He is an intriguing name for dynasty owners. They also brought in Alabama receiver Kevin Norwood in the fourth round. In many ways he is the opposite of Richardson. He doesn't possess the athleticism of Richardson but he is precise in and out of his breaks and understands how to get open. Norwood is just a name to monitor. The Seahawks also brought back Sidney Rice on a one-year deal after releasing him earlier this offseason.
This is definitely the least exciting position group on the team. The Seahawks decided to stand pat this offseason as all three of the top tight ends return from a year ago. Seven year veteran Zach Miller was thought to be a prime candidate for release before restructuring the final two years of his deal in March. He figures to hold the most fantasy value of the group after recording 387 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns in 2013.
Second year tight end Luke Willson is an interesting name to monitor in dynasty leagues. While Miller brings more as a blocker, Willson is a good athlete and the better receiver. But in the Seahawks run-first attack, Miller is a good bet to lead the duo in snaps once again. Keep an eye on Willson's progress as Miller would just cost $1 million in dead money in 2015 and he becomes a UFA in 2016. He has the potential to become a bigger part of the offense down the road. Anthony McCoy, a sixth round draft choice of the team in 2010 has just 31 career catches. He is a good athlete who is coming off a torn achilles he suffered in May of 2013.
Coming off a season in which the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, they spent most of their time and energy locking up some of their own players as Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas were signed to big deals. They should remain one of the best teams in the league as they return most of their starters from a season ago.
Quarterback Russell Wilson has continued to impress and will enter his third season in the league. His playmaking ability will once again give Seattle a very efficient offense to go with their intimidating defense. It will be exciting to see what the Super Bowl champs can do in a quest to repeat in 2014.